State superintendent says learning loss a continuing focus of COVID response

Virginia schools continue to make progress toward in-person instruction five days a week.
Virginia schools continue to make progress toward in-person instruction five days a week.(WDBJ7)
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - School divisions across Virginia are making progress toward five-day-a-week, in-person instruction. And that will be the standard by the start of the next school year. But more students have fallen behind and more are failing, and Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane says dealing with learning loss will continue to be a major focus.

“There will be no mandated summer school from the state, no mandated year-round school, but we’re certainly encouraging expanded summer offerings,” Lane told members of the House Appropriations Committee Monday morning. “We’re encouraging divisions to consider year-round schools if that’s an interest in their communities. And we’re encouraging them to add more days so they can really target those students with those additional needs.”

Lane briefed the committee on the state’s continuing COVID response, and the federal funding the Commonwealth expects to receive.

Republican Delegate Glenn Davis asked Lane what he would have done differently as the pandemic unfolded.

Lane defended the decisions of officials in the Northam administration, saying their guidance was consistent with what they knew at the time.

But he said he wished the state had prepared sooner to make sure more students would have access to broadband.

“One of the things in hindsight that I wish that we had known was how many of our residents do not have broadband access and had done more to address that,” Lane told lawmakers.

Looking ahead, Lane said an important goal is to build confidence around in-person learning, ensuring parents who are still hesitant to send their children back into the classroom will feel safe with the return of in-person instruction.

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