CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield school students will not be returning to the classroom come fall.
The Chesterfield County School Board approved a virtual start to the 2020-21 school year following a 4-1 vote. 8News reported that Chesterfield schools Superintendent Merv Daugherty told teachers in an email Monday that the district had planned to recommend starting the upcoming school year online and developing a phased-in approach to its reopening plan.
8News’ Sierra Fox reports that Chesterfield County Public Schools will continue to reevaluate its reopening plan as new data comes in. There is no specific timeline on how long virtual learning will last.
The vote comes after a group of Chesterfield parents and teachers gathered ahead of Monday’s school board meeting to share their views on the county’s reopening plan.
Chesterfield Schools polled county residents from June 18 to July 12 about their thoughts on how the district should move forward with the start of school year that is quickly approaching.
Results from the poll revealed that 82 percent of parents/guardians would send their children to school in the fall if school were to resume full time in a face-to-face setting. Eighteen percent of parents/guardians said that they would not send their kids to school in those circumstances.
The instructional schedule that most parents who answered the survey preferred is rotating days where students attend three days one week and two days the next week. In this scenario, 50 percent of students would report to school each day.
More than 13,000 responses were received, representing more than 22,000 students.
As for Monday night’s school board meeting, members said more than 1,000 comments were registered. During the public comment portion of the meeting, 26 people spoke, all with differing opinions. Most, however, were in favor of in-person learning.
A retired Chesterfield schools teachers told the board, “younger students especially, learn structure, social skills that they cannot learn virtually. A lot of students have suffered emotionally, psychologically, and even physically by not being in school. We don’t seem to consider those issues.”