School administrators across Northern Virginia are preparing for online learning after Gov. Ralph Northam announced that schools would be closed for the rest of the academic year.
It's clear this will not be a carefree break for students in grades K-11, but details on distance learning are still under development as district deal with new challenges.
Manassas City Public Schools announced that it would establish a distance-learning period from April 20 to May 29, with devices distributed to families that need them.
- Students in grades 5-12 will utilize Schoology, including lessons where students can join in live or watch later. Teachers will also provide review activities at this time.
- Students in grades 1-4 may use devices for the i-Ready platform for math and reading in addition to working with their classroom teachers on enrichment activities.
- Pre-K and kindergarten students will continue to review reading and math in addition to working with their teachers on enrichment activities.
Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams said in a statement the division is asking teachers to start providing online resources starting March 30.
Teachers will use Google Classroom and other platforms to communicate with students and families, he said. Elementary school teachers will offer daily learning opportunities ranging from an hour to 90 minutes, depending on grade level. Middle and high school teachers will provide daily learning opportunities of up to 30 minutes for each class.
Williams said the division placed an order for 11,400 Google Chromebooks on March 10. The division also ordered 1,500 hotspots, he said. The additional Chromebook laptops are an effort to complete the division’s plan that every student in grades 3-12 have a Chromebook.
Like Prince William County Public Schools, Loudoun County Public Schools officials are not grading any work while schools are closed. Williams said the work starting March 30 will not cover any new content or skills, but will instead reinforce previously taught material.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
At a Prince William County School Board budget work session March 11, division staff told the school board a four-year goal for technology is to assign a digital device for the entire school year to every student in third through 12th grades.
Superintendent Steve Walts said then when he asked school principals in the division if they would participate in a pilot program to assign devices to students, he said 61 principals said they would like to be a part of that pilot program. “This is the chalk and slate of the 21st century,” Walts said.
School Board Chair Babur Lateef said then the division does not have the capability to provide distance learning at a wide level. The division had 1,300 students enrolled in its virtual high school this year, according to division staff.