Hopewell schools may start up again in July — and that’s stressing parents out

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Many parents are getting ready to say hello to summer and goodbye to their role as a teacher, but it will be a quick turnaround for parents in Hopewell this year.

With school historically starting back up in September, parents have time to prepare for the new year. However, Hopewell is starting its new “balanced calendar” at the end of July — and in the middle of a pandemic.

It hasn’t been an easy pill to swallow for some parents who have had to become teachers at home.

“Keeping up with everything is just so hard,” said Ashley Jarrett, mother of three. “My son learns math completely different from when I was in school.”

And as this school year comes to a close, the new “balanced calendar” is set to begin just a few weeks later.

“We don’t have those summer months like we used to,” Jarrett said.

She said taking care of required physicals, immunizations and dental visits before then isn’t easy during the COVID-19 outbreak. And it’s stressing her out.

“We don’t have those summer months like we used to,” Jarrett said. “Physicals are already hard enough to get for children, it’s a waiting line. You have to call, you have to wait a month in advance.”

Jarrett said it’s causing her to miss key registration deadlines as well.

“The response I was met with was, I’m sorry I don’t know, we are taking it into consideration but I honestly don’t know what to tell you,” she said.

The educator in charge of the transition to year-round school is Byron Davis.

“We’re putting a lot of work, energy and thought into making the best decisions for our children,” Davis said.

He said nothing regarding the new year is set in stone.

“We are looking at a variety of options,” Davis said.

The plan is currently set to start in July, but he said that could change.

“We need to look at other things such as delaying the balanced calendar for the following year or not,” Davis said.

On Wednesday, 8News questioned a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Education on the issue. The spokesperson, Charles Pyle, told 8News that they haven’t yet given guidance to districts facing these tough decisions. Pyle didn’t say when that guidance would come out.

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