ACPS closes for the rest of 2019-2020 school year

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T.C. Williams High School (Photo Credit: Aleksandra Kochurova)
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By Cody Mello-Klein | [email protected]

In response to the growing outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced at a press conference on Monday that schools throughout the state would be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Alexandria City Public Schools issued a statement on Monday stating that it had been preparing for “this eventuality.” During a video Q&A session released on Tuesday, ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings Ed.D. clarified that the school division would share more details with families and staff by April 3.

The state will largely leave it up to local school divisions to figure out how to best educate students from home; however, the Virginia Department of Education has provided some guidance and will apply for waivers for state testing requirements to ensure students stay on track to graduate.

“No student will be penalized for closure of any of our schools at this time,” Hutchings said. “The Virginia Department of Education, they are looking to submit an application for waivers to the U.S. Department of Education and we will receive more information about that in the coming weeks. But at this time no student will be required to repeat a grade level or attend summer school due to our school closures.”

The U.S. Department of Education called off all standardized tests on March 20, although advanced placement tests will continue in an abbreviated, online form.

As for ACPS staff, over the next few weeks they will be developing more “robust” learning materials that they will administer to students once they return from spring break on April 13, Hutchings said. With an extended closure now in place, expectations for teachers and other staff will have to be adjusted.

“As we are now adjusting to an extended closure time period, we are going to have to make some revisions and refinements to expectations that we have for staff and we’re working through that right now.”

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