King’s Fork Middle to shift to virtual learning

Published 6:38 pm Friday, January 14, 2022

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King’s Fork Middle School will shift to virtual learning for the week of Jan. 17-21, becoming the fourth school to move online as COVID-19 has caused outbreaks, increased percentages of staff to go on quarantine and class closures.

The announcement came Friday in a letter to families, and it follows an announcement earlier this week to shift Kilby Shores, Mack Benn Jr. and Southwestern elementary schools to virtual learning next week.

“The number of students and staff in quarantine is affecting the school’s operational effectiveness,” Suffolk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon said, “and we are concerned about not having enough staff to supervise the building adequately.”

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Gordon had cautioned earlier in the week, and at the Jan. 13 School Board meeting, that more schools could reach the threshold to shift to virtual learning, and said he and the division emphasizes with families and students.

“We understand that a sudden transition to virtual learning can be frustrating, as you have a quick turnaround time to prepare plans,” Gordon said. “We have all been there before. Know that we hear you. We are asking for your patience and understanding as we make these necessary decisions that impact the health and safety of our students and staff.”

More than 1,000 SPS students and “an overwhelming number of staff” are in quarantine due to COVID-19, Gordon said earlier this week.

As a result of the shift to virtual, middle school students will not be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities.

Like the letter earlier this week, the latest letter to King’s Fork Middle families outlines procedures for virtual learning, hotspot checkout, meal kit distribution and medication pick-up.

Gordon said in-person learning would resume at the four schools Jan. 24.