Chesterfield County Public Schools will return to virtual learning next week

Updated: Nov. 25, 2020 at 4:37 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield County Public Schools announced the school district will return to all-virtual learning starting on Nov. 30.

Only students in Cohort 1 (Level 2 special education students) will be allowed to return to school for in-person instruction.

The return to an all-virtual learning environment is due to public health data reflecting a worsening pandemic locally. The virtual learning will last at least through the end of the first semester, which is Jan. 29.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) released data on Wednesday showing the county had exceeded the seven-day rolling average of 25 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, which is 26.5 as of Nov. 25.

Chesterfield County Schools said previously said that if the district reaches 25 cases per 100,000, all students except “Cohort 1” will go back to virtual learning.

This metric is based on the Harvard Global Health Institute’s findings; the institute says anything over 25 warrants stay at home orders.

Not everyone agrees with the decision; Alden Eldredge has two daughters in the school system.

“We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in our daughters’ performance once they got back to return to in-person learning, just from an engagement perspective and a comprehension perspective,” he said.

But as for Emma Clark, a teacher at Falling Creek Middle School, she thinks students shouldn’t have come back to in-person learning at all. Earlier this month, she refused to return to the classroom.

“Staff didn’t feel safe and didn’t feel prepared,” she said, “I think virtual learning will never be as good as in-person learning, but virtual learning is better than hybrid to pull of during a pandemic.”

Chesterfield County Public Schools have been tracking data and preparing for a potential return to an all-virtual learning environment.

Things to know:

  • If your child attends elementary school, click here to learn more about the adjusted Monday-Friday virtual schedule.
  • If your child attends middle or high school, click here to learn more about the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday virtual schedule as well as what students should expect on Wednesdays.
  • Free meals will continue to be available for all Chesterfield County youth ages 18 and younger.
  • Technology support will be set up at designated school sites for students and families. In the coming days, families should expect to hear more about the return to virtual learning from their school, including what to expect on Monday when school resumes in a virtual setting.

The School Board will hold a special-called work session at 3 p.m. on Monday in the Public Meeting Room to receive an update on the current situation.

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