Virginia Education Association calls for classrooms to close across the state as COVID cases spike, governor levies new restrictions | State and Regional News

When asked if he would consider closing schools statewide, Northam said in a statement that school systems are too diverse for a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

“As I have said since the beginning of this pandemic, we have enormous diversity of school districts within our Commonwealth — a one-size-fits-all solution simply does not make sense,” he stated.

“I’ve worked closely with the Virginia Department of Health to ensure school districts have the most up-to-date health data for their communities, and I trust they will continue to make the best decisions for the health and safety of their students, teachers, and staff.”

Area school systems have scaled back in-person plans as cases have risen. Henrico County Public Schools students were poised to return to buildings beginning Nov. 30; those plans are delayed until 2021. In Chesterfield County, the school system has reversed course after bringing students back in cohorts. Richmond Public Schools voted Monday to remain virtual through the remainder of the academic year.

When it comes to reopening, school systems have to weigh students’ mental health and physical safety. Health officials have reported increased anxiety and suicidal ideations among children, which they relate to the closure of schools.

“It’s a difficult balance that schools are being asked to strike,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, deputy director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. “When we see cases in schools, we’re not seeing a lot of transmission within the school, for the most part. … We know that it’s important for them to be in school. We also know that different schools have different abilities to be able to adhere to all of these requirements to keep people safe.”

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