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Portsmouth Public Schools begin new back-to-school plan for employees and parents

Portsmouth Public Schools is requiring all employees to work in person in November.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — On Friday, Portsmouth Public Schools sent out surveys to all school staff to give out their options when to go back into the school buildings.  

Another survey was sent out for parents of elementary school students to choose virtual or hybrid learning. 

Portsmouth Superintendent Dr. Elie Bracy said all school employees are expected to return to work in person on November 23, 2020. Dr. Bracy explained it will provide staff enough time to get ready when the new back to school plan is implemented and students return to the classroom starting January 4, 2021.  

Dr. Bracy said the decision was also determined to help the special education department comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Patricia Thorton says it may be too early to send students back to school. 

"Their health to me is more important than whether or not they get back into the classroom," said Thorton. 

The school board is also giving parents of elementary school kids an option to choose how their children will learn in 2021: 100 percent virtual or hybrid learning. 

“We also have some parents who want their kids back in school. So if that we provide a hybrid model tonight then I will give them two days face-to-face and three days virtual," said Bracy. 

"I understand parents are probably frustrated. But what’s really most important is that we work together. We have parents and teachers who know when they go to school that they’re going to be safe those children going to be safe and everybody can work together," said Thorton. 

Parents of elementary school students have until November 13, 2020, to make a final decision. The school division is working on getting similar notices to parents who have children in middle and high school soon.