Henrico Schools delays return to in-person learning due to rise in COVID-19 cases

Henrico Schools delays return to in-person learning due to rise in COVID-19 cases
The Henrico County School board approved the list of 72 people who will head up the two committees for the 2021 redistricting process. (Source: NBC12)

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases across the region, Henrico County Public Schools will be delaying the expansion of optional in-person learning for students.

In October, the school board voted 4-1 to expand in-person learning opportunities for Henrico students. There is still a fully virtual option for students as well.

On Nov. 30 more students in grades PreK through second grade were expected to return to in-person learning but will now be delayed until Jan. 11, 2021.

During an HCPS Health Committee meeting Monday, Superintendent Dr. Amy Cashwell said school leaders reviewed COVID-19 data showing a sharp increase in two of its three core metrics.

According to the committee, the number of new cases per 100,000 people over 14 days has risen to the highest risk level, while the percent positivity has also seen a sharp increase.

This is the chart the HCPS Health Committee uses to determine the risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in schools
This is the chart the HCPS Health Committee uses to determine the risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in schools (Source: HCPS)

“I regret the inconvenience and challenge this change in plans may pose to our families," Cashwell said in an email to families. “Given the information we have today about the spread of COVID-19 in central Virginia, I believe that this adjustment is the most prudent course to protect the health and safety of our staff, students and community.”

Cashwell released the following information regarding the adjusted timeline:

  • All limited in-person learning scheduled during the weeks of Nov. 30-Dec. 4 and Jan. 4-8 will be cancelled. This accounts for the weeks directly following Thanksgiving and Winter Break. All learning will occur virtually during these two weeks. The physical buildings (schools and offices) will be closed to the public during these times.
  • During the weeks of Dec. 7-11 and Dec. 14-18, limited in-person learning opportunities will resume as they normally would.
  • The return to in-person learning for students in grades PreK-2 who chose this option will be delayed until Jan. 11, 2021 (the return date had been November 30.) Virtual learning with currently assigned teacher(s) and current daily schedule will continue until the Jan. 11 date.
  • The return to in-person learning for students in grades 3-5 who chose this option will be delayed until Jan. 14, 2021 (the return date had been Dec. 7.) Virtual learning with currently assigned teacher(s) and current daily schedule will continue until the Jan. 14 date. (Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, is a virtual learning day for all students.)
  • The February (second semester) return dates for middle and high school in-person learning remain as planned.
  • Student intentions that were given earlier this month will remain in effect. Our schools will remain flexible, as space permits, when there are extenuating circumstances.
  • Child care services through HCPS partner organizations expect to remain open until at least the beginning of Winter Break.
  • As for winter sports and other extracurriculars, student-athletes can expect to hear more about changing timelines from their schools and coaches.

For more information, click here.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.