Chesterfield families face decisions over students returning to school or remaining virtual

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The fourth cohort of Chesterfield County students will return to class starting on Monday. Chesterfield parents are still torn over whether it is safe enough to send their kids back and if virtual learning is working better for their student — or if it is time for their child to return to class.

The returning cohort comprised of middle and high school students will begin hybrid instruction in two separate groups sorted by last name. Students with names in the first half of the alphabet (A-K) will attend school in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays — and the second group (L-Z) will meet on Thursdays and Fridays.

All students will attend school virtually on Wednesdays.

If they prefer to stick with full-time virtual schooling, families can choose to not opt-in to the hybrid return.

Mary Beth Splisgardt’s daughter is a junior at Matoaca High School and says she is doing better in school since going fully virtual.

She says that they are fortunate enough to have been able to work from home during the pandemic and be there for their daughter throughout this year, and she understands that not all families get that kind of luxury.

But Splisgardt and her husband have different views on if their daughter should return to in-person learning — and they are working together to decide what is the best decision for their family.

“We are somewhat at opposite perspectives and he wants her back in school full-time,” Splisgardt said. “My husband just feels like it is a little bit too much free time and he feels like they’re really not getting the lessons that they need to be getting the lessons from the teachers. That most of the students are working on their own.”

However, they ended up making the decision to let their daughter return to the classroom.

“I think her biggest challenge this week with going back is the hybrid schedule as it relates to her tech center. Because then she’s got that extra challenge in there of catching the bus and getting on multiple buses and I think that’s giving her a little bit of anxiety,” Splisgardt said.

And she says she understands both sides of the debate.

“I’m trying to keep looking at it with an open mind,” Splisgardt said. “It is good for her in that she is learning to balance her schedule where she’s taking advantage of her AEP class to get her school work done and her lessons done.”

Students starting face-to-face learning will be required to wear face coverings on school buses and in class.

Chesterfield County Public Schools have reported 79 cases of COVID-19 since teachers were allowed back in the building on August 31. The latest case being reported as of Sunday.

All coronavirus information for CCPS can be found on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.

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