CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County Schools said it plans to recommend that all elementary school students return to the classroom 5 days a week starting February 1.
School leaders plan to make the recommendation during a school board meeting this evening.
Superintendent Dr. Merv Daughtery penned an extensive letter to families on Monday, outlining the reasoning behind the recommendation. He claims the school system has been deliberate about the safety of its 60,000 students and 7,500 staff members, and says leaders now understand the virus more.
“Ten months into the virus, we believe we are at a point where the recommendations have been thoroughly vetted and proven as time-tested through successful implementation elsewhere, and that it is appropriate to return Chesterfield County Public Schools students safely back into classrooms for in-person instruction five days a week,” Daughtery wrote.
“While case count numbers and positivity rates are higher now than when Chesterfield County Public Schools returned to an all-virtual environment in November, an understanding of the COVID-19 virus has continued to evolve.”
In November, all Chesterfield County students were pulled from classrooms after the 7 day average of new cases per 100,000 people hit the 25 mark. Currently, that number stands at 45.9; however, Daughtery says medical experts continue to cite “successful mitigation strategies in school settings.”
Parents who are not comfortable sending their child back to the classroom have the option to remain virtual. However, that decision is binding and must be made by Jan. 19.
As for middle and high schoolers, they will begin the third marking period virtually. School leaders will revisit the data in February after more information is available about the coronavirus vaccine.
The school board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be watched here.
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