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Colonial Heights schools switch to virtual due to COVID cases

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 11, 2022

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- The Colonial Heights school system will switch from in-person to virtual learning for the remainder of the week, Superintendent Dr. William Sroufe confirmed Tuesday.

Sroufe said he could no longer faithfully operate the system with the amount of COVID going through the school division.

He said well over 100 students and nearly three dozen staff were out after testing positive with COVID and that no section of the school system was spared.

Colonial Heights educates nearly 2,900 students over three elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and a technical center.

Dr. Alexander Samuel, with the Chesterfield Health District, said he has been in contact with school systems across his health district as the issue is not contained to Colonial Heights.

After speaking with Colonial Heights school leaders, they decided going virtual was best for that school district.

Sroufe said almost one in four students have been absent from school since the end of Winter Break.

The school system plans to distribute meals at the middle school bus loop between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The school system will re-evaluate the COVID situation before deciding whether to return to in-person learning or remain virtual once school resumes following the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

Sroufe said they built a test run into their schedule before winter break and hoped that they wouldn't have to use it.

However, last week, some classes only had four students in attendance, forcing teachers to pull double-duty to teach in person and virtually while many of them are sick as well.

"You're not stuck at home. You're safe at home. And I think in the next six days, I'd like to see some people, you know, quarantine and really help us get this under control. I have to always think, you know, my teachers and my staff, my bus drivers, my cafeteria workers, my maintenance workers, my custodians, all my leadership. Because it takes the all of us working as a team," Sroufe said.

He said he understands this transition to virtual learning isn't easy for the families of his students but with a 40% positivity rate, they simply have to do what's in the best interest of the community.

Meal distribution will be available at Colonial Heights Middle School on Wednesday between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for families who need it. The meals will cover four days.

Colonial Heights is the only school system in Central Virginia this month to switch to virtual learning.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.