Virginia Beach Schools revert to all virtual learning following COVID-19 case spikes

Posted at 7:20 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 18:26:25-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Updated COVID-19 metrics report record-breaking number of cases in the Eastern Virginia Region. The influx in cases prompted Virginia Beach Public Schools to continue all-virtual learning, including students with disabilities who had recently returned to in-person learning.

In a letter to parents, Virginia Beach Public School officials said that the region is currently at 477.7 cases per day and 10.1 percent for percent positivity, placing them in the red/red zone. More details about guidelines and procedures can be found in the school district's Fall 2020 Plan.

Effective immediately, VBCPS says all activities related to varsity winter sports are postponed until further notice. Starting tomorrow, Safe Learning Centers at the schools will close, but students and families have access to school buildings and administrative offices by appointment only.

Monday afternoon, Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence, said “It’s very alarming: the rapid growth and spread and transmission in our community of COVID right now, and we just need to make sure we do our part to keep our students and staff safe.”

Julia Herrmann's 4-year-old son Jack attends preschool at Red Mill Elementary. Jack has a dual diagnosis of Autism and Down Syndrome. At school, he receives speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy in addition to therapies at a private facility.
While Herrmann says the work that the teachers are doing is "phenominal," she explains that it simply can't beat the face-to-face learning.

"So much of what he’s learning is through his interaction with the other children in his class, and his teacher’s can’t do the same thing virtually. He’s not going to sit in front of an iPad and do a Zoom meeting," said Herrmann.

Additionally, VBCPS postponed this week’s high school SOL writing test for a later date.

Food service will continue. VBCPS is providing breakfast, lunch and dinner at no charge to all children, age 18 and under, at all VBCPS schools, regardless of individual eligibility. Meals will be provided via the drive by/pickup model, Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. The Friday bag will contain food for Saturday and Sunday. The bus delivery service will also continue to select neighborhoods.

School officials say employees who have questions about their workplace or status should notify their supervisor. According to VBCPS, employees called to work onsite must do so at the time it is requested of them. If the employee has a medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, VBCPS suggests that they notify their supervisor.

VBCPS will continue to monitor numbers daily and will post updates on their COVID-19 webpage. The COVID-19 webpage features streamlined access to the VBCPS dashboard, FAQs, health metrics, Thursday updates they send each week to families and additional resources.

School officials say that once the Eastern Virginia Region's COVID-19 metrics trend down to yellow/red, they will plan to return designated groups of students with disabilities to class and reopen the Safe Learning Centers the following week.

According to the letter, if within those seven days cases spike, bringing them back to red/red status, they will maintain all virtual instruction and start the seven-day countdown again from whenever those metrics trend back a combination that includes yellow.

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