Breaking News
More () »

Norfolk's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Norfolk, Virginia | 13NEWSNOW.com

York County School Division to begin 2020-2021 school year remotely

The school board held two public sessions this week so parents, teachers, and students could weigh in, but said ultimately their utmost priority must be safety.

YORK COUNTY, Va. — On Thursday, the York County school board amended the superintendent’s recommendation to begin the school year in the Remote Model for the first nine weeks, to include planning for opportunities to prioritize bringing our most vulnerable and youngest students back earlier than that nine weeks mark. 

It was a unanimous decision (5-0). 

School leaders say it's critically important that all families complete the Family Commitment Form by the August 4 deadline so that the division can develop student and staff schedules for the school year, develop transportation routes for in-person learning models, and provide students with technology for remote learning. 

The Family Commitment Form is an extension of an enrollment application for the 2020-21 school year. 

The Family Commitment Form will ask parents and guardians to:

  • Select between Options 1 (Flexible Framework) and Option 2 (YCSD Virtual Academy)
  • Identify transportation needs for when on-site learning occurs
  • Select how they will participate in the 1:1 Technology Program (division-provided device or personal device)

Families who want an opportunity to have students return to buildings when health and operational metrics allow the division to do so are encouraged to select Option 1 while families who prefer not have students in schools building when the division is able to move to a less restrictive model should consider selecting Option 2. 

The school board directed the superintendent to develop plans for bringing students back to school before the end of the first nine weeks, based on metrics identified by the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education, as well as YCSD operational capacity metrics. 

Priority will be given to our most vulnerable learners, which includes students within the following student groups, students with disabilities, English Learners, and students in grades PreK-3. Students in other grade levels will follow.

Amy Williams wants her son in school five days a week. She said his grades fell at the end of last school year because he didn't have that classroom interaction.

"He needs that classroom atmosphere," Williams said. "Most parents have Monday through Friday jobs, work 40 hours a week, have multiple kids, so how will they manage that?"

Patricia Musselman agrees with the superintendent. She has two children at Tabb High School and doesn't want the school division to jump the gun.

"If we send them back too soon and have to interrupt again that's not a good option," Musselman said. "I think we all need to understand this is an adjustment, nothing will be the same, we have to be willing to learn and to be more open-minded."