RPS school leaders vote to stay completely virtual for second semester

Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 11:21 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - School leaders at Richmond Public Schools (RPS) voted to stay completely virtual for the second semester Monday night.

Superintendent Jason Kamras said the decision wasn’t easy.

“This is one of the most heartbreaking recommendations I’ve ever made for you and likely will make,” he said.

But it comes down to numbers, and Kamras previously cited growing cases in the area in his recommendation to stay fully virtual.

“We are now in the worst period of the pandemic since it started,” said Kamras. “Just today, Richmond announced we have reached a new high.”

Kamras says 80 percent of school staff and 63 percent of families told the district they’d rather keep learning virtual. And most of the board agreed.

The decision came with only one dissenting vote; board member Johnathan Young recommended giving teachers the choice to return to the classroom in a few months so that students with special needs can learn in person. No one backed him up, so his proposal didn’t come up for a vote.

Karmas says if there was a hybrid of in-person and virtual instruction, there’d be a big problem: getting kids to school.

“As you know we use our bus fleet to deliver food every morning,” he said. “If we were to come back in person even in part, we would not be able to provide transportation for those children to come to school.”

New school leaders will be coming in soon and the board agreed that the new board will have to make some decisions on what the next school year would look like. The Superintendent also said bold options may need to be put on the table, such as the possibility of year-round school.

Rewatch the full board meeting here:

Superintendent Kamras will discuss the decision more in-depth on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on the district’s Facebook page.

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