Portsmouth School Board settles on return dates for school employees, students in select grades

Posted at 9:39 PM, Nov 05, 2020

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Employees of Portsmouth Public Schools and some students now know when they will be able to return to school buildings.

During its Thursday meeting, the Portsmouth School Board set Monday, November 23 as the date all employees will be expected to return to their physical work locations on their normal operating schedules. Instructional staff will be allowed to work remotely on Wednesdays.

Additionally, school administrators have identified the following dates students can return to school in 2021 if they have opted for in-person instruction:

  • Monday, January 4 for Pre-K-Grade 3 students
  • Tuesday, January 19 for 4th, 5th and 6th grade students
  • Tuesday, February 2 for middle and high school students.

In October, school board members voted to continue virtual learning for all students through the end of 2020.

The Human Resources Department will be surveying all employees to assess their return-to-work intentions. That survey is expected to be distributed on Friday, November 6 with a response deadline of Friday, November 13.

Superintendent Dr. Elie Bracy III addressed the rationale for the November 23 return-to-work date with the school board, citing the main factor as the need to reinforce the support of special education students in line with the expectations outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

On the issue of when students plan to return to school, Dr. Bracy shared with the school board the administration’s plans to survey all elementary parents/guardians, also in the November 6-13 timeframe. The intent of the survey is to ask families to choose the educational option that will best serve their children in 2021.

The two options parents must choose between are:

  1. The in-person/hybrid model in which students will attend school two days and learn virtually for three days; or
  2. The virtual model in which students will receive their instruction online 100% of the time

Secondary parents will be surveyed sometime in the near future.

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