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Kamras: RPS teachers won't be able to virtually teach from classrooms

Posted at 11:32 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 16:55:26-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras announced Tuesday that Teachers will no longer be able to virtually teach from their classrooms.

In an update to parents and teachers, Kamras says he made the decision after feedback from dozens of RPS educators, including those on the Reopening Task Force.

Kamras says opening RPS buildings for virtual teaching in classrooms would undermine their commitment to "doing everything humanly possible" to protect the health and safety of RPS employees.

"It's quite possible that allowing in-classroom teaching would lead to several dozen adults being in a building at the same time," Kamras wrote. "This would increase the risk of transmission precisely at a time when everyone is making extraordinary sacrifices to lower it."

The superintendent says virtual teaching in school buildings would also require additional staff like custodians, nurses, and some administrators – to report physically as well.

"That would violate my commitment that no one would be forced to work in-person," Kamras added.

Lastly, Kamras said that using the buildings, even in this limited way, would significantly increase costs, due to health screenings, daily cleanings, and take other COVID-19 precautions.

He says the school system needs to direct as much money as possible toward creating the best virtual experience for RPS students.

"I recognize that some of you will be very disappointed with this decision. I respect that, but humbly ask for your understanding and grace," said Kamras. "Please also know that we're working hard to ensure you have the tools you need to successfully teach from home."

Each teacher will receive training to help with the transition and a virtual teaching kit, which will include things like a document camera to help facilitate virtual instruction.

Kamras says the school system will set up times for teachers to retrieve items from their classroom at various points during the year so they don't have to bring every last resource home at one time.

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