Schools in Richmond, Va., will be virtual in the fall

Schools in Richmond, Va., will be virtual in the fall
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Richmond, Va., will make K-12 classes fully virtual in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite a pressure campaign from the White House to resume in-person learning.

The Richmond School Board voted 8-1 against in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester at its meeting on Tuesday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The vote reportedly came after Superintendent Jason Kamras offered several plans, including a hybrid of three virtual instruction and two in-person instruction days per week and a plan in which middle and high school students would attend classes virtually while elementary school students attend classes in-person.


The plan the board approved had the backing of the Richmond Education Association (REA), which had cited conditions it said made schools uniquely dangerous environments, the newspaper added.

“Research is certain that this illness is airborne and highly contagious, especially indoors,” the REA said in a statement last week. “It is unsafe for people to be gathering indoors in large groups at any location, however it is particularly unsafe to do so in Richmond Public School facilities where we have poor air quality systems and open classroom formats.”

Board member Scott Barlow, who voted for the plan Tuesday, said the decision had been “tough,” knowing that there were high-need students who would be adversely affected by all-virtual instruction.

“No matter which option we choose, a certain number of our students are more likely to have an adverse impact,” he told the Times-Dispatch. “Our Black and Latino students are more likely to suffer from infection risks. Many of our higher-poverty students are more likely to be adversely impacted by not being able to go to school, and there’s overlap between those two groups.”

San Diego and Los Angeles also announced earlier this week that online classes will resume in the fall.