Back to Learning: Students to learn online, in-person following winter break

Back to Learning: Students to learn online, in-person following winter break

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A vast majority of students in Central Virginia will continue to learn virtually for a period of time following the winter break.

Three of the four largest school systems in the region will primarily keep students online as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

As of Sunday, Virginia saw 5,010 new cases with a total number of 363,765 from the start of the pandemic; the current 7-day positivity rate sits at 15.3%.

Chesterfield County Public Schools returned to an all-virtual learning environment just after Thanksgiving when the number of new COVID-19 cases in the county reached more than 25 per 100,000 residents.

The all-virtual learning environment, with the exception of students in Cohort 1 (Level 2 special education students), will last through the end of the first semester (Jan. 29).

“Hopefully, they can come up with a plan,” said CCPS parent Alden Eldredge. “They’ve had enough time to go through the planning process, to put in place something that makes the teachers feel safe, makes the staff feel safe, and will allow the kids to return to school, in-person learning, to the greatest extent possible.”

Eldredge is anxiously awaiting information on when his children can return for in-person learning. However, he is concerned about the impact on students constantly moving between different learning formats.

“It’s challenging because they get in a routine and settled in on when [to] get up, when [to] leave,” he said. “It was hard enough when we did the two days a week at home, then one asynchronous and two days virtual.”

On Jan. 12, the Chesterfield County School board is scheduled to hold its monthly meeting. Board members are expected to decide what learning format will be offered during the third quarter.

Henrico County Public School students will remain learning virtually Jan. 4-8. This decision was made in October after school board members voiced concerns about students and staff being in the classroom after possibly traveling over the holidays.

At that time, the board voted to expand in-person learning opportunities; on Nov. 16, Superintendent Amy Cashwell delayed the start of in-person learning until Jan. 11, 2021, due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

However, Henrico teacher Kathy Woodard does not believe that will happen either.

“I think looking at where the numbers are right now, the numbers are so high, I do think the health committee will be choosing for us to continue virtually,” she said.

On Monday the HCPS Health Committee is scheduled to meet to review COVID-19 data across the region. The school system stated if any changes are made to the expanded in-person learning timeline, the HCPS family would be notified as soon as possible.

Reminder for Jan. 4-8, 2021: The HCPS Health Committee will meet on Monday, Jan. 4, to review the latest data related to...

Posted by Henrico County Public Schools on Saturday, January 2, 2021

“As soon as they can make the decision it will help everyone move forward with planning as effectively as possible, but I do understand that they’re trying to wait and get the most data as possible, most up to date,” Woodard said. “It’s just really important that we all stay positive with whatever decision is made.”

Meanwhile, Richmond students will not have that issue. In December, the school board voted to remain virtual for the second semester.

In Hanover County, students will return to optional in-person learning Monday, including Hanover High School which temporarily went online due to COVID-19 cases at the school.

“As we shared with you earlier, the increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases at HHS led to significant staffing issues that constrained our ability to continue offering face-to-face learning,” the Hanover County Public Schools website said. “Following the week of remote learning and Winter Break, those staffing limitations have been resolved, and we are able to resume face-to-face instruction.” Additionally, winter sports will begin on Monday.

AMELIA

All students will return to its current operating schedule on Jan. 4.

COLONIAL HEIGHTS

All students in Colonial Heights Public Schools will receive virtual instruction Jan. 4-8.

“The safety of our students, staff, and community is a top priority for Colonial Heights Public Schools,” the division posted on Facebook. “We continue to follow the guidelines and safety protocols outlined by the Chesterfield Virginia Department of Health.”

On Monday, Jan. 11, the division will return to its current operating schedule.

DINWIDDIE

All students will return to its current operating schedule on Jan. 4.

GOOCHLAND

All students will return to its current operating schedule on Jan. 4.

HOPEWELL

All students will return to its current operating schedule on Jan. 4. However, the school system does plan to bring students back to in-person learning starting in February, depend on the health data.

PETERSBURG

All students will continue to learn virtually through at least Feb. 2. The Petersburg School Board is expected to revisit the reopening of schools during a meeting on Jan. 6.

POWHATAN

All students will return to its current operating schedule on Jan. 4.

PRINCE GEORGE

All students will return to its current operating schedule on Jan. 4.

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