In-Person Learning Could Soon Be Mandatory in Virginia

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In-person learning could soon be required by law in Virginia. A bill mandating school districts offer in-person learning by July 1, overwhelmingly passed the House of Delegates.

The bill allows districts to switch to fully virtual if there's a COVID-19 outbreak in school.

Delegate Lee Carter from Manassas is one of the few who voted against the bill. Carter says schools should be able to close if there's even a risk of transmission.

"Once community spread is underway, it is too late to contain this virus. If there's anything the last year should've taught us, it is that," Carter said.

But the bill is heading to the Senate where a previous version of the bill already passed.

The in-person learning mandate has the support of the Virginia Education Association and the Governor.

In a statement to News4, Governor Northam's office says the bill "aligns with the governor's expectation that all school divisions across Virginia offer safe, in-person instruction options."

The governor also wants every district to offer summer school. A Prince William County parent says summer school is critical.

"I absolutely believe remediation is going to be important, without having to throw the word compensatory out there," Sandra Kern said.

Most school districts are just now starting to form a plan for what they can offer during summer school.

Fauquier County's superintendent says they'll focus on math and reading, but getting kids in school now, is the only way to know what students will need in the summer.

Most school districts are well on their way without the mandate. Only two districts in the entire Commonwealth, Richmond City and Sussex County, still have nearly all of their students virtual and have not set a date to start returning more students to the building.

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