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Virginia Beach School Board votes to start year virtually

School board members voted 8-3 in favor of students in Virginia Beach City Public Schools starting the fall semester virtually.

After hours of public comment and discussion, the Virginia Beach School Board voted on a plan for the fall just after 1 a.m.

The School Board voted 8-3 in favor of students starting the school year virtually.

The decision comes after nearly four hours of public comment and another four hours of discussion.

This was Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence's proposed fall plan. It will have all students start the school year virtually and gradually bring students back for in-person instruction when it's safe to do so based on health data. 

Families will be allowed to choose between two options: face-to-face learning but starting virtually for now, or committing to stick with virtual learning for at least one semester.

Two motions to amend Dr. Spence's plan did not pass. One was proposed by Board Member Vicki Manning to allow parents to choose between sending their students to school in-person or online.

Dr. Spence says they will open school the day after Labor Day, it's just going to look a bit different. 

"I'd like our parents to know that we really did hear everybody's comments and concerns and we have provided some choice options for our families," Dr. Spence said. "But, we also have to make sure that in addition to making sure that our students are safe and our parents' concerns are heard, that we are also listening to our staff and I think we struck a nice balance tonight at being able to do both."

The Board will not meet again until August 11.