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Thousands of Newport News students return to classrooms for in-person learning

Feb. 22 marked the first day back in a regular school classroom for many kids in Newport News.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Thousands of Newport News students are back learning in person! 

“It’s been a long time, a long time,” Newport News Public Schools Superintendent Dr. George Parker remarked.

Parker said it's good to be back learning in person after almost a year of learning virtually.

"Everyone seems to be upbeat. The kids are upbeat, the teachers are welcoming and enjoying having the students back," Parker said. "It just took us a while to get here. Now that we are here, we are going to make the most of it!"

Dr. Parker said staff welcomed back students who chose in-person learning. That included children in Pre-K through third grade, students with special needs, and students who are learning English for the first time.

“I think students can learn effectively in a virtual environment, but there are a lot of students who need the hands-on experience. They engage better with social interaction and having students in the classroom, ” Parker explained.

Blaire Washington said her son, Karmichael, needs that hands-on learning. She said he is a first grader and has autism. Karmichael had a hard time with virtual learning.

“The first couple weeks, I cried. It's very frustrating for him. He needs social interaction and sitting in front of a computer, he can't separate home from being at school,” she explained. 

Karmichael is back learning in-person. Washington said she's thrilled her son is getting the social interaction he needs to learn!

“He is going to school to better himself and to get what he missed out on for almost a year now,” Washington said.

Dr. Parker said the plan is to bring back the rest of the students who have opted into in-person learning by March 8.