Students in Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools will be staying home for the first part of the school year.
WJCC Superintendent Olwen Herron announced in an email to staff Monday the district would move forward with remote learning for all students in the first nine weeks of the school year.
This decision comes after a spike in coronavirus cases in the region, Herron wrote. Based on information from local health experts and current data, in-person instruction did not seem feasible.
“Your health and the safety of our students are the primary reasons for this decision,” Herron wrote. “The well-being of our school community will be the lens through which we examine health data, trends, and other metrics to guide our decision making throughout the year.”
During the first nine weeks of the school year, students will participate in online learning and live instruction as well as take part in independent assignments and activities. Student attendance and participation will be monitored and assignments will be graded.
The course work will comprise of lessons and materials created by teachers and curriculum experts with WJCC throughout the summer.
The district will also bring individuals and small groups of students into school facilities for certain academic assessments and evaluations. Social distancing and cleaning practices will be in place during those times. Face coverings will also be required.
Employees such as bus drivers and cafeteria staff will be assigned other duties temporarily during the first nine weeks while students are not learning on-site, according to the email.
The district will be providing students in grades kindergarten through second with WJCC-issued tablets. Students in third through 12th grade will be issued laptops. The devices will be issued to support virtual learning in the first nine weeks but will also prepare students if remote learning needs to continue longer.
The decision comes as a result of four different return to learn paths presented by the school district earlier this month. The other options included a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning, entirely virtual and entirely on-site learning.
It’s possible for the district to move between those learning options at any point in the first nine weeks depending on coronavirus data in the community and state, officials said.
For more information, visit WJCC online.
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