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Southampton County schools implement remote learning

Nottoway Elementary Staff Megan Nix, Joan Austin, Stacey Rodgers, Krystle Tomlin and Principal Susan Melbye cheer for their students and parents as they pick up instructional packets and meals. — Submitted Alice L. Williams

By Alice Williams

COURTLAND

Southampton County Public Schools began the transition from traditional learning to remote learning on March 13, when Gov. Ralph Northam initially closed all Virginia schools for students, then subsequently announced the closure would continue for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year on March 23. The faculty and staff of the schools of Southampton County soared into action to make the transition, from a traditional model of student education to a remote learning system, as smooth as possible for students.

Guidance from the Virginia Department of Education was critical in determining details of Southampton County Public School Division’s Continuity of Learning Plan. On March 29, Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon, division superintendent, provided faculty and staff with preliminary information regarding the functions of the school division which included the following topics: nutrition plan; continuity of learning; technology; graduation requirements; course grades; course credits; equitable opportunities for all students; report cards; standards of learning testing; spring break; spring sports; prom; and graduation. At the time, some of these topics were “to be determined.”

ITRT Joan McCullough assists with iPad distribution at Southampton Middle School. — Submitted Alice L. Williams

The Continuity of Learning Plan, with all supporting resources can be found on the Southampton County Public School Division webpage at www.southampton.k12.va.us by accessing the School Closure Resources tab. The school closure resources page contains a video of Shannon providing an update on the school closure and the continuity of learning, digital versions of instructional packets, and continuity of learning plans and guides. Also available for reference is a faculty and staff email directory, technology support information, Schoology Parent Portal training webinar (recorded), Northam’s Executive Orders related to the school closure, VDOE Superintendent Memos, and memos, letters, and news releases from Shannon.

“The Southampton County Public School Division is very fortunate to have families, teachers, staff, administrators and a school board who are committed to excellence and dedicated to working together to provide a first-class education for our students,” said division spokeswoman Alice L. Williams in a press release. “Whether students are in a Zoom class, completing an instructional packet, connecting to the internet through Kajeet, using an iPad, or accessing lessons through Schoology, students are engaged in learning. We applaud the efforts, strength, and perseverance of our school community in supporting student learning.”