Chesterfield County Schools reports over 230 COVID-19 cases since return to classrooms

Coronavirus

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)–Chesterfield County Public Schools is reporting more than 230 COVID-19 cases just one week after students returned for in-person classes.

Both students and staff make up the over 230 cases reported as of Thursday. Chesterfield Schools posts information about COVID-19 cases on their website and says that “Data from the previous day will be updated by 10 a.m. the following morning when contact tracing has been completed.”

With the second week of in-person classes coming to an end, some parents are concerned with what the rest of the school year may bring. Denisha Potts, a community human rights advocate and a member of the Virginia State Conference NAACP Education Committee, said she is worried about the upcoming holiday.

“I’m afraid that this will spill over into our community which we’ve seen that before,” she said. “We are approaching Labor Day.

James Lane, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said statewide data shows a majority of school-related cases are coming from community transmission.

“Certainly, we would like to see less cases in schools,” he said.

With the seven new cases reported Thursday in CCPS at the time of this report, Potts said hundreds of families are considering virtual learning.

“Let’s implement a temporary closure until we get certain equipment, concise plans, and proper guidance to our families,” she said. “Right now they need answers and they do not feel as though they are given a guidance in order to protect their children.”

The Chesterfield Health District said in a statement they’re working closely with the school district to make sure hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing continue. They also advise parents to not send sick children to school. Lane added that quarantine is another way to keep students safe.

However, Potts said the district should be more proactive.

“We need to bring the number of cases down. I don’t think you wait until it becomes disastrous before you react,” she said.

If a student misses school because of COVID-19, Lane says they have asynchronous or synchronous learning methods for students and teachers.

“It’s going to take a lot of strategies and hopefully we’ll be passed this pandemic soon and hopefully we’ll have a vaccine for students 5-12 soon,” he said. “Ultimately that’s what it’s going to take to eliminate quarantines and some of the issues we’re seeing.”

More than 200 students are on each waitlist for the district’s Virtual Learning Academy (k-8th grade) and CCPS Online (9-12th grade.)

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