Gov. Northam announces state-wide virtual education program, ‘VA TV Classroom’


RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the launch of “VA TV Classroom”, which gives teachers more resources for online instruction and better equips students — even those without internet — to participate in class.

Virtual Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education’s existing online learning system, allows educators in the Commonwealth to host virtual classes while schools are closed during the coronavirus health crisis. These resources allow all Virginia public school teachers to share lessons and activities with their students through June 30.

The expansion of Virtual Virginia includes four Virginia public media stations: Blue Ridge PBS, VPM, WETA, and WHRO Public Media.

While there is no perfect substitute for in-person classroom instruction, this is an unprecedented public health crisis and we must do everything we can to ensure all children have equitable learning opportunities . . . I want to thank our educators, school administrators, and superintendents for their extraordinary efforts to keep students connected and learning. The expansion of Virtual Virginia will help ensure that the closure of schools and interruption of formal instruction this spring does not lead to a widening of achievement gaps.

Gov. Ralph Northam

Virtual Virginia will now include elementary and middle school content as an option for students to make up work missed in the spring.

Courses will begin in May and the new course content will be available to any school division that enrolls students and teachers in the program, at no cost to the division.

For students without internet access, content can be loaded onto a device and accessed offline. The expansion does not affect the more than 6,000 students already enrolled in one or more of Virtual Virginia’s 81 high school-level courses.

The expansion of Virtual Virginia will provide additional options for school divisions to present the instruction and content that they are unable to provide this spring in traditional classroom settings . . . Access to the Virtual Virginia platform will be especially helpful for teachers and students in school divisions without robust distance learning systems.

James Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction

‘VA TV Classroom’ is the third major action the Commonwealth has taken within the last week to reduce the impact of the health crisis on schools.

Additionally, the Virginia Department of Education established the Continuity for Learning (C4L) Task Force consisting of more than 120 teachers, leaders, and collaborating educational partners across Virginia. The Task Force launched ‘Virginia Learns Anywhere‘, providing resources and tips for individual educators adjusting to remote and online teaching.

A list of resources and support documents for K-12 public schools in Virginia is available here.

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