NewsLocal News

Actions

RPS announces 5-point plan to limit spread of COVID amid variant concerns

Richmond Public Schools
Posted at 3:51 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 15:56:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Public Schools shared their plans for the return for the spring semester amid the spread of the omicron variant.

On Thursday, Virginia hit a new record for daily cases reported. The Commonwealth reported 13,500 new cases of coronavirus after hitting another record high of over 12,100 on Wednesday.

RPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Kamras shared on Thursday that the school district will open fully in-person on January 3. He noted that the school district will do everything in its power to remain open for in-person instruction for the rest of the year.

Doing so is critical for our students' academic progress and for their social/emotional health. In addition, our schools have proven to be the safest places in Richmond when it comes to COVID transmission. We should all be very proud of that.

Kamras urged those in the school community to get vaccinated as soon as possible if they have not already been vaccinated.

RPS, the Virginia Department of Health and Richmond have worked together to come up with a five-point program to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

  1. Re-entry testing: RPS will be holding test distribution events on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Cardinal Elementary School, Broad Rock Elementary School, Henderson Middle School and MLK Middle School. Tests will not be performed at these sites. Instead, rapid tests will be given out to those in attendance. RPS was able to secure 8,000 tests for the events. In order for RPS staff members to get a test, they will have to show their RPS ID. Families will need to provide their children's name, school and date are birth. As testing supplies are limited, RPS is urging those to only use these events if they have no other way to get tested.
  2. Test-to-stay program: In order to keep schools open and keep students in class, people will need to quarantine. if they are exposed to COVID. However, RPS notes that quarantine periods will result in lost instructional time. In the test-to-stay program, close contacts will test each night and if they test negative, they will be permitted at school the next day. Kamras noted that this approach was recommended by the CDC.
  3. Weekly staff testing: All unvaccinated staff members will be tested on a weekly basis. RPS said they intend to explore a possibility that would allow a portion of vaccinated staff members to be tested as well.
  4. KN95 masks/air filters: RPS has purchased a quarter-million KN95 masks for staff members and high school and middle school students. Due to scarcity, masks were unable to be ordered for elementary school children but Kamras reassured that there will still be high-quality masks available for younger students. RPS is also in the process of replacing all the filters in their HEPA air scrubbers.
  5. Vaccination events: 15 vaccination events at schools have been scheduled during January and February. These events are in addition to the daily clinic at the Arthur Ashe Center.

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