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Chesapeake Public Schools to begin 2020-21 school year with virtual learning

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Posted at 9:09 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 21:46:15-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Students in Chesapeake will begin the school year virtually.

Members of the Chesapeake School Board voted Monday night to begin the 2020-21 academic year with remote learning amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The vote was 6-3.

The decision follows a number of other local school districts, such as Norfolk and Virginia Beach, who have followed recommendations not to have students return to the classroom for in-person instruction in the fall.

School officials gave two options for "returning to learning": An on-campus continuum, which featured a traditional, blended and temporarily online model based on how high the COVID-19 rates are; and 100% online learning.

In the traditional model, students would have spent five days on campus with safety measures if the rates were low. In the blended model, students would spend two days on campus with safety measures and have three days of at-home learning, and the temporary online model would have students learning at home daily until they were allowed to return to campus.

There are three phases in the school district's plan for reopening:

Phase 1

  • Special education students
  • Group gatherings = 10
  • 6-foot separation
  • Daily health screenings
  • Cloth face coverings
  • Extracurricular activities prohibited

Phase 2

  • Pre-K-3rd grade, English Learners
  • Group gatherings = 50
  • 6-foot separation
  • Daily health screenings
  • Cloth face coverings
  • Extracurricular activities limited

Phase 3

  • All students
  • Group gatherings = 250
  • 6-foot separation
  • Daily health screenings
  • Cloth face coverings
  • Extracurricular activities limited

In June, school officials sent out a survey for feedback on how parents, teachers and students felt about returning to school, recommended mitigation strategies, online learning and blended learning. The 11,878 survey comments were broken down into the following demographics:

  • 7,477 Parents
  • 2,524 Employees
  • 1,877 Students

According to survey results, 34% of parents strongly agreed with the statement that they would "feel comfortable sending my child to school every day with additional health/safety requirements in place."

If schools are not able to resume full face-to-face instruction in the fall, 60% of parents said they would prefer a schedule with alternating days.

As for students, 69% of those who were surveyed said they would prefer blended learning if they were not able to go back to school every day, and only 19% said they would prefer online learning.

Click here to view the school district's back-to-school plan.

Click here for a full list of back to school plans for local districts