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First Lady Northam tours schools across Southwest Virginia

Northam wanted to get a look at how school divisions have been doing

With students back in the classroom, some of Virginia's top educators are now getting a look at how reopening plans are going.
With students back in the classroom, some of Virginia's top educators are now getting a look at how reopening plans are going.

GALAX, Va. – Now that students across the Commonwealth have been back in the classroom for about a month, some of the state’s top educators are getting a look at how reopening plans are going.

Northam was joined by other top state leaders to tour both Galax and Hillsville Elementary Schools Tuesday to review how in-person learning has been going.

“We appreciate the school personnel and the teachers who’ve gone way above and beyond very creatively and innovatively to make sure that kids are safe and learning at the same time,” First Lady of Virginia Pam Northam said.

One of the biggest discussions on the tour was access to the vaccine. Although every educator in the state has now had the chance to get the shot, leaders are still looking at ways to keep everyone safe in and out of the classroom.

“We’re hopeful there’s a emergency use authorization for 12 to 15 year olds with the Pfizer vaccine we’ll see what the, the FDA does with that because that eligibility may change,” Secretary of Health Dan Carey said.

Another important issue on the mind of educators is helping children close any gaps in learning that may have been created in the last year.

“It’s their choice and it’s the school’s choice if they want to do any extended learning, whether it’s Saturday school whether summer learning opportunities, or getting really creative with year-round school,” Secretary of Education Atif Quarni said.

Northam wants to make sure students have all the resources they need to move ahead in the classroom.

“We’ve seen our literacy scores drop since this began. We are. Teachers are reporting concerns about social and emotional development and our children, so we really want to get them back to where we know they can have the best schooling opportunities which is right here at school,” Northam said.

The First Lady of Virginia is expected to make several stops across Southwest Virginia over the next couple of days.


About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.