The Coronavirus already made a splash when schools nationwide were forced to close down their buildings (but not their lessons). It turns out that this pandemic will wreak havoc with school summer programs as well. At a livestreamed meeting of Westmoreland County’s School Board, Deputy Superintendent Cathy Rice went over the details of what changes the summer programs would experience.
Camp Lucy, an environmental study camp which also involved Longwood University, was among the ones on the chopping block this summer. According to Rice, “it was not an easy decision to make, but one that had to be done” because the decision to cancel the 2020 run of Camp Lucy was due to being unable to know if they would be able to safely convene groups of students at the time.
Furthermore, Longwood University students are a key part of the program, as they serve as camp counselors, and they were unavailable due to the virus.
“So, for safety and logistical reasons,” Rice finished, “we had to cancel Camp Lucy, but we should come back strong in 2021.”
Next summer program to be cut was Mathematica, the math program for migrant education students. Rice stated that many were disappointed by the decision to cancel the program, but understood the reasoning behind it. Much like Camp Lucy, the cancellation was due to “too many unknowns.”
The Eight Awesome Days of August program was canceled as well, but for entirely different reasons, namely the school’s new calendar that takes effect on the start of the next school year.
At the time of the April meeting, Northern Neck Regional Governor’s School was still up in the air. A one-week program for students from 4th to 7th grade, it takes place in the last week of July.
“It’s not yet been canceled,” Rice explained, “but it’s under consideration due to the same concerns as the other previous programs. However, that’s a five-division decision, not one we can make by ourselves.”
At the time of the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry was consulting with the other four superintendents, and once a decision was reached, they will communicate it back to the School Board.
Programs involving project-based learning training also have been effected, with the training instead moving to an online course, as the travel of the instructors had been severely restricted.
It remains to be seen how this will all unfold for the next school year, as more about the virus is revealed.