Students gear up to turn the tassel, despite COVID-19

Graduation rates remain high
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:35 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Even though COVID-19 has presented many complications, graduation rates in central Virginia are remaining high.

“2021... a tough year for schools in general as we worked our way through the pandemic and transitioning from virtual to in person instruction,” Albemarle County Schools Spokesperson Phil Giaramita said.

Giaramita says Albemarle County’s graduation rates are strong because of student endurance.

“High school students are a little bit more familiar with learning by computer, so even though we were virtual for a good part of the year last year I think high school students adapted to that a little more easily than students and other grade levels,” he said.

Buckingham County schools ran into some roadblocks with virtual learning.

“We have a huge, huge WiFi challenge,” Patti Branch with Buckingham County Public Schools said.

The county provided hotspots for students during virtual learning, but they still faced connectivity challenges.

Branch says BCPS still maintained a high rate of graduates, and believes having students return to in-class learning will lead to more success.

“It’s tough for everyone, especially with the infrastructure here and trying to do things virtual. We were virtual until March of last year, so we did see a slight dip, but we were still stayed at right at the 90% level,” Branch said. “We were pretty proud of that.”

Louisa County Public Schools says it has a 92.7% graduation rate, a 1% drop since 2020.

Meanwhile, Charlottesville City Schools reports 96.4% of its students walked across the stage.

ACPS has a graduation rate of 91%, and the district says it hopes to keep up this trend.

“The highest academic honor you can have graduated with in Virginia’s advanced studies diploma, and we had nearly two-out-of-three students earning that diploma,” Giaramita said.

He also credits teachers for tailoring lesson plans to help individual students. Nine-out-of-ten students in Albemarle Co. are meeting the college-ready benchmark.

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