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Henrico Schools push back in-person learning 2 weeks due to rising COVID cases

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 18:36:49-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico County Schools announced Tuesday it would delay the return of elementary school students to in-person learning two weeks due to the post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases.

Students in Pre-K through second grade had been scheduled to return to in-person learning on Monday. Now, students in grades pre-K through fifth, whose families chose to return in-person, would begin on Monday, January 25.

Middle and high school students were not scheduled to go back to in-person learning until February at the earliest.

That date has not changed.

"Evolving guidance from health experts plus our own experience and increased implementation of safety measures give us improved confidence that schools can be safe with the right risk-mitigation in place," Superintendent Amy Cashwell wrote in an email to parents. "From the start, we have maintained not only our commitment to serving our students, but to keeping an eye toward prioritizing the health and safety of our staff, students, and community. Moving forward will be no different. As mentioned earlier, an important element of our approach moving forward will be continued monitoring of health and safety conditions at each school and being responsive at the individual school level."

Chesterfield County Public School students are scheduled to remain in virtual learning through the end of the month.

Richmond Public School made the decision to keep students virtual for the rest of the 2020-21 school year.

Here's a look at Henrico's updated plan:

Pre-K and elementary schools

  • Friday, Jan. 22, 2021: A new half-day for students in grades pre-K through 5 only. (This will take the place of the student half-day scheduled for Jan. 29.)
  • Monday, Jan. 25: Return to in-person learning for ALL students in grades pre-K through 5 whose families chose this option (the return dates had previously been either Jan. 11 or Jan. 14). Starting on Jan. 25, students in grades pre-K through 5 who will be returning to school in-person will do so on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays except when there are school/student holidays. Virtual learning with currently assigned teacher(s) and the current daily schedule will continue through Friday, Jan. 22.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 27: Virtual learning day for all pre-K through grade 5 students (this will be the first “Wellness Wednesday” for pre-K through grade 5 students). As a reminder, beginning on Jan. 27 for pre-K through 5 students, all Wednesdays for the remainder of the school year will be known as “Wellness Wednesdays” and be characterized by:
    • Additional deep cleaning of schools.
    • Two hours of teacher-led virtual learning (elementary schools).
    • Additional independent student learning time.
    • Academic and social/emotional support.
    • Teacher planning and professional learning time.
  • Friday, Jan. 29: A full instructional day for students in grades pre-K through 5. (This was previously a student half-day.)

Middle and high schools

  • Monday, Jan. 25, 2021: Secondary integrated services students whose families opted for in-person learning will return (these students had previously been slated to return on Jan. 14.)
  • Thursday, Jan. 28, and Friday, Jan. 29: Asynchronous (independent learning) days for middle and high school students (teacher planning/preparation days). The new independent learning day on Jan. 29 will replace a previously scheduled student half-day.
  • Monday, Feb. 1 (start of the second semester): Return to in-person learning for students in grades 6 and 9 whose families chose this option (this date is unchanged). Starting on Feb. 1, students in grades 6 and 9 who will be returning to school in person will do so on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays except when there are school/student holidays. Virtual learning with currently assigned teacher(s) and current daily schedule will continue for grades 6 and 9 through Friday, Jan. 29.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3: Virtual learning day for all students (this will be the first “Wellness Wednesday” for middle and high school students). As a reminder, beginning on Feb. 3 for middle and high school students, all Wednesdays for the remainder of the school year will be known as “Wellness Wednesdays” and be characterized by:
    • Additional deep cleaning of schools.
    • Additional independent student learning time.
    • Academic and social/emotional support.
    • Teacher planning and professional learning time.
  • Thursday, Feb. 4: Return to in-person learning for students in grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 whose families chose this option (this date is unchanged). Starting on Feb. 4, students in grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 who will be returning to school in person will do so on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays except when there are school/student holidays. Virtual learning will continue for grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 through Wednesday, Feb. 3.
  • Thursday, Feb. 4: HCPS will begin participation in the Virginia High School League schedule for Fall sports. More information will be communicated through each school.