Area schools eyeing Omicron, most have no plans to go back virtual

Thursday marked the second day in a row that there were some 6,000 new Covid cases, largely due...
Thursday marked the second day in a row that there were some 6,000 new Covid cases, largely due to the contagious Omicron variant.(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 10:56 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 24, 2021 at 6:03 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As Covid-19 continues to climb, most area school districts say virtual learning will not be an option when students return from the holidays.

Thursday marked the second day in a row that there were some 6,000 new Covid cases, largely due to the contagious Omicron variant. That’s an increase that never happened last year. School districts across the area are watching the numbers. The majority say they want to keep students in the classroom.

“Prior to adjourning for Christmas break, we did see an increase,” said Jonathan Young, Vice-Chair of the Richmond School Board.

He sides with the Superintendent who posted this to Twitter: “We are not going to close schools again. Our students need us to stay open - perhaps now more than ever before.”

One parent chimed in: “Happy to see him so confident! Can we add monetary incentives for teens to get vaccinated?”

“Schools were not, have not been responsible for community spread…School is the safest place you can be during the pandemic,” Young said.

He points to social distancing measures, air filtration units in classrooms, and more staff and students getting vaccinated.

“I think it’s best you keep your kids at home,” said parent Lisa Shabazz. She decided to home school her daughters. “You never know whose telling the truth {about} whose been vaccinated, whose not been vaccinated.”

Petersburg Schools and Hanover Schools told NBC12 they currently have no discussions about moving to virtual learning because of the spike in cases.

“We were the only school division in Virginia to remain open all of last school year for in-person instruction five days a week. That remains our plan again this year,” said Chris Whitely, Assistant Superintendent in Hanover.

“Always keep them open. Social interaction is always best for children,” another parent told NBC12.

RPS says it will soon unveil even more measures the school will take to address Omicron. NBC12 learned that may include on-site testing for students and staff.

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