HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — In a preliminary survey, parents and guardians of students in Hanover County Public Schools indicated strong support for face-to-face instruction during the 2021-22 academic year, according to Superintendent Dr. Michael B. Gill.
Families were asked to complete the survey by April 30 to assist in the planning process for the upcoming school year. Final decisions on learning settings will not be made until later this year.
In February, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill requiring school divisions to provide full-time, in-person instruction. That legislation, combined with the responses from families in Hanover County prompted the School Board to announce at its Tuesday meeting that both face-to-face and virtual instruction would be available for the 2021-22 school year.
This semester, students had in-person and virtual learning options available. Gill said that Hanover Online School will still be open to those who want to utilize the platform.
Jennifer Greif, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Leadership, who gave the presentation on the school division’s Return to Learn said that meeting the preferences for in-person learning might not allow for social distancing, but that school officials are still working through those details.
Gill said that in-person instruction will be the default option for students in Hanover County Public Schools, meaning that families will not have to manually make that decision when selections are available in the coming months.
Greif said that there will also be changes to online instruction for Hanover County’s elementary school students. Art, music, library and physical education will be conducted synchronously, as opposed to asynchronously, as it was for the 2020-21 academic year.
Middle school students will again have the option to take two elective choices. However, Greif said that secondary elective options may be limited due to staffing and scheduling constraints, and that some may be available in a synchronous format using Chromebooks. Greif said that there will be a continued focus on social-emotional learning and building healthy routines.
At the high school level, students in Hanover County will be returning to an eight-block, alternating A/B schedule. Specialty classes and programs, such as IB and AP, will be offered in-person with travel between schools.
Gill said that the school division is looking to have more answers on the logistics of having such a large number of students return for full-time, in-person instruction in 2021-22, while also following health mitigation strategies per state executive orders come June and July.