Alexandria City High School students return to virtual learning following senior stabbing death

All four Alexandria City High School (ACHS) campuses will operate on a modified return from Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 3, according to a notice sent to the school community. 

Peter Balas, ACHS' executive principal, said that during the modified return, the school will focus on social, emotional, and academic learning to help fulfill critical in-person graduation requirements and provide students with the social-emotional support they need. 

Most students will participate in asynchronous virtual learning, however, the school is allowing those in need of in-person social-emotional support to go to their campus in person any day this week.

READ MORE: 18-year-old student dead after fight leads to stabbing in Alexandria: police

The changes arrive nearly a week after a student was stabbed to death in an off-campus after-school fight in a shopping center on King Street and the Texas elementary school mass shooting is still fresh in students' minds. 

"The past week has been unlike any other in my career," Balas wrote in the letter to parents. "Our Titan community has suffered two very personal losses while also reeling from the impact of the national school tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. My heart goes out to all Titan students, staff and families as we traverse this incredibly painful time together. This year has been far from normal. And, it is important that we do not try to normalize it. We must band together to support each other now, next week, and into the future."

ACHS staff are expected to work from their classrooms to provide asynchronous instruction, proctor exams, and be available to any student who needs in-person social-emotional support or socialization.

The school is requiring all seniors who need to take a test or work with staff to complete any coursework prior to graduation to report to school in person.

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Athletic competitions are being moved to away fields or will be played on non-ACHS fields within the City of Alexandria. 

"As I shared last Friday, we have put in place additional safety and security measures, which will continue to be implemented as part of the modified return," the letter reads. "I would also like to update you on a reported threat to the Minnie Howard Campus. After further investigation by the Alexandria Police Department (APD), this threat was deemed not credible. I truly thank and appreciate our students, staff, families, and community for reporting this potential threat so that it could be fully investigated."

Parents shared their concerns about school safety with FOX 5 last week after a stabbing at the Bradlee Center shopping center that left an ACHS senior Luis Mejia Hernandez dead on Tuesday. 

Hernandez was set to graduate in June.