VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - When 13-year-old Parker Sancilio heads back to Cape Henry Collegiate next Wednesday it’ll be with mixed feelings. The middle school student will be starting the academic year much like he ended it – virtually.
“I’m not a big fan of virtual learning because I can’t be with my friends or anything,” said Parker Sancilio.
Remote learning wasn’t part of Cape Henry’s original plan.
The private school in Virginia Beach reversed course just two weeks before the first day of school. Administrators decided to cancel in-person classes for some students for at least until the fall.
Head of School Chris Garran sent a message to parents on August 10 outlining mitigation strategies.
Instead of bringing all Cape Henry students back inside the classroom next week, middle and high school students will be phased in and will start classes online.
Approximately 450 students in pre-K to sixth grade will start school in-person on Aug. 26.
Parker’s mom Sandra Sancilio said the decision was a result of the rise in COVID-19 cases across Hampton Roads.
”They’re just very cautious of the numbers, is what they’ve expressed to us as parents,”said Sandra Sancilio.
For middle school kids like Parker, in-person instruction school could start sometime after Labor Day.
“While I want my son to be in school learning, that is my ultimate goal, I want it to be done safely,” Sandra Sancilio said. “I really feel like Cape Henry is taking every step they can to make that possible.”
Precautions include temperature reads before entering the building, having less desks inside classrooms, and everyone is required to wear a mask.
“We added masks to the back to school shopping list this year,” laughed Sandra Sancilio.
Though Parker would rather be hitting the books at Cape Henry, he said he understands and pointed out an upside to learning virtually.
”Having three subjects for a trimester,” said Parker Sancilio. “I think it’ll be maybe not be as much homework for every class.”
News 3 reached out to Cape Henry for comment earlier this month and again this week, but our interview requests were declined. The headmaster and spokesperson for the school both said they were too busy to talk.