RICHMOND,Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools made the decision to close all schools this upcoming Monday after an overwhelming response from teachers who requested the day off so they could rally at the State Capitol.
Teachers who spoke with 8News on Tuesday said they felt supported by the school district when the news broke. It was a small victory for Milondra Coleman, a John Marshall High School teacher.
“This wasn’t sick leave, this was personal leave,” Coleman said. “You only have three days a year you get for urgent personal business.”
With requests piling up, there were not enough substitutes to cover the day, forcing RPS to close all schools. RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras sent a letter to staff supporting educational improvement.
“I see the struggle that our students face every day without having the resources we all need and also it’s a struggle for teachers financially,” Kamras’ letter said. “Teachers are working two or three jobs trying to make ends meet.”
Nearly two years after Virginia teachers made a parody video called “Won’t Fund You,” teachers are fighting the same fight in Richmond. RPS teachers have additional school supplies and improving school facilities at the top of their wish list.
“A number of Richmond schools are in poor shape,” Coleman told 8News. “You’re talking about the ceilings, you’re talking about rodents and there are insects inside schools.”
Educators all across Virginia are expected to join the rally on Monday. Coleman said she is more hopeful than she has been in previous years due to the newly Democratic-controlled General Assembly.
Monday’s day off will count on RPS’ calendar as an “unforeseen circumstance,” and students and staff won’t have to make up the day. Teachers will also get their personal day back.
Superintendent Kamras said he is aware that closing schools abruptly could create issues for parents, especially to those who need to find child care, and apologized for the inconvenience.
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