RPS launches fully virtual learning

Superintendent says “the bumps” will be worked out in the first week
Updated: Sep. 8, 2020 at 4:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said the goal for the first week of virtual learning is to get kids back into the groove of school and work through “the bumps.” Bumps that will undoubtedly happen with a virtual launch of RPS’s size.

Kamras delivered morning announcements Tuesday, through his laptop to thousands of students logging online for a full day of class, for the first time.

“We know there will be some tech hiccups,” he said.

Thousands of brand new chrome books and tablets were distributed to students over the summer. Teachers were trained on an entirely new online curriculum. Tech support has now been made available for families, as kids log on for a full schedule of group classes and individual assignments.

But RPS is still working out details on when parents, who have no other childcare options, can start bringing their children to five emergency childcare school sites. Those services would be free for most families.

“There was a lot of hesitance to open up the buildings,” said Kamras. “And the School Board just needed some time to think through it and work through those issues.”

Other issues popping up are several hundred Chromebooks still on backorder. Students were given tablets in the meantime, which will be switched out for the laptops when they arrive in the upcoming weeks.

Kamras has instructed teachers not to give any new material or tests for at least two weeks, to give kids a chance to get used to a very new kind of school day.

“We got this RPS. Let’s go!” he said.

RPS will be solely virtual through the first semester, or Feb. 8. The School Board is aiming to make a decision by December on whether to allow students back to class in person, at least partly. Administrators say that all depends on the Covid-19 data and vaccine availability.

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