by Megan Schiffres
Like every other public school district in the Commonwealth, Northumberland schools have closed due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 virus.
“We are taking this action to keep Virginians as safe and healthy as possible, and to minimize exposure to COVID-19,” said Gov. Ralph Northam.
As public spaces where hundreds of people of all ages gather in close quarters every day for an extended period of time, schools pose an exposure risk to students, their families and staff members. Schools closed across Virginia after a state of emergency was declared by the governor.
“The health and safety of our students, families, teachers and staff remain my first priority at all times. I support the governor’s decision and am here to support our students and families during this difficult time,” said Northumberland superintendent Holly Wargo.
While schools are closed, instruction for students in Northumberland County has been converted to online review materials and paper packets for students without access to the internet to be completed at home. These review packets are designed to continue students’ lessons throughout the school closure, but they are optional and will not be graded.
Students at the high school also received exam review materials which they are encouraged to study during the closure. Exams for high school students are scheduled for April 2 and 3, but those dates could change due to the pandemic.
Northumberland students will continue to have access to free breakfast and lunch through the school’s nutritional program during the closure. To receive these meals parents should text 466-2277 or call 529-6134 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with their name, the number of children in their household, their address and any dietary restrictions that their children may have. Parents and students who did not receive a paper copy of school instructional materials can also text 466-2277 for assistance.
On Tuesday the district’s custodians and Service Master began the process of deep cleaning each building and campus area, according to Wargo.
Changes to the district’s 2020-21 academic calendar are being considered, added Wargo. She is working with the Virginia Department of Education to determine how many days of instruction will need to be made up after the closure concludes.
Schools across the Commonwealth will remain closed at least until Friday, March 27.
“We have been messaging our families via website, official social media account, and phone messaging throughout the weekend, and we will continue to update families as we navigate this event,” Wargo said.