Everything you need to know to start the year off right

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – While some students are already back in the classroom, other schools in Central Virginia are gearing up to return for another year of learning.

To help you prepare for the 2022-23 school year, NBC12 will offer two special offers for parents and educators on our website and streaming services.

You can watch “Building a Better RVA: A Conversation with Teachers” at 3 p.m. Tuesday where we’ll cover topics like school safety and what it’s like to teach during the pandemic.

At 3 p.m. Thursday, we’ll have a “Back to School” special that will focus on bus safety, school supply costs, teaching vacancies and more.

As students prepare for the 2022-23 school year, here’s everything you need to know to start the year off right.

Start dates

Several schools have already returned to school, including the city of Hopewell and Louisa, Amelia and Caroline counties.

Metro Richmond schools will begin returning August 22, including Chesterfield, and August 29 for Petersburg, Henrico and Richmond. Hannover schools will start the school year after Labor Day on September 6.

For a full list of start dates, click here.

When students return to school, be sure to send us photos from your first day of school below.

School supply costs

According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-aged children spent an average of more than $840 on school supplies last year.

Virginia Credit Union financial coach Cherry Dale said sticking to specific items on the list would help cut costs. She also urged parents to contact the school if they run out of supplies.

If you need help getting supplies for your child, try contacting your local school district or a community organization, such as United Way or the Boys & Girls Club of America.

To learn more about spending tips, click here.

School tips for elementary students

As a new school year approaches – or, for some, ongoing – a local doctor reminds parents that every year is a fresh start. NBC12’s Sarah Bloom has some tips and tricks to help prepare your elementary student for school.

As a new school year approaches – or, for some, ongoing – a local doctor reminds parents that every year is a fresh start.

Vacant jobs

Many school divisions in central Virginia, and indeed across the country, have struggled to fill hundreds of teaching positions.

“We’re seeing trends here in Henrico that are being felt nationally with the teacher shortage,” said Amy Cashwell, Henrico County Public Schools Superintendent. “It’s something that’s been on our radar for about a decade now, knowing that teacher preparation programs are producing fewer graduates who are less interested in this field.”

As major school divisions in Central Virginia look to fill teaching vacancies, others are opening their schools with full rosters of staff.

To facilitate recruitment, many divisions have begun offering enrollment incentives for teachers, bus drivers, food service employees and janitors.

While school divisions in Central Virginia seek to fill these positions, other school divisions are fully staffed. This includes Louisa County, which has already returned to the classroom, and Goochland County, which will resume learning on August 22.

school safety

School safety is on the minds of all parents and teachers at the start of the year. NBC12’s Mikea Turner spoke with a group of teachers in central Virginia about how they prepare for a shooting or other situations that put anyone’s safety at risk.

A Chesterfield teacher said decorating her classroom had always been the norm, but since an elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where she decided to organize classroom equipment, it’s somewhat new.

“My classroom is designed for security situations,” said Manchester High School teacher Kelley Perrotte, who began thinking outside the box following shootings at schools like Uvalde, Texas. “I taught in classrooms without windows; I have taught in classrooms with windows, so where you are in a building determines the conversation you have with your students. »

Perrotte said teachers there are also teaching with the door closed and locked as part of a new protocol.

Rasheeda Ogburn was a special education teacher at Richmond County Middle School during the 2021-2022 school year and says locating students during school hours is also a priority.

“We’ve even changed the way kids go to the bathroom,” said Ogburn, who explained some of the school’s new protocols to ensure students are accommodated. “You have to log in or out on a computer, so the admin knows who’s in the hallway and who’s not just in case something happens.”

Watch the video below to learn more about how teachers are responding to school safety.

In part one of this week’s special edition of Building a Better RVA, a group of local teachers discuss school safety with our own Mikea Turner.

Teaching in times of pandemic

The past two years of a pandemic have challenged us in ways we never could have imagined. Teachers, students and communities have felt the discomfort of moving from in-person learning to virtual teaching.

During pandemic shutdowns, teachers said they needed to learn quickly. The confusion, at times, was abundant.

“No one knew how to teach virtually, so we had to learn,” said Rasheeda Ogburn, a teacher at Richmond County Middle School, who said prepping felt like a 24/7 job. times when my family wanted to hang out with me, but I couldn’t because I had to figure this stuff out.”

Hakeem Stephens, a math teacher at George Wythe Secondary School, has seen the effect on students firsthand. At George Wythe High, some students have greater needs such as Internet access at home.

“A lot of our kids live house to house, they may be homeless or their situation may not be the best,” Stephens said, deep in thought. “Students were emailing me at midnight apologizing for missing class, but (saying) ‘I just couldn’t make it today, the connection was down. “”

When students returned to the classroom for in-person learning, some teachers noticed difficulty in their ability to readapt to routine.

“When they got to school, they had to relearn what it was like to be a student,” said Ogburn, who says some students got used to logging out of their computers when they were virtual. and now find it difficult to stay focused.

For many schools, this will be the first full year of in-person learning since the pandemic began. Data from the National Institute of Educational Sciences indicates that students are returning to class with heightened feelings of stress and anxiety because of the pandemic.

Public schools across the country are also reporting an increase in behavior issues since students resumed in-person learning. The data ranged from physical fights to disrespect from teachers and shows that outbursts and delays have increased the most since the pandemic.

School guidelines COVID-19

In July, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced updated COVID-19 quarantine guidelines for asymptomatic exposures in schools, daycares and camps.

“These revised guidelines emphasize that quarantine is no longer routinely recommended after exposure to people infected with COVID-19 in daycares, K-12 schools and camps,” a statement read.

Earlier this year, people were encouraged to weigh their own risks and figure out what precautions to take for themselves and their families.

To learn more about the governor’s updated guidelines, click here.

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