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Richmond Public Schools Superintendent promises no layoffs as classes move online

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Posted at 11:25 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 10:09:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- No Richmond Public School employees will be furloughed or laid-off when classes resume online, according to Superintendent Jason Kamras.

Kamras moderated the Color of Covid: Racial Disparities in the Pandemic webinar on Tuesday night.

“We know from the data that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting Black communities and Latinx communities,” he said during the discussion that was posted on the Richmond City Health District Facebook page.

Following the webinar, Kamras told CBS 6 that there will be no furloughs nor layoffs as a result of moving instruction online.

“Everybody has a role to play,” he explained.

School bus drivers will transport meals to students’ neighborhoods that cafeteria workers will prepare in the schools, Kamras said.

“Custodians, obviously, won't be cleaning up after lots and lots of kids every day. But, there are lots of light maintenance projects that we typically don't get to,” he stated.

Na-Keisha White, Coordinator of Health Services at RPS, said nurses will also work on providing case management and continuity of care for families.

“My expectation with COVID is that we are going to see some gaps in the student's care. We’ve already learned vaccinations are down across the country due to COVID,” White said. “If we have to bring the immunization nurses to the parents and to the families that’s what our plans will entail.”

Sherrell Thompson, a Certified Community Health Worker at the Gilpin Court Resource Center, acknowledged the challenges that online instruction presents to parents. Her teenage daughter will attend a Richmond high school in the Fall.

“My daughter is of age to be home alone, but at the same time, I want to make sure that she's doing what she's supposed to do,” Thompson said.

Kamras said educators will build in key pieces into a student’s schedule for social and emotional development of care.

“I think we can all agree that in-person instruction is always going to be superior to remote instruction,” he stated. “Of course, our number one priority is the health and safety of everyone at RPS.”

Fully virtual learning begins in Richmond on September 8th.