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Norfolk schools extends holiday breaks, plans to compensate teachers who cover other classrooms

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Posted at 2:03 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 14:03:04-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Teachers and staff in Norfolk Public Schools are getting some extra support from school administration.

The School Board voted Wednesday to provide more days off for teachers and staff and unencumbered planning days for teachers.

The board also voted to approve Superintendent Dr. Sharon I. Byrdsong’s recommendation to provide compensation for teachers who substitute in other teachers’ classrooms during their planning time or who provide instructional coverage for students when a classroom of students must be divided among teachers. Additionally, the board approved a recommendation to provide clerical support for school nurses.

Changes to the academic calendar include:

  • Extending Thanksgiving break and the Memorial Day holiday weekend. NPS will be closed on November 24 and May 27.
  • Changing three scheduled early release days on January 13, February 17, and March 17 to full student learning days.
  • Changing January 14, February 18, and March 18 to full, unencumbered teacher workdays with students not reporting to school.
  • Allowing teachers to work remotely or at school on those full, unencumbered teacher workdays.
  • Changing April 18 from an asynchronous virtual learning day for students to a full, unencumbered teacher workday with no asynchronous virtual learning requirements.

Related: Suffolk public schools eases burnout for teachers

School buildings will close during the winter and spring breaks, meaning schools will not be open for business, and 12-month employees assigned to schools will have the option of taking vacation leave if they choose not to work during these breaks.

Norfolk Public Schools will provide discretionary funds to all schools to support mental health activities for teachers and staff, as well as professional development and training opportunities focused on classroom management and student discipline.

Finally, part-time clerical assistants will be hired to support school nurses with paperwork and other clerical duties.

“We know our teachers and other staff are managing additional work and stress as we uphold the General Assembly’s requirement to provide full-time, in person instruction during the continuing pandemic,” said Board Chairwoman Dr. Adale Martin. Staffing and supply shortages as well as added responsibilities to ensure students remain safely socially distanced, such as lunches within classrooms, have reduced teacher planning and uninterrupted work time. “We are happy to provide additional opportunities for rest and respite while adhering to our instructional hours requirement within our current school year,” Martin said.

Click here to read the full updated academic calendar