HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County’s school board voted 4-1 Thursday night to allow the return of in-person instruction in phased groups, beginning Monday, Nov. 30.
A fully virtual option for students in pre-K through 12th grade remains.
The full phased approach for student’s return to the classroom is as followed:
- Monday, Nov. 30: Grades pre-K, K, 1 and 2 would have the option to return to in-person learning four days a week.
- Monday, Dec. 7: Grades 3, 4 and 5 would have the option to return to in-person learning four days a week.
- Jan. 4-8: One week of virtual learning for ALL students (including pre-K through grade 5) during the week after Winter Break.
- Monday, Feb. 1 (start of second semester): Grades 6 and 9 would have the option to return to in-person learning four days a week.
- Thursday, Feb. 4: Grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 would have the option to return to in-person learning four days a week.
The decision phase in students by grade level comes after Henrico schools surveyed families and staff members for input on students’ return to the classroom.
Over 50% of families said that they wanted their children to continue online learning. More than 70% of teachers said they were willing to return to the classroom for in-person instruction.
On Thursday, for nearly two hours, the school board listened to input from parents, students and teachers.
“We know that students will refuse to clean their spaces, that they will take their masks off, share food, touch each other, and inhale & exhale into the air,” said one Henrico County Schools staff member who wants classes to remain virtual. “They’re kids. They do what kids do.”
Middle schooler Leo Sheldon is in favor of a return to the classroom because his grades are dropping.
“I find virtual learning very frustrating and stressful and too many hours in front of the screen,” Sheldon said.
One teacher said the choice on student’s return comes down to equity.
“We understand that asking Black and Hispanic brothers and sisters to return to face to face instruction in the midst of a pandemic – that is twice as likely to kill them – as their white peers – is simply inhumane.”
Click here for a full recap from the district’s superintendent Amy Cashwell.