WASHINGTON (WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says he will announce his support for extending the school year through the summer to ensure the commonwealth’s students are prepared for the next academic year. The announcement is expected Friday during the governor’s scheduled press conference.
“Our children definitely learn better when they’re in the classroom,” he said during a live-streamed discussion with The Washington Post on Thursday. “The social interaction is important. We’ve seen higher rates of depression, certainly suicide, which is so unfortunate.”
The topic of switching to a year-round approach to academics came up in January with Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Superintendent Dr. James Lane, who said any guidance from the state on extending the school calendar would be left up to each school system, and not mandated by the state.
“One of the things that I think is very important that we will be announcing tomorrow is that we want to extend our classrooms this summer to allow our children to catch up so that everybody will be ready in the fall,” Northam said. “We’re working with our teachers, our school boards, our superintendents.”
Northam says that in order to get students back in the classroom, Virginia’s schools need federal relief to be able to do so safely, using equipment and sanitation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has to be a top priority for all of us to get our children back in the classroom,” he said.