Colonial Heights Public Schools (CHPS) is one of the few school districts in Virginia that remained open during the last two years of the pandemic. Now they are setting a new precedent by shutting the entire district down for in-person learning for the remainder of this week due to the high number of Covid-19 spread within the schools.
“All of our schools have experienced a significant number of positive COVID-19 cases amongst students, staff and teachers over the past week, but especially in the last few days,” Superintendent Dr. William D. Sroufe said. “There are currently many students who have COVID-19 symptoms who have been quarantined or isolated due to exposure. These positive cases and the large number of exposures have caused us to close several classrooms recently.”
The district will be shifting to virtual learning through the remainder of this week ahead of a three-day weekend. CHPS officials said Tuesday that they have an extremely high number of students, staff, and teachers that are positive. Staff absences include critical personnel such as nurses, bus drivers, food service workers, teachers, SROs, office personnel, school counselors, and administrators.
Tuesday’s decision comes as Colonial Heights is reporting a significant increase in new cases of coronavirus and a positivity rate that has peaked at 42.6 percent — the highest weekly positivity rate the city has reported since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020. Central Virginia currently has a 31.4% weekly positivity rate.
Current Colonial Heights Public School rates include:
- Lakeview Elementary: 21 positive cases, 87 students absent, 9 staff absent
- North Elementary: 8 positive cases, 51 students absent, 4 staff absent
- Tussing Elementary: 18 positive cases, 105 students absent, 7 staff absent
- Colonial Heights Middle School: 26 positive cases, 135 students absent, 10 staff absent
- Colonial Heights High School: 33 positive cases, 174 students absent, 22 staff absent
“Moving the school to virtual learning will allow us to decrease the spread and potential exposure for students, staff, and families and provide us with time to implement deep cleaning across all school spaces while still affording students the ability to engage in learning,” Dr. Sroufe stated. If possible, school staff are encouraged to work from home.
Students in grades K-12 will be provided with daily live instruction and use Canvas to access other learning materials. These live sessions will be recorded and uploaded to Canvas to be viewed at a later time for students who do not have Internet access. Grade level teachers will communicate a daily schedule including times for live instruction and question-answer sessions. If your CHPS student attends an outlying school, they will adhere to the outlying school schedule.
CHPS will provide four-day meal bundles to families on Wednesday, January 12th from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm at Colonial Heights Middle School bus loop. Sports are canceled for these three virtual learning days. As a reminder, Monday will be a student and staff holiday.
“Over the next few days, we encourage everyone to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms do arise, it is recommended that you isolate and consult with your local health care provider for additional guidance,” Dr. Sroufe shared. “As a division, CHPS understands the incredible challenges a school closure creates for families. This decision has been made with safety first and with a great deal of thought and care for everyone in the Colonial Heights community. CHPS will continue to communicate with faculty, staff and families over the next few days to provide additional information and updates.”
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