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Richmond Schools Unveil Fall Virtual Learning Plan

School board meeting
A photo from a Richmond City School Board meeting before the pandemic. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

On Monday, Richmond Public Schools released its detailed plan for reopening schoolsvirtually in the fall.

All students will receive a Chromebook computerand will use Google Classroom for virtual learning. They will also receive a kit that includes learning materials, textbooks and novels. Teachers will also receive equipment, including cell phones, for remote work. The district is reallocating $2.5 million previously used for transportation to help cover these costs. 

The plan offers two options for middle schoolers, where students would take either four or six subject classes per day. School days will begin at 9 a.m. for all schools, and end around 4 p.m. for middle and high schoolers, and around 3 p.m. for elementary, kindergarten and pre-K schools. Meal delivery and pick up will be available between 7 and 9 a.m. at several meal distribution hubs across the city. 

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate reading and writing into their teaching plans. Lunch and recess range from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the school level. Pre-K and elementary students are given a mid-morning, 15-minute “brain break.” Additional breaks away from the screen are encouraged.

“We expect some potential roadblocks but those should be treated as learning opportunities, and I think our kiddos will be pretty quick on the uptake once we figure this out,” said RPS Chief Academic Officer Tracy Epp, who helped craft the reopening plan. 

Epp says special virtual accommodations will be made for English language learners and students with learning disabilities. RPS will arrange in-person, at-home support for unique services that cannot be provided virtually, like occupational, physical and speech therapy, while maintaining social distance and using personal protective equipment.

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