CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield parents rallied outside the county Government Center Tuesday evening, demanding for the choice to get students back in the classroom.
“That’s all I want. Teachers want to have a choice," parent Carolyn Ferraro said. "Let's put the teachers that want to be virtual with the kids that want to be virtual.”
Ferraro is a Chesterfield County parent who helped organize the event just hours before a school board meeting.
"Do what you teach and put a little extra effort into opening schools and it will be safe to open schools," a rising Chesterfield County middle school student said.
A handful of people spoke during the school board meeting Tuesday, including one student who wants the option to return to the classroom in person.
"There is no other motivation or political objective. We want students back in school as soon as it is safe to bring them back," Chesterfield School Board Chair Debbie Bailey said.
The board voted last month for 100 percent virtual learning for the first nine weeks of school.
School leaders announced Tuesday night that the county is partnering with the YMCA to provide child care to students while they learn virtually.
"In our discussions with the Board of Supervisors, we've requested that only a few high school areas will be be used such as auditoriums and cafeterias," Bailey said.
The YMCA said in a press release that money from the CARES Act will be used to reduce the cost of the weekly service and that financial assistance will be available for families who need it.
"This arrangement is simply an attempt by the Board of Supervisors and the county school system to address the need that families have, help some families with affordable child care options and make use of buildings while the schools are closed due to COVID," Bailey said.
The YMCA will offer drop off beginning at 7 a.m. with pick up at 6 p.m. for children entering kindergarten through 8th grade. The program will allow for staff to monitor students while they learn virtually but they will not be learning from YMCA staff.
For registration, program details, and more information on eligibility for essential personnel click here.