Virginia Senate passes bill requiring in-person school

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Democrat-controlled Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would require every local school division to make both virtual and in-person learning available to students.

The measure was sponsored by Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, who is a doctor. It advanced on a 26-13 bipartisan vote.

One senator who spoke in favor of the bill called it the most important measure the chamber would vote on this year. The measure’s chances in the state House are less certain.

Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, a co-sponsor of the measure, said the nearly yearlong stretch of remote learning has frustrated families, including his own, and threatened the loss of a generation of students.

At least one similar but more narrow bill failed during last year’s special legislative session.

The bill, SB 1303, is now headed to the House of Delegates.  Supporters of the measure said Gov. Ralph Northam backs the bill and wants it to take effect as soon as it reaches his desk.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

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