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Portsmouth Public Schools will stay with virtual learning until February

School board members decided to keep students working with online learning, until at least February 2, 2021.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Families in Portsmouth Public Schools now have a timeline from division officials, on when students will return to in-person learning, and it’s not as early as you might think.

In Portsmouth Public Schools, students will continue learning from home at least until February. School board member De’Andre Barnes said they agreed upon the schedule, with the rising coronavirus cases in mind.

“I think we’re doing a great job and I think given the information that we were given, that was the best choice,” said Barnes.

Now all division employees will return to the building on January 19. Then, Pre-k through 3rd-grade students will go back to school on February 2.

On February 16, 4th, 5th, and 6th-graders will return to school buildings... followed by 7th through 12th graders on March 1.

Students whose parents choose the hybrid model, for them will spend two half-days with face-to-face learning, and three days with online learning.

Amira Bethea has three children in the division.

“I am completely satisfied with the decision that they made,” said Bethea.

She said her brother’s children attend Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Their division brought students back home after some returned to in-person learning and coronavirus cases spread.

“He had two of his kids return to school, and he was scared to death,” said Bethea.

Kimberly Blunt is also afraid. She takes care of her two grandchildren in Portsmouth Public Schools and she thinks February is still too soon.

“I think they should just consider going back in September. Just ride this thing on out, this 'virtual' on out, until then,” said Blunt.

In the meantime, division officials say this schedule only applies to students whose parents chose to send them back in person and they'll still offer a virtual learning option, through the end of the school year.