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Superintendent Hutchings Outlines Future of Schools Through Pandemic

In a video posted yesterday, Alexandria Superintendent Gregory Hutchings described the school’s approach to educating students at home and how those plans have evolved and will evolve throughout the pandemic.

“Our continuity of learning plan is how we teach and learn from home,” Hutchings said. “It ensures all our students are learning while we’re at home. The plan was initially meant to take us through spring break, but as you know… [Gov. Northam] decided all schools will remain closed through the academic year.”

Hutchings said the school is currently in the middle of what he called Continuity of Learning Plan 2.0, a plan that includes both synchronous — video classes between teachers and students — and asynchronous education — lessons students can pursue on a timeline that works for individual families.

“There are a lot of younger students are involved with [asynchronous learning],” Hutchings said. “They might check in with the teacher, it might be one-on-one, or might see a lesson on TV or online at a time convenient for the family. That’s important because all of our schedules are different.”

Hutchings said his own family was no different, saying he was trying to find a time to record the video in a house full of family members using zoom for various meetings and lessons at all hours of the day.

Moving forward, Hutchings said Plan 3.0 focuses on summer academic support.

“We’re going to be sharing that with staff and families on May 22,” Hutchings said, so families can have a better understanding of what summer will look like for students.”

The final (for now) version of the continuity of learning plan — 4.0 — is about preparing for reopening schools for the next academic year.

“More information on that will be coming soon,” Hutchings said. “We’ll be releasing that at the end of June, on June 26. That will provide and opportunity for family and staff to understand the multiple plans for opening schools in the fall. There may be multiple scenarios.”

Hutchings said the other question he hears a lot is whether students will be penalized for not completing their assignments from home.

“If students don’t do the assignments will they be held back?” Hutchings said. “Students won’t be penalized, but students grades 6-12 will have the opportunity to improve their grade if they do their assignments.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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