HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — As COVID-19 cases in Virginia continue to surge, schools are left rethinking how students will transition back into the classroom.
Henrico County Public Schools Superintendent Amy Cashwell sent a letter to families Monday, announcing that in-person learning, which was set to begin phasing students in on Nov. 30, will be delayed until January.
In the letter, Cashwell said she and the health committee are concerned about the spike in COVID-19 numbers.
Richmond and Henrico Health Director Dr. Danny Avula, a health committee member, says, “schools are in a really challenging place.”
Dr. Avula said the data is steadily increasing, however, he thinks schools should give families the option of in-person instruction.
“The data from the people who have been in school in-person over the last few months, here in Virginia and nationally, shows that schools aren’t really driving community transmission. Much of what’s happening in schools is a reflection of what’s happening in communities,” Dr. Avula said.
Avula adds that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon and schools should start thinking about how they can adjust to the virus.
“Teachers and faculty are going to have to get used to doing new things like screening themselves for symptoms every day,” he said.
Yael Levin-Sheldon has a sixth-grade student and an eighth-grade student in Henrico County Public Schools. She also hosts a learning pod of four to five additional students in her home.
Levin-Sheldon said virtual learning has been rough.
“I think they’re [teachers] really trying really hard, but I just don’t think it’s an effective way to learn to most students,” Levin-Sheldon said.
She was disappointed to hear about the school system’s delay of in-person learning.
“I would like to see what I’ve advocated for all along, a choice for teachers and a choice for parents,” Levin-Sheldon said. “What worries me is Henrico has always been a leader in education and innovation.”
In Chesterfield County, where in-person learning is underway, school officials sent a notice to families, warning that schools could close if cases continue to rise.
In Richmond, the school district is asking families for online feedback to help make a decision about the second semester.