RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced during a press briefing on Friday that schools need to offer in-person learning opportunities no later than March 15. For some local school districts the new deadline will have little to no impact while others will have to make drastic changes to their semester plans.
For instance, Hanover County families have been given the option to send students back in-person since the start of the school year.
Henrico County Public Schools has been virtual throughout the pandemic but has plans to bring students back in-person over the next month or so. Starting Feb. 22 pre-k through second grade students will return part-time, on March 1 students in third through fifth grade, sixth and ninth graders will return in-person part time and on March 8 the remainder of secondary students will return.
Districts where school leadership was anticipating remaining virtual for the time being will have bigger decisions to make. Richmond Public Schools released a statement following Northam’s announcement explaining that they don’t know exactly what it means for the district yet. Superintendent Jason Kamras says they are still receiving and processing the details. RPS plans to follow up with families sometime next week.
Other school districts, such as Chesterfield County Public Schools have welcomed back certain grade levels for in-person learning but not all. Chesterfield elementary school students returned to school buildings at the beginning of the week. However, middle and high school students were not set to return in-person yet. The school board is set to discuss plans for middle and high schools on Feb. 9.
In a similar situation, Hopewell City Public Schools was planning to bring students back in-person in February but decided to push the date back to March. Students from Pre-k to 3rd grade as well some other groups are able to return on March 1 and other students would return sometime in the following weeks.