Henrico virtual listening town hall seeks input for second nine weeks of learning

Henrico virtual listening town hall tonight

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico County Public Schools families, staff members and community members can voice their thoughts about the school division’s second nine weeks at a “Listening Town Hall."

On Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuckahoe District school board member Marcie Shea and Brookland District school board member Kristi Kinsella will host the virtual listening town hall.

“We wanted to try and be exhaustive in the opportunities we had for feedback going into Thursday’s decision,” Shea said.

It will not be an easy decision either. For several months, Shea and Kinsella said they have been flooded with emails, phone calls and texts with ideas on how the school year should proceed.

“This mode of learning is hard, it’s hard on our teachers, it’s hard on our families,” Shea said. “Returning to the building will also be hard, hard on our teachers. Everything about pandemic learning is hard.”

“It’s been a tireless effort along the way,” Kinsella added. “I think I was the first person to say ‘Herculean,’ everyone has worked so hard.”

However, in order to make an informed decision, the school board wants as much input and data as possible.

“The largest pieces of data will be based on the health recommendation and seeing where we are with our statistics,” Kinsella said. “The surveys that went out to families was a data point, it was not a popular vote, it was just another data point for us to consider.”

Survey results released Monday show at least 50% of families in favor of continued virtual learning over the hybrid in-person options presented.

Meanwhile, nearly 75% of teachers say they would be willing to teach in person. However, more than 55% also chose other options, including a request for accommodations.

“The intent of the survey was never to be a popular vote,” Shea said. “It’s to be a data point on what can be feasible with the volume of students who want to return to the building.”

A HCPS survey graph breaks down the percentage of families who favor virtual learning for the second nine weeks of school over the three hybrid options presented.
A HCPS survey graph breaks down the percentage of families who favor virtual learning for the second nine weeks of school over the three hybrid options presented. (Source: HCPS)

To actively participate and provide input for Tuesday’s virtual listening town hall you can join the session, HERE.

To observe the Listening Town Hall, use the live stream link that will appear shortly before the start of the event, HERE.

No new material will be presented at the session and Board members will not be accepting questions.

The event will also be recorded for future viewing.

The School Board will get a recommendation Thursday from the HCPS Health Committee on an instructional approach for the second nine weeks of school, which begins Nov. 16.

The public will also have a chance to share input during a two-hour public forum session (5-7p.m.) before the school board votes on a plan.

Citizens are required to sign up in advance via an online form. Each speaker is limited to two minutes. Written comments must be submitted by 8 a.m. on Oct. 22, by going to the School Board webpage here.

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