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Governor Northam visits Salem High School to thank and encourage school community

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 5:44 PM EST
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - Governor Northam stopped by Salem High School Thursday as part of his in-person learning tour throughout Virginia. He made a point to hear about all the technical programs Salem has to offer.

Northam said he wanted to take Thursday to thank the entire school community for getting through this year during the pandemic. He said he is especially impressed with Salem and how the high school has found a way to safely allow students inside the classrooms part-time.

“Just to encourage our superintendents, encourage our principals, school board members, local officials, that this really is the safest place,” Northam said.

He started his Thursday at a school in Charlottesville and ended his morning at Salem High School.

“Salem has done a great job, they’ve been ahead of the curve, having their children back in part-time learning in the classroom, so I really commend them here,” Northam said.

Students have been going to Salem High School two days a week since the school year began and, starting March 22, students will be allowed to go four days a week.

“We worked hard this year to be safe, mask-wearing, our students have done a great job wearing masks and keeping their distance,” Scott Habeeb, principal of Salem High School, said.

On the tour, Governor Northam saw all the career and technical education classes at Salem.

“Cosmetology, we went into the culinary arts department, and auto mechanics, and the point is we really want our students to have exposure to these different career opportunities in high school, and if they get out of high school and have skill, they can go back into the workforce,” he said.

Northam said more than 1.3 million Virginians have applied for unemployment, so Virginia needs to continue to work on training and re-training people.

“The sky is the limit, so the opportunities that places like here at Salem High School are providing for students is just very, very commendable,” he said.

Habeeb added, “It’s an honor to have the governor come and recognize that hard work that our teachers and our students have been doing. We have a great faculty and a great community, so it was very exciting he got to be a part of that.”

Northam issued a plan for all Virginia districts to hold in-person learning by March 15. He’s also encouraging districts to look at adding extra school days this summer. But Northam said the ultimate goal is to have all students back in the classroom full-time by the fall.

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