By Carol Vaughn —
High school students in Accomack County Public Schools will have three options for completing their spring semester coursework, after the Accomack County School Board approved an update to its continuity of learning plan.
Schools in Virginia were closed for the rest of the school year by executive order, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The school board met electronically Tuesday, April 21.
Students under all three scenarios will have the option to receive letter grades for courses, or to receive a pass or fail for their final grade.
The change to allow letter grades came after the school board received several comments from parents and students concerned about the pass/fail grades affecting grade point averages, class rank, and college acceptance.
“We realize that students work very, very hard for the grades that they get,” said Rhonda Hall, assistant superintendent of instruction.
Middle and elementary school students will have their final grades recorded as pass or fail.
High school students, or grade 8 students taking a high school course, under the first of three options to complete classes will begin distance learning of new material on May 4, with classes continuing through June 5.
Teachers will notify students of what virtual learning tool will be used for the course.
To participate in the first option, parents and students must contact their teacher or guidance counselor by May 5.
Classes will be held at least 30 minutes per day, three times a week, with a maximum of one hour per day, three times a week for each course.
The second option is for students to attend summer school in August to complete courses.
The plan is for summer school to be held Aug. 3 to 6 and Aug. 10 to 13 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Under the third option, students next fall will attend a one-hour fifth block after school for two weeks for each class they were taking in the spring semester.
“Teachers have been working very, very hard to assure that our students are provided with opportunities,” said Hall.
“They are using a variety of instructional methods and delivery methods, from…Zoom, making packets and giving out packets at the sites where they are delivering food, or some of them are even mailing packets home,” she said.
Students who need a computer are checking them out from the school district, Hall said.
Kindergarten registration packets are available at each school and also online, she said.
The Virginia Department of Education has asked each school district to appoint a task force “to look at how it’s going to look when we return for the fall,” Hall said.
School Superintendent Chris Holland said he and Hall are in the process of appointing members to the task force.