AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – COVID-19 cases are rising in Southwest Virginia, especially among school-aged children.
Amherst County schools are among many dealing with major COVID-19 outbreaks, even causing some buildings to close and move students to virtual learning for the time being.
“It’s very frustrating. You work really hard to get school started and over a month ago we were really optimistic that things would be different but with the rise of this delta variant things changed in like a week,” said Amherst County School District’s superintendent, Dr. Rob Arnold.
Several schools in Amherst County are set to reopen as early as September 2 if a student shows a negative COVID-19 test, or September 7 without a test. The district is legally required to return to in-person learning.
“Senate Bill 1303 was passed by the General Assembly in the Spring stating that, ‘You will provide five days of instruction all day.’ So this is one thing that schools are really going to have to deal with. Because last year we were able to keep students apart by staggering their schedules of having them their only two days a week, and that’s not allowable by law,” said Arnold.
As to whether legal action would be taken against schools who may want to go back to a hybrid or virtual learning plan, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said this on Thursday: “What I would like to see is the local school divisions do whatever they can to help with learning, in-person if possible, but also do so in a way that protects the health and safety of our students as well as the students and staff.”
Amherst County School District is teaming up with the Department of Health to offer COVID-19 testing and vaccination site on Tuesday, August 31 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be two locations, Amherst County High School and Monelison Middle School in Madison Heights