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First day of school for Fredericksburg students is Monday, here's what to know

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 8/8/2022 Joy Wang
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Monday is the first day of school for Fredericksburg City Public Schools. While parents are getting their students ready to head back into the classroom, the staff has been working hard to make sure kids have a healthy and safe school year.

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The superintendent and deputy superintendent spoke with 7News about what to expect. They've been working all summer to address teacher shortages, learning loss, and updating security.

"We went to work and went to our city officials and all and our school board, and we were able to raise teachers' pay from the 6.5% increase to 10% increase," said  Superintendent Dr. Marceline Catlett. "Some of our teachers stayed, and some came back. And we were then able to really beef up a lot of our benefits in terms of encouraging staff to stay with us.

Catlett says right now the district is about 95% staffed. One major focus this year is working on supporting the social and emotional needs of students and staff. There's a social worker at each of the schools, and the district just added a full time therapist.

SEE ALSO | Back-to-school bash at DC library offering free supplies, haircuts & vaccines to students

A handful of student support specialists were hired to specifically deal with learning loss. COVID protocols will adapt based on state guidance. The biggest difference is only quarantining after testing positive. The district has also partnered with Virginia Virtual for students looking to stay virtual this year.

Another concern is security. Before there was only one SRO based out of the high school. This year they've added a second SRO for the middle school and two part-time SROs for the elementary school.

"The sheriff's department is going to step up and they're going to be much more visible in the mornings during drop off pickup," said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matthew Eberhardt. "So we're pretty excited about that. We held two safety summits this summer with first responders, law enforcement, everyone going through a crisis plan, making sure that we've got everything in place. Everyone is agreeing to what needs to be done and we've enhanced a lot of things."

SEE ALSO | Extra security, other changes expected at Alexandria City Public Schools this year

Free breakfast and lunch will still be available to all students. The mobile food trucks will continue during the school year as well.

There are even plans to add a learning bus that will go into neighborhoods and provide more teaching material.

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