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Richmond School Board votes to remain fully virtual second semester

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Posted at 11:40 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 21:26:50-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond School Board has voted to remain fully virtual during the second semester at Monday night's meeting.

More details on their decision to remain virtual will be available in our 11 p.m. newscast.

Last week, Richmond School Superintendent Jason Kamras announced he would recommend that schools remain fully virtual for the second semester.

The recommendation comes after approximately 63% of Richmond Public School families indicated a desire to remain virtual, according to a recent survey. As of Thursday, December 3, 80% of staff also indicated a desire to remain virtual.

The superintendent also said recent health data related to COVID-19 was another reason for his recommendation. Last week, Richmond hit its highest peak for weekly COVID-19 cases.

"Though the latest research tells us that the risk of within-school transmission is quite low, it isn’t zero. And were infections to occur in our schools, severe consequences are much more likely, given our family and staff demographics," Kamras wrote in a message to families last week.

Kamras noted that recent news about vaccines is encouraging, however, it's not likely that the general public will have access to them until late spring or early summer.

Richmond School Board member Jonathan Young said he would introduce a plan at Monday's meeting that would allow for some students to return to Richmond classrooms.

"[My] proposal prioritizes the wishes of any teacher/staff along with families to stay virtual for the balance of the academic year. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of our stakeholders indicated in our survey a preference to stay virtual because of the incessant threats relevant to this awful pandemic. In the survey, a minority though a significant percentage of stakeholders nonetheless indicated a preference for some kind of in-person learning even if limited," he wrote about his plan which would allow to opt-in to teaching in-person starting March 1.

Young admitted his plan was complex and would cause "additional disruption."

The virtual School Board meeting is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m.