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Richmond schools not optimistic about reopening deadline

Posted at 9:12 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 13:05:26-05

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - School leaders in Richmond say they're not optimistic that they can meet the Virginia governor's request to open schools to students by March 15.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that officials said at a Tuesday school board meeting that buildings aren’t cleaned or safe enough for COVID-19 prevention.

School officials also said that too few teachers and staff have been vaccinated. And they're concerned about how they'll continue to use busses to bring food to students and to bring students to school.

“I have significant concerns about reopening,” Superintendent Jason Kamras told the board. “It is literally not possible to do the air-quality enhancements that we would like to do by March 15.”

But the administration is considering allowing a small number of “vulnerable” learners, such as students with special needs, to return.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat and a doctor, called for students to at least have the option of returning. He cited the pandemic's steep emotional and academic toll on students and families.