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Virginia schools closed for the rest of the year... now what?

School officials are looking to the state level for guidance during this ever-changing situation.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — All kindergarten through 12th-grade classes are making new plans after Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday that schools needed to close through the end of the academic year.

Now school officials are looking to the state level for guidance during this ever-changing situation.

That leaves a lot of questions, among them: how will this change affect graduation, state testing, or the rest of the academic year?

To answer those questions simply, it depends on the school district.

Following the governor's announcement, the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Virginia, Dr. James Lane, said, “We will be issuing guidance on how school divisions should be working with students to ascertain whether they've completed the course."

On Tuesday, Virginia Department of Education officials began providing options to school divisions to choose how they'll move forward academically. Options include distance or remote learning, extending the school year into next year, or embedding instruction into the next year.

Chesapeake Public School District's Superintendent, Jared Cotton, said he expects to have a plan for the district by the end of this week.

"Our immediate reaction was shock because we were planning for a short-term closure,” said Cotton. He reassured students though saying, "we are going to have a plan and we're going to get through this and we're going to make sure our students are successful."

Yet, he's reassuring students who are on track to graduate, still will. 

“So, I do want to ease that fear because some parents are concerned that their child will not graduate now,” said Cotton.

Virginia Beach Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said he's on the same page. Also, his district isn't sure if they'll have S.O.L's this year.

"Our understanding is that state department of education has asked the Board of Education to seek a waiver from the federal department of education,” said Spence. "We understand what a dramatic upheaval this is and we intend to be partners along the way."

As for private schools, we asked the same questions.

Norfolk Academy's Headmaster, Dennis Manning, sent us a statement reading, “We are still working through the details of some of these matters, and we are providing regular updates to our students and parents."

It's a lot of unknown but state officials recommend school divisions focus on figuring out what content is going un-taught during the outbreak.

As for AP testing, College Board officials said teachers will continue working with students to prepare.

For updates from Virginia Beach Public Schools, click here.

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