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Goochland County School Board votes for virtual reopening plan

Education

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va (WRIC) — The Goochland County School Board unanimously voted to approve a fully virtual reopening plan after an increase in COVID-19 cases in the area. The school board previously approved a hybrid learning approach on July 14.

The school board originally considered a distance learning plan at their meeting on Monday, Aug. 3.

Goochland County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Raley presented the revised plan for a fully virtual approach to learning at the school board meeting tonight.

The virtual school day will include live lessons from teachers in the morning and direct support in the afternoon.

In addition to their schooling the school district will offer these services on weekdays:

  • A homework hotline from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on weekdays
  • Tech support from 8:00-8:30 a.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Social emotional support from 8:00-8:30 a.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m. 

The default circumstance will be students attending synchronous virtual classes from home or wherever they receive their day-to-day care and supervision.

However, if students do not have access to the internet or proper supervision there will be accommodations made for them to attend school in-person. These students will work on their virtual schoolwork while being supervised by a GCPS employee in a room that allows for social distancing. Students attending brick and mortar schools will be provided with transportation, breakfast, lunch, time for recess and arts activities.

Other options such as a free hotspot provided by the school district will be available to students without access to wireless internet at home.  

Teachers will work from their classrooms to provide virtual lessons for their students. These lessons will be videotaped for students who chose the asynchronous track offered in the July 14 reopening plan. 

In addition to a rise in cases in the area the school board attributes the decision to other aspects such as supply of teachers. The board speculates 42 substitute teachers would be needed for the school year if students attended in-person but only 13 subs would be needed during distance learning. 19 substitute teachers responded to a survey saying they would be willing to work as a substitute for the upcoming school semester. 

The school board will continue to evaluate the situation and make changes to the learning method as needed throughout the school year. “This is not a finishing plan, this is an opening plan,” Dr. Raley said.

The school board also voted to keep the original start date for the 2020-2021 school year. Students will begin school on Aug. 24.

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