Chesterfield County Public Schools closed to students Friday to prepare for potential coronavirus impacts

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — All schools in Chesterfield County will be closed Friday to allow staff members to clean and prepare for a potential long-term closure due to coronavirus.

Below is a letter that Tim Bullis, Executive Director, Communications and Community Engagement for Chesterfield County Public Schools, sent to teachers Thursday morning:

Team Chesterfield staff members,

COVID-19 has created a rapidly evolving environment where changes are being made quickly in the interest of public health. Just within the last 24 hours, the World Health Organization has declared an international pandemic; travel from parts of the world to the U.S. has been extremely restricted; Virginia colleges and universities have adjusted student schedules; and states across the country are curtailing events with large numbers of people attending.

While many are focused on individual positive test results, we are just as concerned about potential exposure, the subsequent 14 days of self-quarantine that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the instructional time potentially lost in such a case. Our schools need time to proactively prepare lessons should it become necessary to close schools for an extended period of time.

Chesterfield County Public Schools will be closed to students on Friday, March 13, while staff members clean and proactively prepare instructional plans in the event of a long-term closure. ALL STAFF MEMBERS are expected to report on Friday to take part in pandemic preparations in their school/department.

Understanding that we also still are in the midst of flu season, the Facilities and Transportation teams will use this day to conduct additional cleaning of school buildings and buses in anticipation of being open for students on Monday. Instructionally, this will be used as a teacher workday for staff members to proactively prepare instructional materials (online and offline, as age appropriate) in the event that a long-term closure is necessary in the future.

We realize that this will be an inconvenience for families, but trust that they will understand that this decision is made with the best interests of our students (and staff) in mind.

Tonight’s activities are on as scheduled. Secondary band assessments scheduled for Friday afternoon and Saturday will still occur. (Families whose students are unable to get to their home school to travel by bus to the assessment will be asked to notify their child’s school in advance; students will not receive a consequence for missing this.) All after-school activities scheduled for Friday will occur as scheduled after the teacher workday.

Tim Bullis
Executive Director, Communications and Community Engagement
Chesterfield County Public Schools

Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.

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