Northern Virginia schools want to send kids into classrooms again. Will teachers come back, too?

Teachers’ unions in all three districts, which together enroll nearly 300,000 students, are deploring the return plans as unclear, ill-conceived and insufficient to keep teachers safe during the pandemic. Educators are asking for more comprehensive cleaning, coronavirus reporting and contact tracing protocols. And they are arguing that school officials should slow down the return-to-school timeline.

“What would happen if a student or employee develops covid? We’re not sure,” said Sandy Sullivan, president of the 3,800-strong Loudoun Education Association. “It just seems there are a lot of balls up in the air with no clear answers.”

In response, school administrators are insisting teachers must return to the classroom if they cannot prove that medical necessity — such as a prexisting condition — requires they remain home. Their other options are unpaid leave or the loss of their jobs.

Arlington Public Schools recently sent an email to employees asking them to indicate

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Virginia Department of Health launches COVID-19 online tools, including one with school metrics | Education

“We hope communities use the tool to understand the data in their locality and also in surrounding counties or localities to help understand the potential risk of introductions and or subsequent transmission in other settings, like school,” Forlano said.

In the Richmond area, only Hanover County brought students back into the classroom on the first day of school. Chesterfield County is returning some K-12 special education students back to in-person instruction on Tuesday, while Henrico County is weighing whether to move to a hybrid model next month. The city of Richmond is opening some school buildings for emergency child care.

VDH recommends that any decisions about in-person instruction or school closures be handled at the local level. The Department of Health has recommended for school systems to prioritize bringing back the highest-need and youngest elementary school students first.

“That guidance has and continues to prioritize the needs of students who

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Pandemic’s Impact On Young People, Education, Jobs On This West Virginia Morning

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how the pandemic is affecting West Virginia’s higher education institutions and recent graduates looking for work.

House of Delegates member Democrat Danielle Walker of Monongalia County is calling on Gov. Jim Justice to address a rise in white supremacy and messages of hate across West Virginia. Dave Mistich reports.

State officials are facing questions following a report by the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the state government has stopped reporting school-related COVID-19 cases. As Caitlin Tan reports, the state’s largest education union responded in a press release Wednesday.

It’s been about a month since all of West Virginia’s public and private four-year institutions started their fall 2020 semesters. It’s no surprise that reopening in this historic year has been a challenge for all the state’s schools. Education reporter Liz McCormick brings us this look at the coronavirus pandemic’s impact, so far, on our colleges

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Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience Wins Approval

Following a comprehensive evaluation, Virginia’s State Board of Education has approved Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience for statewide use as a core instructional resource through its state adoption process.  The State Board of Education’s adoption of Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience empowers the state’s school systems to purchase and integrate this innovative digital curriculum into teaching and learning.  Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms.

Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience is aligned to Virginia’s 2018 Standards of Learning. In addition, Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience provides educators detailed lesson plans, embedded formative assessments, hands-on activities, digital simulations, and robust teacher supports that immerse students in instruction by sparking their natural curiosity about the world around them.  Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience is comprised of the following award-winning Discovery Education services that are updated regularly at no cost:

Discovery

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Northern Virginia schools adjust to online learning

“Margie went into the schoolroom . . . and the mechanical teacher was on and waiting for her,” the passage reads. “The screen was lit up, and it said: ‘Today’s arithmetic lesson is on the addition of proper fractions. Please insert yesterday’s homework in the proper slot.’ Margie did so with a sigh.”

These days, Bradley — who teaches middle school in Fairfax County Public Schools — feels a lot like the “mechanical teacher.” He spends every morning huddled in a spare room in his Northern Virginia home staring at his computer screen. The monitor is filled with small rectangles: Each one depicts an anonymous, identical silhouette.

These, Bradley explained, are his students. Most keep their cameras off.

“Sometimes,” he said, “you feel as if you’re speaking to thin air. Or to no one at all.”

One week into remote schooling, students, parents and teachers throughout Northern Virginia — where

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