Sixty School Districts Going All Online this Fall

Source: Virginia Department of Education. Click for larger image

With 132 school divisions across Virginia, it’s hard to keep track of which school districts are doing what this fall to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic. The Virginia Department of Education has published a map, which it will update regularly, showing who’s doing what.

It turns out the 60 school districts, including those in the Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond metros, are going fully remote. Only a few rural counties are still planning to hold entirely in-person classes at this point.

I’ve been pretty tough on VDOE leadership, but the department has done a good job with transparency. I don’t know whose idea it was to compile and publish this data, but to whomever you are… kudos.


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19 responses to “Sixty School Districts Going All Online this Fall”

  1. The map at the link is excellent. It is interactive. When you hover your mouse over a locality, it opens a pull-down that identifies the school district, the number of students served, the category and a “hybrid description” which for everything other than Fully Remote gives a brief description of the system’s plan.

    Somebody put a lot of time into it – very nice.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    did not realize it was interactive… very cool. Spotsylvania which is listed as hybrid – is also bringing all rural kids to the school if they don’t have internet.

    Looking at at least some of the all “in-person” counties, I suspect they too have a lot of kids who don’t have internet.

    Also – give credit to Northam – who allowed counties to make their own decisions rather than top-down one-size-fits-all… you probably will not hear any “kudos” from Kerry…just more “why can’t teachers be like grocery workers”…..

    1. I’m willing to give him credit…

      …for that.

      Seriously, though, I’ll admit I did half expect him to issue some kind of edict. I am glad he did not.

      1. Steve Haner Avatar
        Steve Haner

        Don’t relax just yet. My sister in law teaches in Fauquier, and would be considered “vulnerable.” Initially she was reluctant, but then got somewhat enthusiastic about getting back into the classroom. She felt good about the steps being taken, and already spent a week in her classroom prepping. She was actually disappointed when the leadership, in the wave of recent publicity, did a full 180….

        I said it probably 90 days ago and say it again: a lost year, an entire lost year for most of these youngsters. By far the worst damage done by this pandemic and the response.

        There will of course be cases. Many will be brought in, rather than acquired in school, but some will be acquired at school. Will the leadership keep its nerve and simply quarantine those affected? Signs are a couple of cases and everybody goes home.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’m gonna disagree. I think kids will learn. I think it is very possible for them to be able to learn. Way too much naysayers of negativity.

    1. Naysayers of negatively?

      The ones already doing well, may do as well or better. Those who are already struggling or from homes without computers and Internet will fall further behind.

      Disagree all you want. The consequences will be significant and lasting.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    Nope. They’ve suspended the SOLs and that allows them to focus on the more important subjects – reading and math and dump the less important ones…

    In some schools the economically disadvantaged and those without internet are actually coming for in-person.

    It’s not going to be all honey and roses by a long shot but truthfully the “poor kids” are mostly pawns in the partisan blame game anyhow and if the critics really cared , they’d actually be advocating for things like tutors and prioritizing in-person for the at-risk kids instead of going after teachers and administrators…

    Saying all is lost – is very typical of the gloom & doom crowd those naysayers of negativity… it’s their stock in trade!

    We’re going to get through this – even with the nabobs.

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Some form of SOL testing should take place. There needs to be some sort of measurement to produce plans for reteaching and restructuring for the following year. It would help build the case for at least a temporary period of year round schooling to recover the lost ground that must be regained. It might give light on the effectiveness of virtual instruction versus in person instruction as well. Besides there are hundreds of paid “Testing Coordinators” in the major school divisions that need something to do this year.

  6. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    My teaching career at Randolph Macon Academy lasted one day. It was too much. 5 different subjects to prepare for, all sorts of difficult to follow social distancing rules, and the topper was wearing a mask all day. I found the mask rule to be really tough just for one day. Can’t imagine doing that until June 4th. I don’t know how they are going to get 240 boarding and day students to follow this. Doodlebug is going to give it a try as a 7th grader at RMA. I hope all goes well for her. Going to sit this year out and maybe try the classroom again another year. Meanwhile I might explore the “Learning Pod” craze that is catching on for the virtual and home school kids. Looks like a teachers gold mine. On paper it might be possible to earn up to $1,500 per day.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      James so sorry it did not work out for you but appreciate you sharing the experience that does give insight into what teachers are dealing with.

      They should definitely measure academic progress at some point and your point about year-round is interesting… that may actually become a thing.

      1. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead V

        Mr. Larry it was unbelievable the herculean effort that would be required to pull off 5 preparations and do it the right way. I could have easily cut corners and still have been paid. But I could only accept teaching the right way and it was going to be more of an effort than I could give. The mask business was very tough. Everyone had to have a mask on from 7 am to 5 pm. There would be some breaks for this and at lunch time. But just one day of wearing a mask was very tough. I salute all of the workers who have soldiered on with this necessary requirement.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Hey James – appreciate you sharing the issue… not so easy it looks…

          and very interesting what you wrote to Dick about Pods and I hope you continue to share more as you encounter more!

