Virginia students struggling academically amid the pandemic, according to new data

Virginia’s Department of Education is exploring year-round school amid new data reportedly showing children are navigating challenges academically more so than before the pandemic.

FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis reports more students in Virginia are struggling amid distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Remote learning increases failing grades by 83 percent in Fairfax County, study finds

Right now, school district leaders are meeting to discuss how to move forward with in-person learning. A revised timeline would have some students starting back as soon as February 16.

The sad headline from this new study — the youngest students are fairing the worst as distance learning drags on.

This comes as new data from the Commonwealth’s Department of Education shows students struggling academically statewide.

In a new survey of more than 100 school districts in Virginia, 40 ranked students as failing due to remote learning.

The digital divide and lack of reliable internet access is still also a major concern.

As we’ve reported in Fairfax County and many school districts statewide, many middle and high school students are failing two or more classes. That number has reportedly grown by more than 30 percent compared to this time last year.

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The Virginia Department of Education says this past fall, nearly 17.9 percent of kindergarten students and 18.3 percent of first-graders tested below standard.

This fall, that number jumped to more than 2 -percent of kindergarteners and nearly 30 percent for first-graders.

Absenteeism has also grown exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic. A reported 50 percent higher compared to this time last year.

FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis reports kindergarten and first graders are most at risk of falling behind.

As far as a return to in-person classes in Fairfax County, a vote by the school board could come on Thursday.