1st Day of Classes Brings Changes for Va. Schools

About 400,000 Virginia students are heading back to school in the Washington area and will find some changes this year.

In Fairfax County, one of the biggest changes is the elimination of early release Mondays for elementary students. That will provide more instructional time and could eliminate the need to add makeup days for snow.

The county is also opening a second building for Bailey's Elementary School after converting a five-story office building to relieve overcrowding. Fairfax expects to enroll nearly 187,000 students, making it the largest school division in Virginia.

In Prince William County, 600 teachers have joined the school system. It will enroll 86,000 students. Around 800 of those students will start class in a brand new building. The Nokesville School is the first in the county to house kindergarten through eighth grade. Officials say it could become a model for future buildings.

The county is also offering Tdap shots to middle school students who do no have proof of having been vaccinated. With parental permission, students who need the shot will be bused to a school to get the shot Tuesday. The shot costs $55.

The Tdap vaccine is required for all incoming middle school students.

High school students in Alexandria will find new city-issued computer tablets, and Arlington students can take American Sign Language classes for the first time.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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