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Henrico Superintendent to recommend virtual start to the school year

Posted at 12:14 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 18:29:54-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico County School Superintendent Amy Cashwell announced Monday she planned to recommend a 100 percent virtual start to the 2020 school year. She will make that recommendation at Thursday’s School Board meeting.

"This recommendation, which goes to our School Board for a vote on Thursday, aligns with our Board’s desire to prioritize health and safety, and is the result of an intense examination of all angles and approaches while monitoring current health conditions in our region," she said. "As heartbreaking as it would be to not see all our students in person on September 8, it is clear to me that this is the most prudent recommendation at this time, based on evolving health information."

Cashwell will recommend students learn from hone for at least the first nine weeks of the 2020 school year.

"As Virginia moved to 'Phase 3' and the number of community cases seemed to be falling, the prospects looked promising for bringing our students back for some form of in-person instruction. However, recent health data raises significant concerns about whether the mitigation strategies provide the level of health and safety assurances that HCPS families and employees need to bring students back for in-person learning," she wrote in an email to parents. "While this recommendation may ease many minds, it also comes with questions about what 'fully virtual' learning will look like. Fully virtual learning would not resemble the 'emergency learning' that was implemented back in March and April. Our plan calls for a strong, structured, and graded experience that is newly designed and developmentally appropriate."

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Richmond City Schools announced a similar decision earlier this month, but committed to virtual learning through the entire fall semester.

The Chesterfield County School Board is scheduled to vote on the issue tonight.

This is a developing story.