Richmond Public Schools to propose decision-making process for reopening schools

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RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras at a city briefing on Sepetmber 23, 2020.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Public School Board says they will make a decision about reopening schools for the second semester before winter break.

In order to make a decision about whether to reopen in-person or remain virtual, the school board will do the following:

  • Gather input from families and staff through a survey and other engagements
  • Review the latest information from the Richmond City Health District and the Virginia Department of Health
  • Assess the readiness of school facilities

According to school board documents for Monday night’s meeting, RPS plans to distribute a survey next week to all families and staff. Results will be shared at the November 16 School Board meeting.

The survey will ask about comfort with/preference for:

  • Remaining virtual for the second semester
  • Implementing a hybrid model (2 days in person, 3 days virtual – this would be required to implement physical distancing, as class sizes would need to be halved)

RPS will also receive consultation from the Richmond City Health District. The school system plans to focus on data for Black and Latino/Hispanic communities which make up 90 percent of the RPS population.

School readiness depends on the five CDC mitigation strategies, making sure bathrooms are fully functional, filtration systems, and transportation in regards to physical distancing and food distribution.

Proposed Timeline

  • November 2 – Board Meeting (review decision-making process and adjust per Board feedback)
  • November 9 – Staff and Family Survey (launch)
  • November 16 – Board Meeting (review initial data)
  • November 18 – RPS Live! (focused on reopening decision)
  • November 19 – RPS en Vivo (focused on reopening decision)
  • Throughout November – Community Walks (focused on gathering feedback about reopening decision)
  • December 7 – Board Meeting (review final data and vote)

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras will present the plan at Monday night’s school board meeting. Watch the meeting on the RPS Facebook page.

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