Va. – Several schools in our area have already had to close their doors temporarily to try and fight the spread of COVID-19. We’re working for you tonight to find out how these decisions are made and when you can expect your kids to go back.
The Virginia Department of Health says it’s up to school leaders and the local health department to shut schools down in response to an outbreak.
Two things have to happen for the school to investigate a COVID outbreak. First, there must be two or more cases among students or staff within a 14-day period. Second, those people aren’t identified as close contacts.
After that, local school and health officials consider the following before closing:
- The size of the school.
- The setting and environment of the school (spacing in classrooms, sharing of equipment).
- The possibility of spread to others outside of the facility (extracurriculars, bus riders).
- Compare case numbers to this time last year.
The challenge this time around is that schools are required by law to have kids in the classroom for 180 days.
“I know we’re not the only place that has cases going very quickly through their building and this is going to be an issue for a very long time,” Amherst County Superintendent Rob Arnold says.
For students looking to return to the classroom, the quickest way to do so is to test negative for COVID-19. Otherwise, students must wait 10 days.