Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam visits Rocky Mount Elementary

She wanted to see how innovative in-person learning has gotten in the pandemic

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – Spring typically means we’ve entered the last stretch of the school year. This year, Virginia’s First Lady says there is much work to be done to get students back into the classroom safely.

It wasn’t First Lady Pamela Northam’s first time walking the halls of Rocky Mount Elementary School, but this time felt more important. Franklin County Public Schools begins five days of in-person learning Monday.

“We’re getting data now that shows we’re really behind in our literacy scores. Teachers are very worried about the social and emotional development of students,” said Northam. “So, we know if we can get our students back with the in-person learning safely then that’s the very best option we can give them at this time.”

The point of her visit with other state leaders was to see how innovative in-person learning has gotten in the pandemic.

“Rocky Mount’s plan is clearly in line with all of that, and Franklin County frankly. I’m excited to see them moving to five-days a week,” expressed Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane.

“It’s not one size fits all. Of course, our safety protocols are the same throughout – masks, doing the safety, and the hand hygiene,” said Northam.

A big part of getting kids back in the classroom has been teacher vaccinations.

With up to 80% of teachers and staff of public schools vaccinated in the Commonwealth, Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey says 50,000-70,000 shots are going into arms daily.

“Everybody who wants it doesn’t have it yet and we know that, and that’s frustrating,” stated Carey. “As we get more doses, especially in April and May, we will get even more doses out faster and faster. We believe that we will be able to offer every adult Virginian who wants a vaccine does before the end of May.”

Secretary Carey, First Lady Northam and other leaders also visited the Franklin County Public Health Department and EC Glass High School in Lynchburg.

In Rocky Mount, the state leaders were showered with gifts from the students as they shared messages of encouragement.

“They are so excited to be back with in-person learning. It is so important,” stated Northam.

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.