RADFORD, Va. – One day later and Radford has a new plan.
Rather than two weeks of 100% virtual learning, in-person learning will continue on Aug. 31.
The decision to cancel in person classes comes after concerns over a social gathering where teachers, students and parents may have been exposed to COVID-19.
“We just determined that it would be out of an abundance of caution to go ahead and just close temporarily,” Superintendent Robert Graham said.
Superintendent Robert Graham says the division was notified about a large gathering in the city over the weekend that students, teachers, and parents attended and were potentially exposed to Coronavirus.
The New River Valley Department of Health was able to expedite its investigation and contract tracing regarding a social gathering in the community this past weekend and found minimal exposure to COVID-19.
“When you have those large gatherings of over 40 or 50 its just difficult to know who is at risk, that’s what we were concerned with and we certainly didn’t want to take a chance,” Graham said.
But for parents like Charlotte Parks, it leaves questions about the remainder of the school year.
“My worry is that they won’t go back, that this is going to kind of be the permenant way of the rest of the school year,” Radford City Parent Charlotte Parks said.
The New York Times is now calling Radford a hot spot for most new COVID-19 cases among its population. Parks hopes people in the city use the schools closing as an example of being more careful.
“I know what’s best for the community is definitely what needs to be focused on but I’m hoping we can buckle down and get to a place where these kids can get back to school,” Parks said.
Graham says the division will continue to monitor the cases in the city throughout the school year. He looks forward to welcoming students back to class on Monday.
“We learn from it and then we move forward,” Graham said.
While the rest of this week will be fully virtual, starting Aug. 31, the school division’s hybrid schedule will resume.
Students in Radford City Public Schools, regardless of grade level, will participate in virtual learning for the next two weeks.
The move from a hybrid model to a 100% virtual learning model comes after school leaders said they learned about a “recent, close social gathering” in which RCPS students, staff and parents gathered without practicing social distancing or wearing face coverings.
School leaders said they made the decision out “an abundance of caution, concern for the safety and well-being of our school community, and upon guidance from the New River Valley Health Department.”
Schools are scheduled to reopen with in-person learning on Sept. 8. School leaders said they’re working with the health department to determine if there is a need to stay completely virtual during the two-week period, or if classes can resume earlier.
During the temporary closing, there will be no extra-curricular activities, athletic practices or use of the facilities during and after school hours.
The RCPS Parent Virtual Help Center is available to help families with online learning.
Food distribution for next week will happen on Monday between 4:30 and 6:30. Any families who need assistance with food are asked to call Ellen Denny at 540-731-3647.