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Virginia LEARNS looking for input

A work group appointed by Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane to assess student needs and support Virginia schools this spring and summer as they offer or expand in-person instruction is seeking comment from parents and other members of the public.

The Virginia LEARNS (Leading, Engaging, Assessing, Recovering, Nurturing and Succeeding) workgroup — which includes educators, school administrators, mental health professionals, parents and leaders of community organizations — conducted its first virtual meeting on Wednesday.

“Ultimately, our goal is to provide a guidance document — or documents — to guide schools on how to recover and make sure our students are where they need to be,” Lane told the workgroup. “We have an aggressive timeline, but I believe the Virginia LEARNS workgroup has the right expertise to help our schools — regardless of where they are today — address learning losses and set priorities for the spring and summer, and prepare for 2021-2022.”

In announcing the public comment opportunity, Lane said the workgroup and Virginia Department of Education staff are seeking comment on the following topics:

• Suggestions or recommendations of practices that have worked well over the last year;

• Concerns about practices that have not worked well over the last year, and suggestions for addressing them;

• Types of resources and supports school divisions, parents and communities most need; and

• Best practices in remediating students and creative schedules to support these efforts.

Members of the public may submit comments via a Google form through March 1.

The Virginia LEARNS workgroup will complete its work and issue a report by the end of April on its findings regarding the reopening of schools and mitigating the impact of the pandemic on learning and student mental health.