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Virginia Community College System launches distance learning platform

In addition to connecting students with high-quality and affordable remote-learning courses, the site connects current and prospective students with advisors, known as College Navigators, streamlining the application and course enrollment process.

RVAHub Staff

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Building on more than 25 years of experience in higher-education distance learning, Virginia’s Community Colleges have announced the launch of CollegeAnywhereVA.org, an online portal enabling Virginians to find online courses that best meet their needs. In addition to connecting students with high-quality and affordable remote-learning courses, the site also connects current and prospective students with advisors, known as College Navigators, streamlining the application and course enrollment process.

“Virginia’s students are facing unprecedented circumstances that affect every aspect of their lives, including higher education,” said Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “There’s no national consensus on when life will return to ‘normal,’ and a recent national study of high school seniors found that one in six students who intended to enroll full-time at a four-year institution are reconsidering their plans. Our goal with CollegeAnywhereVA is to ensure that those students, and any prospective student in Virginia, know they can find the right course or online program through their community college.”

CollegeAnywhereVA provides a transparent view into the 10,000+ online courses offered throughout Virginia’s 23 community colleges. Depending on student goals, these courses could:

  • count toward an associate degree or certificate program at the local community college;
  • count toward a degree or certificate program at another institution; or
  • include valuable workforce training programs that prepare students for career credentials.

Virginia’s Community Colleges have guaranteed transfer agreements with dozens of private and public institutions across the commonwealth. Tuition and fees at Virginia’s Community Colleges are roughly one-third the comparable costs at four-year universities.

“Our students, especially our high school seniors, have lost so many experiences over the last couple months – no proms, no yearbook exchange, no graduation ceremonies. We owe it to them to provide them the virtual door to their next educational step,” said Dubois.

For prospective students interested in enrolling in an online, remote learning program, visit CollegeAnywhereVA.org.

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Current Proposed Plans for the Richmond Public School Year

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Richmond like every city in the nation is in the midst of weighing their options for the fast-approaching school year. School Superintendent Jason Kamras released a statement on Friday that took a look at how the school board sees the current situation and five plans for going forward. There is more information and plenty of charts and graphs on the RPS website.

Current Situation

  • Central Virginia continues to see declining “percent positivity” – that is, the percent of tests that come back positive – while still testing at a very high rate.
  • The infection rate for children is quite low, as is their risk of serious illness when infected.
  • The risk of child-to-child transmission, especially in young people 10-years-old and younger, appears to be quite low.
  • Similarly, the risk of child-to-adult transmission appears to be quite low.
  • The risk of adult-to-adult transmission is much more significant.

 Proposed Plans

Plan A

  • A fully virtual option PLUS
  • A hybrid option that includes 2 days of in-person instruction and 3 days of virtual instruction each week PLUS
  • 5 days of in-person instruction each week for students with greater academic needs (e.g., certain students with IEPs and certain English Learners)

Plan B

  • A fully virtual option PLUS
  • A fully in-person option

Plan C (Broken down by grade)

  • Only a fully virtual option for middle school and secondary students
  • Only a fully virtual option for high schoolers

Plan D

  • Fully virtual, except for students with the most academic needs

Plan E

  • Fully virtual for everyone

No staff member will be required to work in person no matter what a virtual option will be offered.

Residents are encouraged to send comments to [email protected] for a school board meeting on Tuesday or to email the superintendent directly at [email protected].

Also on Friday, both the Chesterfield and Richmond Education Associations released statements in favor of returning with 100% virtual instruction rather than putting students in the classroom “should be a non-controversial position on returning to school during a global pandemic.”

The REA statement points out that the reliance on schools to provide daycare, meals, healthcare for children so that workers can get back to work is an indictment on the economic disparity that grips our nation. Additionally, the lack of funding support for teachers and school infrastructure does not put them in a position to achieve success.

Full letter below.

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Downtown

Library of Virginia reopens to researchers by advance appointment beginning today

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm.

RVAHub Staff

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The Library of Virginia has announced that its reading rooms will reopen to researchers by advance appointment beginning at 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm. To make an appointment, please call 804.692.3800.

COVID-19, which prompted the Library’s closing to the public in mid-March, continues to pose a serious public health risk. The Library’s reopening plan includes new health and safety protocols based on the latest guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What to expect when returning to the Library:

  • Appointments required to use the reading rooms in order to ensure space availability on a researcher’s preferred date
  • Signage describing coronavirus symptoms – Please do not enter the building if you feel unwell or have a fever
  • Face coverings required in the building at all times
  • Physical distancing of six feet required in all public spaces
  • Face masks and hand sanitizer available for the public
  • Frequent cleaning of restrooms and surfaces in public areas throughout the day
  • Returned books quarantined for three days before being available for use again
  • The Exhibition Gallery, the Virginia Shop, our conference rooms, and the reading room at the State Records Center will remain closed

For additional information about what to expect on your visit, take a look at the COVID-19 Update: Guidelines for Researchers, page, which will be updated regularly.

For more on how to use the collections, click here.

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Education

U of R professor mails science-themed kits to incoming STEM students

When biology professor Shannon Jones realized the global pandemic would prevent her from bringing students to campus this summer for the University of Richmond’s signature URISE program experience, she figured out a way to send science to them.

RVAHub Staff

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When biology professor Shannon Jones realized the global pandemic would prevent her from bringing students to campus this summer for the University of Richmond’s signature URISE program experience, she figured out a way to send science to them.

From beakers and pipettes to summer reading material, Jones, longtime coordinator of the URISE program, put together 24 kits containing everything a young scientist might need to begin exploring their fields of study.

URISE, which stands for the University of Richmond Integrated Science Experience and is a part of UR’s Integrated Inclusive Science Program, is a pre-first-year program that focuses on skill development, provides authentic research experiences, and builds a community of support for selected students ahead of starting classes in the fall.

The program received the 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine and has been modeled after at other institutions of higher learning.

“These students are from all around the world and many represent backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields,” said Jones. “Our summer program is so important in beginning to introduce them to our science programs, the lab, each other, and their faculty, and we wanted to figure out a way to still have an enriching experience.”

Jones and additional science faculty are also hosting virtual sessions with the incoming first-year students out of their labs, and their efforts have paid off.

URISE student Daisy Brooks said, “The program has been an amazing opportunity with lots of great people. Even though there are some obvious barriers, such as not being able to collaborate in person, I think completing the sessions virtually has been a great way to get to know new people — building connections with other students and faculty before arriving on campus and making it less daunting.”

Incoming student Christopher Torres echoed those sentiments. “At the beginning when we were introduced to the tools in the kit I thought that it was a great idea because I could participate in the activities from home, and they were also very informative and a way to tie the lesson together at the end of the day,” said Torres. “It was also a great way to conduct experiments at home similar to the ones we learned in the sessions.”

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