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Next Group Of Students In Chesterfield Head Back October 26

Monacan High
The next group of students to return to in-person learning in Chesterfield County got the green light at Tuesday’s school board meeting. (Photo: Ian Stewart/VPM News)

The next group of students to return to in-person learning in Chesterfield County got the green light at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Health Committee spokesperson Nick Oyler said the decision was based on Virginia Department of Health metrics, and a Centers for Disease Control rating of ‘lower risk’ for COVID-19 transmission.

“Based on that overall rating and VDH recommendations, the committee recommends that we return cohort three to in-person instruction based on the current cohort schedule,” Oyler said.

Oyler told the board despite an increase in new cases over the last 14 days, the district’s positivity rate is still showing a lower risk of infection. He added that the increase in cases is mostly due to a spike in positivity rates at nursing homes and retirement centers in the county.

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Cohort three is students in grades four and five  -- they’ll return to school October 26.

Oyler also told the board that the health committee has adopted newly released metrics provided by the Centers for Disease Control  to help guide school openings. Those include:

  • Total cases per 100K over the last 14 days, a change from 7 day periods
  • Positivity rate over the last 14 days
  • Ability to implement 5 mitigation strategies (masks, distancing, hand/respiratory hygiene, cleaning/contact tracing)


Since the health committee began assessing safety for in-person classes months ago, Oyler and other committee members had been asking for state guidance to have better metrics. Oyler said now both the Virginia Department of Health and the Chesterfield Department of Health will use the same metrics as the CDC.

The color chart assessing risk levels for face-to-face instruction has been updated with ‘light green,’ representing a level of risk between green, or lowest, and yellow. The new chart runs:

  • Green (lowest risk)
  • Lighter green
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Red (highest risk)

 

School Board members agreed to meet every two weeks for updates from the health committee. Cohort four--students in middle and high school--could see a potential return date of November 9. 

The next School Board meeting in which they’ll hear an update from the health committee is on October 27.