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Chesterfield schools closed Friday as staff prepares for potential coronavirus impacts

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Posted at 10:47 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 11:09:24-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Chesterfield County Public Schools will close to students Friday as the school system prepares for the possibility of a loss of instruction time due the spread of the coronavirus.

"We realize that this will be an inconvenience for families, but trust that you understand that this decision is made with the best interests of our students (and staff) in mind," school officials said in a message to Chesterfield families. "Such action is aligned with federal and state recommendations regarding cleaning and developing instructional plans in the event of a long-term closure."

"Understanding that we still also are in the midst of flu season, the Facilities and Transportation teams will use this day to conduct additional cleaning of school buildings and buses in anticipation of being open for students on Monday,” the message continued. "Instructionally, this will be used as a teacher workday for staff members to proactively prepare instructional materials (online and offline, as age appropriate) in the event that schools are closed for an extended period of time."

While students won't have class Friday, all after-school will occur as scheduled after the teacher workday.

Click here for the full message to families.

Colonial Heights Public Schools announced a similar decision Wednesday, making Monday, March 16 a student holiday so teachers can prepare for the possibility of online classes.

The closure also comes after Chesterfield school officials sent a letter out to school staff urging them not to call out sick Friday in protest after the proposed salary scale for teachers was not funded in the proposed 2021 budget.

CBS 6 obtained the letter that read in part:

“I am concerned, though, about reports that staff members are planning to take a sick day on Friday in protest of local funding levels and recent suggestions about ways educators can supplement their income.

While you may be upset, we respectfully ask that Team Chesterfield staff members do not create consequences for our students in the form of lost instructional time, lack of access of food, etc. Not reporting to work on Friday would disrupt our students’ learning opportunities and our families’ lives as well.”

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.