Dear NPS Stakeholders:
As we welcome a new school year, we are preparing for challenges, unlike those we have ever known. Our senior leaders and School Board members have spent many hours discussing the options for reopening our schools. We were not alone in this difficult decision-making process. School divisions throughout the Commonwealth, and indeed, the nation, have been weighing the risks and benefits of returning students and staff to classrooms.
As we considered the options for reopening, we realized that none of them was the perfect solution. And there are certainly benefits and limitations associated with each option. With the health and safety of students and staff in mind, the Norfolk School Board approved the reopening of schools using a virtual format. The administration is committed to ensuring that a strong foundation is built for the successful implementation of a virtual learning environment for all. As the year continues, we will monitor health conditions/metrics to determine when it will be prudent to offer an option to return students and staff to face-to-face instruction.
Now, the challenge ahead of us is to make virtual learning the best it can possibly be for each student! While we vigorously work to meet that challenge, we must also keep in mind our overall focus to work toward delivering equity and excellence for all our students. There is no other school division that can take these challenges on like Norfolk Public Schools with the extraordinary energy and dedication of our administrators, teachers, and staff to serve our students, families, and community.
Our senior leaders have been working hard over the summer to develop this comprehensive “2020-2021 NPS Reopening Plan” that covers a wide range of topics including, but not limited to: academic instruction, technology, health mitigation strategies, facility cleaning, child care, food service, and student transportation.
There is no doubt we are navigating uncharted waters, but I believe there is no other school division that can take on this challenge like Norfolk Public Schools. The tenacity of our administrators, teachers, and staff in finding solutions to problems, flexibility in adapting to new expectations, and a positive outlook in staying focused throughout this unprecedented crisis will lead us into our new school year.
We are truly all in this together, as we support each other through this challenging time, but one of great opportunity. Have a great start to a new virtual school year!
Dr. Sharon I. Brydsong , Superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools
Hon. Carlos J. Clanton, Ward 3 Member, Norfolk City School Board