          I’m convinced that these PODs are going to shake up the way that Public education works… as people actually start to understand more about it and realize they actually do have some choices.

    2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Can you provide some details on the Learning Pods? Who pays?

      1. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead V

        Mr. Dick this is very interesting and spreading fast around the country. Here is how it works.
        1. A teacher recruits a small group of students for a particular time slot and subject. For example if I were to do this I would do three 90 minute sessions per day. K-5 in the morning. 6-8 grade around noon time. 9-12 grade mid afternoon. Group sizes could only be 5 students. That is the most I could space out safely in my dining room. So 15 kids a day in 3 groups of 5. I have a terrific back yard so I nice days I could easily use this space as well as the dining room.
        2. Offer one subject to start US History since that is my specialty area.. So I would tailor the lessons to each groups age group of elementary, middle, and high school.
        3. Masks and temperature checks prior to starting.
        4. Give each group a 90 minute interactive lesson. Lessons would be arranged in the chronology of US History.
        5. Offer 5 days a week until the course is completed. I could finish Jamestown to the near present by December.
        6. Some learning pods are charging up to 100 bucks per session per kid. I would do 50 bucks a session per kid, which would translate into 750 bucks a day.
        7. Learning pods can affiliate with accredited organizations to add legitimacy. Of course there is a fee to do this. Many are not. Just mom and pop style on the side.
        8. Assessments are optional and are an additional cost. Up to the customer if they want testing or not.

        I think it is very interesting and I plan to explore in greater detail this coming week. If learning pods are properly constructed and ably led it could be a transformative tool for education. Not just for the unusual times but for all time.

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    Pretty good NYT article:

    ” Pods, Microschools and Tutors: Can Parents Solve the Education Crisis on Their Own?
    As school openings remain in flux, families grapple with big questions about safety, money and politics.”

    and the economy has actually produced some real companies that are offering these services:

    ” Kickstart your own microschool with other families you know and trust.
    SchoolHouse™️ matches you with an outstanding teacher for at-home education.’


  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    This is yet another example of the potential of a nascent industry that could blossom and bloom if the teachers who would staff these pods and micro-schools could get health insurance and it would be portable so it would follow them wherever they worked. Pair that with a portable 401K/IRA type investment and this could be a significant challenge to public schools and attract teachers who don’t find public schools to be satisfying work.

    If the critics could get off their blame game and actually encourage and support these alternatives – we actually could see the sea-change many of them say they want.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      The Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools was quite clear regarding his distaste for the pod concept as I recall. They conflicted with “equity” in his mind and he was clear that Farifax County schools wouldn’t lift a finger to help the parents trying to establish these pods.

      You talk a lot about the blame game. It seems to me that the teachers in Virginia along with their associations and the administrators who clog the educational system will go to almost any lengths to preserve the status quo – no matter how badly failing that status quo may be.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        You and others speak of teachers and administrators as if they are one monolithic evil group out to crap on everyone else.

        that’s what I call blame game.

        The fact that they are all working to find answers apparently means nothing to the boo birds.

        Teachers, right now, are back at schools in a lot of places, working to makes things work – not what many wanted – but they are making the effort.

        My understanding was, but can’t find the article, that Fairfax is actually doing some “pod” stuff on a limited basis.

        In general, transitioning from a conventional public school model to a “pod” model would be a true earth-shaking change – it would break stuff, no doubt, so they’re not going to embrace it at this point but a lot of parents are talking about it and a lot of teachers are apparently interested in it and it could take hold – and if it does, it would force changes in public schooling – which is what many have advocated…

        Rich folks already have “pods” – the question is can it be done cost-effectively for the un-rich.

        As folks who frequent these pages know – I support competitive challenges to the public school system – with caveats – that those competing institutions also accept the tougher-to-teach demographics AND they be held accountable for their performance – the same way we hold public schools accountable.

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” Many people here do not think distance learning will allow us to provide a good education for our children. ”

    Indeed, as you point out, it’s not WHAT they say it’s HOW they say it and yes I do point that out.

    The “critics” of the current approach that schools are taking has been a jihad of hate and discontent – and a never-ending blame game of teachers themselves who are the salt of the earth in my book for what they have to put up with – both parents and “critics”.

    So , sorry you did not enjoy the commentary but not that unexpected.

    The “economy” so many talk about here is adapting as we speak and if we could stop the griping and get out of the way – some things may happen that public school critics have been advocating – for years.

    Just imagine, for instance, how empowering it will be for both parents and teachers to make choices they never had before… we’re on the cusp of a revolution if we let it happen.

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