2021 Back to School Guide: What Hampton Roads families need to know


“Back-to-School” used to indicate a return to a routine, but not in the age of a pandemic. 

With COVID-19 cases rising, local public-school districts were forced once again to re-examine their plans for the new school year.  

Virginia COVID-19 Metrics | North Carolina COVID-19 Metrics

State law in Virginia requires all public schools to offer in-person instruction to students during the 2021-2022 school year “in accordance with recommended CDC mitigation strategies.”

Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is available to adults and children 12 years and older, so many elementary age children are not eligible.

To help keep returning students and staff safe, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide mask mandate for all schools (public and private) on August 12. This applies to teachers, students and other staff, regardless of their vaccination status. 

This decision was in direct response to school boards that refused to issue mandates, including a couple in our region. 

10 On Your Side has compiled the following information and resources for school districts in the WAVY viewing area. ** Some school systems are still finalizing plans and this post will be updated as things change. 

Traditionally, the school year in Hampton Roads, Virginia has begun the day after Labor Day, but following legislation passed in 2019, that is no longer the case for all public school districts this year. The start dates are listed below.

Another change this school year impacts school vaccine requirements. This legislation was effective beginning July 1, 2021, and amends the minimum vaccination requirements for attendance at public elementary, middle, or secondary schools. Click here for information. 


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