Chesterfield School Board approves virtual start to school year

Chesterfield School Board votes for virtual learning

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Monday night, the Chesterfield County School Board approved a virtual start for the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vote was 4-1 in favor of the virtual start. This comes after Superintendent Mervin Daugherty recommended the virtual learning earlier Monday. While the Chesterfield Education Association supported the virtual option, some parents spoke out at the meeting saying they should have the choice to return their students to the classroom.

“I took two CCPS online courses. Both were the hardest courses I’ve ever taken. I’m usually an honors student but based on the online setting combined with my ADHD, it was a disaster,” an unidentified student told the board.

“I was trained and purposed for this job and have had a serious void in my life and my heart without my students. I miss hearing my name, engaging in secret handshakes, and the energy that radiates from a student that’s engaged and has mastered a concept,” a teacher shared.

Chesterfield Schools said it issued a survey asking parents if they would send their kids to school in the fall if the district were to open, with 82 percent saying yes and 18 percent saying no. More than 13,000 responded.

A student addressed the board saying due to mental health concerns and a learning disability, she could not adequately learn if in-person instruction did not resume.

“You are making a public health decision,” a school employee said to the board, adding if they decide to resume in-person instruction, “you don’t value my life.”

The school district was deciding between these six proposed options that are in conjunction with Phase 3 opening.

  • Option 1 - All students report to school, five days a week
  • Option 2 - Students report to school every other day (cohorts of 50% of students)
  • Option 3 - Students report to school every other day Tuesday through Thursday; Monday used as teacher work day and cleaning day
  • Option 4 - Half of students report on Tuesday & Wednesday; Half of students report on Thursday & Friday; Monday used as teacher work day and cleaning day
  • Option 4 “B” - Half of students report on Monday & Tuesday; Half of students report on Thursday & Friday; Wednesday used as teacher work day and cleaning day
  • Option 5 - One quarter of the students report to school one day a week
  • APPROVED: Option 6 - Virtual learning for all students

Superintendent Mervin Daughtery says he wants to see a panel developed to study Coronavirus data and recommend guidelines on re-opening safely.

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