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Gov. Ralph Northam visits Giles County school as deadline nears to offer in-person learning

All Virginia public school systems must offer some form of in-person learning by mid-March

10 News asked Gov. Ralph Northam about outdoor sporting events, graduation and more as he toured Giles High School.

GILES COUNTY, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam made it clear that all state public school systems must offer some form of in-person learning by mid-March. In Southwest Virginia, most systems have long offered in-person instruction. Wednesday, Northam was in that region to see how they’ve achieved it safely so far.

“We know after a year where we’ve learned so much that our schools are some of the safest places to be, so we’re really encouraging our families, children, our staff to move toward getting our kids back in the classroom,” said Northam.

The governor’s visit underscored the progress systems like Giles County have made in ensuring students are served. While a majority of the system is back 4-days a week, there is still a good amount of students 100% virtual.

“There were about 40 localities that hadn’t yet gone into in-class learning. Now, every locality in Virginia has made plans,” added Northam. “By the way, the Southwest has done a great job getting shots into arms. That’s really the hope/light at the end of a long dark tunnel.”

In Giles, 70% of teachers have been vaccinated. Over 60% of all teachers in the state have been vaccinated, according to the Governor.

“Our number of COVID cases are going down. Our number of vaccinations are going up, so Secretary Qarni and I and other staff in Richmond are really working hard to make sure we can have graduations. We’re going to probably encourage it to be outdoors,” said Gov. Northam.

The governor said he would entertain allowing more people at large gatherings in April. Right now, the max is 250 people.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.