Schools evaluating next steps after Virginia's governor orders closure

Rockingham County Superintedent Dr. Oskar Scheikl said they're asking families for patience during this time. | Credit: WHSV
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV)— Following Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's order that all public schools close for the rest of this year, local school districts are already evaluating how they'll take the next steps.

Rockingham County Superintendent Dr. Oskar Scheikl said they're asking families for patience as they work through the changes for the rest of the school year.

Dr. Scheikl said they are working with the state superintendent and the Virginia Department of Education to see what the rest of the year will look like.

"This doesn't have to be done in the first 24 hours," Dr. Scheikl said. "Again, if we had a massive snow storm that lasted two weeks, you know we wouldn't even send anything home. So it's okay to take a little bit of a time."

Dr. Scheikl said they're working to see what needs to come next, and this is a conversation they've been having for a while.

"When the first announcement was made about the two week closing, we talked about this more than likely being a longer process and how we could provide the educational opportunities for students,' Dr. Scheikl said.

However, their goal has now changed. Instead of talking about what gaps will need to be filled until students would come back until April or May, Dr. Scheikl said they're talking about what this means for graduating seniors and other students.

"How do we provide continuity of education to students who are now missing out on the rest of the school year. How do we get them ready for the following school year?"

Dr. Scheikl said for high school seniors, they may miss out on some content they would normally get. However, it's different for a ninth grader, who may miss out on content they need as they move on to the next grade level.

"What does that look like at the beginning of tenth grade, what information is critical for the next class?" Dr. Scheikl said.

The process is going to take some time because Dr. Scheikl said they want to get the best information for families.

"Now that we know the duration of this, that we focus on getting the best material together, getting the best process together for our families, so it's a little bit of patience, I think is helpful right now."

Dr. Scheikl said they hope to have a better idea of what's going on by the end of next week. Superintendent of public instruction James Lane said seniors who are on track to graduate this spring will be able to get their diplomas, despite school closures.