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Chesapeake Public Schools gives students, teachers option to return to classrooms in fall, continue virtual learning

In light of coronavirus, the division said parents and guardians can choose whether students will attend class in-person or remotely. Teachers have a choice, too.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Chesapeake Public Schools said that families will have the option of sending children back to classrooms for the fall semester or keep them at home where they can continue remote learning. Teachers also have the choice to teach in-person or instruct remotely.

The school division presented the plan to the Chespeake School Board Monday night.

The division put together its Responsive Return plan after conducting a survey of parents, students, and employees.

Option 1

Option 1 of the plan is called the On-campus Continuum and has students returning to classroom buildings. The continuum includes scaled stages that are based on COVID-19 rates.

If the COVID-19 rates are low, the schedule for students would follow a traditional format. They would report to school five days a week. Additional safety measures would be in place:

  • Cloth face coverings

-- Required for employees and middle/high students

-- Recommended for elementary students

  • Physical distancing to the greatest extent possible
  • Health screenings upon entry
  • Student interaction limited
  • Cleaning/sanitization practices
  • Hand washing/hygiene practices
  • Meals in classrooms
  • Transportation provided, face coverings required

If COVID-19 rates bump above low, but remain more at a medium level, the school division would move to a blended format for students whose families who chose Option 1:

  • Two days on campus with safety measures
  • Three days of at home learning

-- Online activities

-- Paper/pencil activities

  • Online learning support one day per week

-- Online office hours

-- Small group online interventions

-- Collaborative planning/professional development

  • Alternating days
  • Some students may attend additional days

If COVID-19 rates move to a high level, students attending in-person classes would shift to remote instruction temporarily:

  • Online learning five days per week

-- Scheduled, teacher led learning

-- At-home online learning

-- At-home activities (online or paper/pencil)

  • Instructional support

-- Weekly online office hours

-- Emails & phone calls

-- Online intervention sessions, as needed

  • Meals provided at distribution sites

Option 2 

Option 2 for families is Chesapeake Online. That's the option that keeps students learning remotely. It also requires families to commit to that option for the entire semester (through February 2, 2021).

Option 2 is available for K-12 students. Courses are not self-paced. There is scheduled, teacher-led learning. Other at-home, online learning will take place. Some elective courses may not be available. 

In terms of instructional support, teachers will have online office hours and will be available through emails and/or phone calls. Online intervention sessions also could be used.

For elementary school students, teacher-led instruction would be 1 to 2 hours per day for K-2. For Grades 3 to 5, the time would be 1.5 to 2.5 hours each day. Middle and high school students would have 30 to 45 minutes each day for each course.

Under Option 2, students and families would maintain affiliation with their schools through communication, PTA/PTSA, sports, and activities. Meals would be provided at distribution sites for children who require them. Some assessments may be done on campus.

Chesapeake Public Schools said certain sports and extracurricular activities would resume at the high school level and they would have restrictions and mitigation plans in place.

Conditioning only is allowed for fall cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, and volleyball. Other groups allowed to meet are color guards, dance teams, marching bands, and step teams.

There will be no games and scrimmages, which includes summer leagues, and transportation won't be provided.

Families will make their choice between the On-campus Continuum and Chesapeake Online from July 9 to July 21. The school board will meet on July 27 at 6 p.m. Part of the meeting will look at where on the continuum the school division will begin.

The division began its employee status checks on Tuesday (July 7). The checks include return-to-work status verification, discussion about any health concerns and requested accommodations. The school division also began accepting applications for Chesapeake Online. The online-only teaching positions are available to internal candidates only. Chesapeake Public Schools said it would hold information sessions about the positions on July 8 at 11 a.m. and July 9 at 5 p.m.