Cosmetology instructors learn welding. Carpentry teachers explore cybersecurity. Administrators make 3D digital avatars. At Massanutten Technical Center, teachers are sharing their knowledge with each other through the new Explore More program, where they can take each other’s classes.
Preschoolers through 2nd grade students — as well as 6th graders — could be back in classrooms as soon as March 22, as the Harrisonburg School Board voted unanimously in Tuesday’s meeting to approve a revised reopening plan.
Midway through the pandemic-marred 2020-21 school year, the Harrisonburg City Public Schools’ leaders are again looking to adjust by establishing outdoor classrooms on school campuses and seeking to bring roughly 975 more students back into schools and away from online learning.
Harrisonburg City Public Schools are fine-tuning virtual learning, but officials are also laying the groundwork to bring more students — particularly the youngest ones — back into school buildings, perhaps next semester.
The city of Harrisonburg expects to take a hit of about $6 million in the next fiscal year that begins July 1, mostly in lost revenue from local taxes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Harrisonburg City Council unanimously approved an amended budget that reduces spending for schools, public safety and public works.
In a public school setting where students vastly outnumber teachers, some children need more support than what the school’s personnel can provide. For more than a decade in Harrisonburg, this gap has been filled by government-supported in-school therapy, known as Therapeutic Day Treatment. Now that schools are closed for the remainder of the academic year, though, providers are scrambling to find ways to reach the students who need them.