Northam says all Virginia schools may reopen in the fall with restrictions

In a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Northam announced that all Virginia schools will be able to reopen in some capacity this fall, “but the experience will look different.”

The reopening guidelines will be in phases that give school divisions flexibility, and divisions will have to submit plans before they advance in phase. The phases will be coordinated with the phase plan used for reopening Virginia businesses, Northam said.

Most school divisions will start in phase 2, which features mostly remote learning, with in-person classes for kindergarten through 3rd grade.

If Virginia does reach phase 3 by the fall, schools will be able to hold in-person classes, but are expected to have 6 feet of space between desks, have daily health screenings and require face coverings. There also must be options for virtual learning for students with health issues.

“The main message out of this, is that they will be back in school this fall,” Northam says.

A 126-page guide for reopening will be available for schools later Tuesday, state officials say.