Gov. Ralph Northam visits Salem schools as deadline nears to offer in-person learning

Northam said he considers Salem as a ‘pioneer’ in safely returning students to the classroom

SALEM, Va. – It was made clear in February by Gov. Ralph Northam that all state public school systems must offer some form of in-person learning by mid-March.

While most systems in Southwest Virginia have long offered in-person instruction, 40 systems across the state were not.

On Thursday, Northam visited Salem City Schools to see how they’ve achieved in-person instruction so far. He even said he considers the system “a pioneer” in safely returning students to the classroom.

The state department of education issued guidance on how to safely reopen schools but did not provide specific instructions. That was left to each school system.

The governor said his team made that decision because, “with different localities having different numbers of COVID, using different criteria/guidelines, etc. in wanting to make sure students are safe.”

The Salem Superintendent along with the high school principal and board members took the governor and deputy secretary of education on a tour of different programs the school has to offer, many of which find in-person instruction invaluable.

“I was out in Giles [Wednesday] and here in Salem today to encourage our Superintendents, encourage our principals, school board members, and local officials that this really is the safest place,” said Northam.

Virginia schools have until March 15 to offer some form of in-person learning, according to the governor.

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.

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