Va. Dept. of Education releases annual report on state’s public schools

File photo of an empty classroom at Harrisonburg High School. | Credit: WHSV
File photo of an empty classroom at Harrisonburg High School. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 5:22 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has released its annual report on the condition and needs of the state’s public schools.

The VDOE says the challenges schools face because of the coronavirus pandemic will continue even when the pandemic ends, according to a press release from the organization.

According to the release, four factors impacted the hybrid and virtual formats of schooling during the pandemic: A lack of broadband infrastructure and access for all students, a lack of devices for each student, a lack of capacity of school divisions and professional development for educators and an inadequacy of virtual instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities and young learners.

“We have learned a great deal at both the state and local levels since the initial closure of schools last spring; we know that Virginia’s public school system today is much better prepared to continue instruction through short-term and extended emergencies than we were pre-pandemic,” Board Vice President Jamelle S. Wilson said in the release. “And while we are confident that most of the families that chose other options this year will return to public education, the Board of Education recognizes that many of our school divisions are facing the very real threat of shortfalls this fiscal year because of drops in enrollment, especially among early learners.”

The release says statewide, public school enrollment this academic year is down by more than 45,000 students compared to the 2019-2020 school year. Since funding is largely allocated on a per-pupil basis in Virginia, enrollment declines ultimately lead to a negative impact on school division budgets.

The release also says the report shows Virginia continues to face a shortage of quality educators entering and remaining in the classroom. The report predicts the COVID-19 pandemic will worsen the shortage and increase teacher turnover.

You can read the Board of Education’s 2020 Annual Report on the Condition and Needs of Public Schools in Virginia by clicking on the link.

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