County and city schools staying the course on return to school plan

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:37 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Despite James Madison University going temporarily virtual and sending students home, local school divisions say they are staying on track with their current return plan.

At the beginning of August, Rockingham County Public Schools pushed back its start date from Aug. 31 to Sept. 10.

Oskar Scheikl, division superintendent, said the change was to give more time for teachers to collaborate as well as evaluate COVID-19 trends with JMU students coming back.

“So far the trends at JMU, they’ve just confirmed, you know, why we operated the way we did and what we’re still looking at,” Scheikl said.

Scheikl said the division expected a spike to happen but still has concerns for many of the students who live off of campus.

“How are those students going to live their lives, you know as they go through local stores of course they’re required to wear their face coverings,” Scheikl said. “So for us, it’s not so much about what happened on JMU’s campus or within those housing communities, but how does that translate into the community.”

With Harrisonburg City Public Schools already back to class, Dr. Richards, division superintendent, said JMU’s announcement will not change their plans.

“The anticipated spike was one reason we made the pivot to virtual,” Richards said.

Richards said for planning purposes the division expects not adding more students physically to class until next semester.

Both school divisions said they will continue to look at data daily and reevaluate trends in the fall.

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