Richmond private school plans to reopen with face-to-face instruction next month

Local private school plans to reopen with face-to-face instruction next month

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - While most major public school systems in the greater Richmond area have announced plans for virtual instruction for fall 2020, area private schools are looking to open their doors for face-to-face instruction with students in the next several weeks, with Grove Avenue Christian School announcing plans to see students by August.

“What we have to be as a school is nimble and so we are offering a remote option for parents who want it, but we have an overwhelming in-person demand,” said Grove’s Head of Schools Dr. Julia LLoyd. “We just completed our phase three plan, it’s the final draft is with our attorney. When it comes back, we submit to Virginia Council for Private Education and the local health department and provide a copy to parents that would be this week with a targeted reopening of August 19.”

Lloyd says Grove’s plan, if approved, would strictly adhere to phase three reopening guidelines from Governor Ralph Northam and the CDC, which recommends in-person instruction for all students, with physical distancing measures in place, options for remote learning exceptions and teleworking for students and staff who are at a higher risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC and a multi-faceted instructional approach for mitigation strategies.

Lloyd said in addition class sizes, preschool students will be capped at 10, kindergarten class size at 14, with the remaining 1st through 12th grades with no more than 20 students per class. Preschool students will also be kept on the lower level, while K-5th grades and 6th-12th will bee kept on the middle and upper levels of the school respectively. Classes would also be separated into individual cohorts to prevent different class populations from mixing.

Lloyd adds that portions of Grove Baptist Church could also be used to help students spread out.

“If parents wanted to do the remote options for a period of time or to the level at which they feel comfortable. We want to partner with them,” Lloyd said.

Grove has been communicating with a network of other private schools across the nation to ensure reopening goes smoothly, and other local private schools may not be far behind.

In a statement, the Benedictine School of Richmond said it will open its doors for face-to-face instruction on Tuesday, Sept. 8 to launch the school year, unless otherwise directed by government regulations. Adding that by August, all families and employees will receive clear information on how they can work together to create a school campus that welcomes our students but rejects the virus.

The Collegiate School also announced that it plans to reopen with face-to-face instruction saying it looks forward to reopening and providing academic opportunities in the fall of 2020 and will have a heightened focus on the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and will be sharing more details of their thorough reopening plan.

“We’re able to network with one another, share best practices, share mitigation plans and really make each other stronger,” said Lloyd. “We want to do in-person teaching because we believe it’s better for them spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.”

Grove says they’ve seen the largest spike in enrollment in nearly five years since they announced their plans to reopen.

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