Hopewell schools to require COVID vaccine or weekly testing for staff

As COVID cases rise, Hopewell parents concerned for safety of students
Posted at 7:35 AM, Aug 24, 2021

HOPEWELL, Va. -- The Hopewell School Board decided in a meeting held on Monday night that employees working for the school district must get the COVID-19 vaccine or be tested on a weekly basis.

This resolution was presented by Superintendent Dr. Melody Hackney at Monday night's meeting and was passed unanimously.

The school district has seen more than 80 cases of COVID-19 since the school year started in July.

Dr. Hackney said that teachers were surveyed about their vaccination status and that nearly 100 percent of teachers provided feedback.

The survey found the following results:

  • 75 percent were fully vaccinated
  • 3 percent were partially vaccinated
  • 13 percent chose not to disclose their vaccination status
  • 9 percent were unvaccinated

Dr. Hackney also called a voluntary testing event held by the school district last week a success. The event was held after the school district had to close schools last Friday due to a staffing shortage.

326 people showed up to the event and there were fewer than five positive tests, according to results that came back on Sunday.

Dr. Hackney said that they hope to have a similar testing event for students possibly as early as Thursday.

"Obviously, that would be voluntary. But we recognize that with this particular variant, many people can carry the virus without symptoms so we are going to do our due diligence to routinely provide that option for parents to have their students tested if they would like," Dr. Hackney said.

The school district's COVID dashboard shows 85 reported cases of COVID-19 since the school year began. Dr. Jay McClain, the assistant superintendent of instruction, reported that most of those cases have been among students, specifically those in elementary school.

He said among the 85 reported cases, 86 percent of those cases were students and the additional 14 percent were staff members.