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Newport News Public Schools shares plans for COVID-19 safety this year

Officials are preparing for the first day of the 2021-22 school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Hampton Roads students are getting ready to start the school year during the pandemic.

Newport News Public Schools leaders held a virtual presentation Tuesday to share their plans to keep students safe. They discussed quarantine protocols and virtual learning.

What happens if students have to quarantine? Newport News Chief Academic Officer Dr. Tina Manglicmot said elementary students will get a school packet to fill out. Students in higher grade levels will have to work on their own through the school's online learning system.

“The only thing that we can not do is deliver synchronous instruction during that time period. Meaning that the teacher can’t log on with that quarantine student and give that one feedback. It will be what we call asynchronous, which is longing and doing your work and watching the videos on your own," said Dr. Manglicmot. 

Dr. Manglicmot said teachers will have a quarantine procedure to follow too.

“We broadcast the teacher on the large screen in front of the classroom or even have small groups and have kids in groups listening to the teacher with headphones on and working through their chrome while their teacher is at home," said Manglicmot. 

Dr. Manglicmot explained they also created a pilot Virtual Learning Academy for 9-12th-grade students who requested that learning method.

“Which we will run post-COVID into the future and we hope to expand it K-12 by 2023," said Manglicmot.

School leaders said they have also hired more people to only work on contact tracing if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19.

Newport News Public Schools have also partnered with Virtual Virginia to have students work online. But the deadline to request that type of learning has passed. School leaders are asking parents to contact their principals to see if they can find another option or be put on a waitlist. But at this time there are no vacancies.

Newport News Public Schools leaders say since June more than 900 students ages 12 to 18 are vaccinated and about 85 percent of staff are vaccinated so far.

Editor's note: The video above is on file from Aug. 19, 2021.

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