WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) — Virginia’s only public school for sensory-impaired children is looking to the state for guidance on how to best meet the needs of its students since all Virginia schools are closed for the rest of the academic year.
Like thousands of others across the country, students at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind haven’t been on campus since school closures have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. But these students come from all across the commonwealth, and most have needs that can’t always be met online.
"We are really trying to think out of the box, be very innovative, thinking about what can we to make sure that any instruction that we are planning to support continuity of learning?.” Superintendent Pat Trice said.
Since Governor Ralph Northam announced that all Virginia schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year, Trice and her team have been trying to figure out how to meet the needs of their students.
“The needs are so prescriptive and individual that just saying, ‘Here, go use this online resource.’ It’s not always going to work." Trice said.
Since students come from across the state, most live at the school five days a week. As a result, they spend more time at the school than their own homes.
"They have access to full communication here, this where their social environment is, this is where their other family is. And to be cut off so abruptly when they weren't expecting it, is really difficult." Trice said.
Trice hopes to figure out a way to help further her student’s education even if it has to be from hundreds of miles away.
“You worry about them, we all worry about them. Not that families can’t take care of their own students, but we know how hard it is. We don’t want our students to feel isolated, we don’t want our parents to feel like they cannot meet their needs for this long period of time.” Trice said.
School leaders hope to have a more concrete at home education plan out to students and parents by next week.