Alexandria school board adopts plan to begin academic year with virtual-only classes

Students who attend Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia will start the new school year with virtual classes under a plan adopted by the school board.

The Alexandria City School Board voted unanimously Friday to adopt the Virtual PLUS+ model, which the school system said is a “comprehensive plan for social, emotional and academic learning and family support.”

The plan will now be submitted to the Virginia Department of Education for approval.

The Virtual PLUS+ model, announced by Superintendent Gregory C. Hutchings Jr. on July 31, calls for 100% virtual learning and will provide all students with either tablets or Chromebook laptops.

ACPS said the model includes enhanced support in five key areas aimed at “further extending the educational program that is already intended to mirror the traditional school day.”

Those areas are social, emotional and academic supports; technology enhancements; child care options for “our most vulnerable” families; continuation of meal distribution; and a live multilingual phone helpline, according to the school system.

“Our goal is to ensure all ACPS students are provided with an engaging and equitable academic experience in these difficult times and that no barrier exists to meaningful participation,” Hutchings said in a message to families.

“Our team has worked methodically and strategically to determine the feasibility of our reopening plan using the Virtual PLUS+ model which I believe is the only feasible solution and alternative to in-person learning at this time.”

Students will be graded on completed work and will receive “synchronous lessons in each subject area” four days a week when the school year begins on Sept. 8, according to ACPS.

The school system said technology will be expanded in order for “all students across all grades have devices and internet access” before Sept. 4.

ACPS said it will monitor the effectiveness of the Virtual PLUS+ model and “reassess at the end of the first quarter and every nine weeks subsequently.”

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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