New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | May 18, 2024

Charles City schools to survey on possible return to in-person instruction

By Andre Jones | January 19, 2021 9:08 pm

As school districts begin to weigh the possibility for in-person learning once again, Charles City County Public Schools are using recently established guidelines to develop a survey to determine when, or if, students will return to buildings.

Charles City Superintendent of Schools Dalphine Joppy unveiled a mock timetable of how students will return to buildings at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. No specific date was announced.

Joppy commented that on Jan. 14, a new set of guidelines were released by the Virginia Department of Education and State School Superintendent James Lane. The guidance focused on areas of academics, staffing of employees, the learning environment and ability to house students, and the comfort of families.

A small survey was sent out to a number of students and staff members of the school, resulting in mixed feedback on in-person learning. Students who were excelling in a virtual learning environment counterbalanced the blend of students who wanted in-person learning and social interaction according to the survey. Instructors commented that they were adjusting to their environment and slowly beginning to form a daily routine through virtual learning.

Joppy commented that only a few surveys were sent out as feelers, but a more widespread one would occur very soon.

“We wanted to take a qualitative look instead of a quantitative look when it came to learning,” the superintendent commented. “We didn’t just want to look at the grades of the student. We wanted to see how virtual learning was affecting them socially and emotionally as well.”

Those surveys also resulted in feedback from parents. Once again, responses ranged from parents having to learn alongside their student and the material they have, to others working multiple jobs and not having time to assist their child.

Joppy added that she applauded the school board’s approach when it came to students returning to in-person learning.

“I know that this board didn’t want to see in-person instruction start up, only to revert back to virtual instruction,” Joppy said. “Know that whatever decision we make, we’re going to offer a choice.”

Joppy released a mock approach of how students would return to the buildings based on the new guidelines issued by the Virginia Department of Education. Cohort 1 (PreK-2) would be the first group to return. That would be followed by Cohort 2 (Grades 3-4), Cohort 3 (Grades 5-6), Cohort 4 (Grades 7-8), and Cohort 5 (Grades 9-12). As students returned, each Cohort and grade level would be separated into two groups. Students in “Group A” would attend on Mondays and Tuesdays. Pupils associated with “Group B” would be in buildings on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays would be designated at deep cleaning days and no students would be allowed inside the schools.

“There will be no full class of students at any time,” Joppy added. “We are taking all precautions and we will have desk shields for students and teachers.”

Joppy added that logistics are still being worked on and that surveys will go out to students, employees, and parents to gauge their comfort level.

In another school board action, District 2 representative Rodney Tyler was re-elected to serve as chairman for the 2021 calendar year. District 1 school leader Joy Harris was re-elected to serve as co-chairwoman for the year as part of the reorganization process.