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His child is marked absent every day of school: 'It is frustrating'

Posted at 4:42 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 16:42:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond parent said his child has not gone to school yet this year because there is no room in virtual learning and the delta variant is a threat to his family.

"We were kind of told our only option was to put them in homeschool," Gary Llama said. "Homeschooling isn't really an option for me or my partner."

Llama is vaccinated but said he lives with an autoimmune disorder.

His condition, coupled with concern for his child's health and safety, convinced the Llamas to keep their child home from school.

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"Me and my partner have definitely had conversations about what if we have to go before a judge and explain why our kid is not in school," he said. "I think our intentions are within the spirit of the law. But, you know, technically, it is illegal. So it is frustrating."

Llama was told there would likely be openings in Richmond Schools' virtual learning programs, but since it is done by a lottery system, nothing is guaranteed.

In the meantime, Llama's 3rd grader has been marked absent every day since the school year begin.

"For the last week or two we've just been hoping that something opens up," Llama said.

Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras called the issue a significant concern.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it," he said. "I don't have a perfect solution for it. It's certainly something the district is working on."