RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam is standing by his decision to close K-12 schools amid the coronavirus pandemic but says he realizes how hard it has been for students, their families, and teachers.
Social distancing is having a positive effect on lessening the spread of COVID-19, the governor added, meaning students will have to continue learning at home for the foreseeable future.
“Nothing can replace the exact experience of the classroom,” Northam said. “But our teachers and division leaders are doing their best to adapt to the situation we now face.”
Speaking at a press conference Monday, Northam said the coronavirus pandemic also exposed inequities in education that he is working to fix. His response: “The state is making additional educational resources available to all of our teachers and students.”
Now every public school teacher in Virginia will have access to an online learning system called “Virtual Virginia,” to share lessons and activities with their students through June 30. For students who don’t have internet access at home, the content can be loaded onto devices and used offline.
“By expanding the use of Virtual Virginia, we will support the efforts already underway by our teachers and make sure our school closures don’t lead to a widening of achievement gaps,” Northam said.
There’s also a new ‘VA TV Classroom’ program. Four public media stations have partnered with the Virginia Department of Education to provide education on-air.
“This will broadcast teacher-led classroom instruction aligned with the Commonwealth’s academic standards into homes across our state,” the governor added.
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