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Alexandria City High School offers virtual learning after student is stabbed to death during fight off campus

Police say Luis Mejia Hernandez, 18, was one of 30 to 50 people involved in a fight at Bradlee Shopping Center on King Street.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Editor's Note: The video above was published on May 25, 2022.

Many students at Alexandria City High School will attend classes virtually one week after a senior was stabbed to death during an off-campus fight. 

Police say Luis Mejia Hernandez, 18, was one of 30 to 50 people involved in the fight at Bradlee Shopping Center on King Street on May 24. Investigators believe Hernandez was stabbed during the fight. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries. 

Over the holiday weekend, school officials announced new security protocols that would be in place for the remainder of the school year. Students would need to show identification to be on campus and more security officers would be placed both inside and outside of the King Street and Minnie Howard campuses. 

RELATED: Alexandria City High School implements new security measure following student's death

On Monday, ACHS Principal Peter Balas announced that all four campuses of Alexandria City High School would return from the holiday weekend on a modified schedule.

"During this modified return, the school will focus on social, emotional and academic learning to help fulfill critical in-person graduation requirements and provide students with the social-emotional support they need," Balas wrote. 

Teachers and staff will work from their classrooms while some students will be required to attend classes in person. The students required to report in person during regular school hours include: 

  • Seniors who need to complete graduation requirements.
  • Seniors who must participate in graduation rehearsal (June 3).
  • Students who must fulfill SOL or other required testing.
  • Students in ACHS city-wide specialized instructional program.

Students will have the option to attend class in person if they feel they are in need of in-person social-emotional support or socialization. 

All other students will need to log into Canvas to complete any assignments or school work virtually. 

On top of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, Balas said, "This year has been far from normal. And, it is important that we do not try to normalize it. We must band together to support each other now."

Balas said the new protocols announced last week will continue for students showing up to school.

"It's necessary," said 14-year-old ACHS freshman Essey Tesfan. "It is what it is. It's a bummer but we have to live like that we have to be safe."

"I feel really, like, on guard all the time. It's like I don't feel safe," said 17-year-old ACHS senior Nicholas Cam. "It's definitely important that kids should feel safe here and I understand why they're doing it."

Suhil Elhajji graduated from ACHS last year but with a younger sibling in middle school, he believes if the new changes are making a difference early on, school officials could consider them in the long run.

"Maybe keep it for a little while until we eventually find out a bigger solution for these kinds of issues," Said Elhajji.

RELATED: 18-year-old ACHS senior stabbed to death in Alexandria shopping center, police say

WATCH NEXT: 18-year-old student stabbed to death in Alexandria shopping center, police say

According to police, the student was stabbed to death during a fight that involved around 30 to 50 people at the Bradlee Shopping Center.

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