LOUISA, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam got a first-hand look at how Louisa High School handles in-person learning on Thursday morning.
This comes as the March 15 deadline approaches: The date when Northam wants all public schools in Virginia to offer some form of in-person learning.
“Welcome to Louisa!” a group of younger students proclaimed to the governor to kick off his tour, welcoming him with a sign. The governor spent a few hours checking out the school’s specialized classes and even chatted with students.
“This is an example of how things can be in Virginia,” Northam said, after the tour.
Every student, staff and faculty member in the school was masked and social distancing markers lined the hallways. Even what appeared to be a smaller student body in most of their technical classes, kept the education train running, which could spell out long-term benefits for the commonwealth.
“Preparing these students at the high school level for tomorrow’s workforce; that’s the way we keep our economy strong,” Northam said.
Louisa County Schools Superintendent Doug Straley said it was weeks of preparation to get the schools operating properly for safe in-person instruction.
“In-person school can be safe, and I think certainly today showcased that as our students are active, they’re involved, they’re hands-on. And it’s greatly appreciated by all, and it’s an honor to have the governor here to showcase that work,” Straley said.
Along with ongoing vaccinations in Virginia, Northam believes if other districts followed Louisa’s lead, along with CDC guidelines, he doesn’t anticipate more widespread classroom closures.
“I think that everyone agrees that our students need to be back in the classrooms. No one argues against that, we just want to make sure we do it safely and responsibly,” he added.
Northam did point out one school district that did not have concrete plans for in-person learning for March: Sussex County. But he did say that his office is working with them as the deadline approaches.
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