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Students to return to Heritage High School on October 27

Huntington Middle School students will return two days prior, on October 25.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — During a meeting Tuesday night, Newport News School Board members released a finalized plan for students' return to in-person learning. 

The news comes about a month after a 15-year-old allegedly student shot and injured two fellow students at Heritage High School. 

Since the shooting, students have been learning virtually and the school board has held meetings to discuss future security measures at Newport News schools.

Now, the school board has a finalized plan for students to back to the classroom. 

Huntington Middle School students will return to the building on October 25. Middle schoolers and families are scheduled for an open house on October 21. 

Huntington is on the top floor of Heritage High School while their school prepares for construction.

Heritage High School students and their families have an open house on October 25. Their return to in-person learning is set for October 27. 

Following the news, parents expressed their worries for the return to the classroom. 

“Nervous, I'm nervous," Lillian Langston said, a parent guardian of a Heritage High student. "Just hoping and praying nothing else like this happens like that.

Along with the return dates, the school board also shared details for a re-entry safety plan. 

The superintendent of Newport News Public Schools said that both standing and mobile metal detection searches will increase across buses, classrooms, and morning activities. 

The superintendent also says at the time of the shooting, the school was down one security officer position, which has since been re-staffed. 

Now, six security officers will be in place at Heritage and one at Huntington under the new plan. 

There will be a dedicated NNPD school resource officer assigned to Huntington/Heritage, and more safety searches with metal detection. 

Once students return, the schools will conduct a safety drill, and staff will complete Safe Schools Emergency Situations modules. 

"They just have to keep my baby safe, keep all the kids safe," said Thurman Leonard, a local pastor and grandfather to a Heritage High student. 

The board's plan will also involve student town halls and morning meetings, on top of the staff and wellness supports already in place. 

On Wednesday, the Newport News School Board will hold a virtual parent and community town hall where they will discuss the finalized plan. It will be at 6:30 p.m. Families can register online, using this link.  

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