CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — While many schools are opting for a virtual start to the new year, at least one Hampton Roads school is planning on opening its doors.
Atlantic Shores Christian School in Chesapeake will welcome back students in-person, full-time next month.
10 On Your Side spoke with the head of school who said they relied on input from families along with guidance from state and federal agencies to shape their decision.
Parents who choose to send their student to campus will have to sign a liability waiver.
Head of School Ed Brunot said 73 percent of families surveyed wanted in-person instruction. Virtual learning will still be an option.
“We have 57 students that have decided to start off the school year virtually,” he said.
Student enrollment is around 700.
Brunot said they’ll be taking temperatures at the door, social distancing students and staff, and limiting who comes in the building. Masks will be required in common areas and recommended in classrooms.
“I think we’re prepared to ensure that we’re doing everything humanly possible to create a safe environment,” Brunot said.
The latest data from the Virginia Department of Health shows Chesapeake’s COVID-19 percent positivity rate is 12 percent. That’s down slightly from last week but still on Gov. Ralph Northam’s radar.
Brunot said the school consulted with the Chesapeake Health Department and multiple other agencies before making a decision.
“If you look at our demographics, if you will, from zero to 19 (age group), obviously we’ve had zero deaths in Virginia,” he said. “If you look at the incident rate, they’re very low from a carrier standpoint.”
Even so, parents must agree to release the school of liability including illness or death.
10 On Your side obtained a copy of the waiver parents must sign. Students won’t be allowed on campus without it.
“We have a general liability insurance carrier. Based on their recommendations as well as legal counsel, it was suggested that we have a waiver,” Brunot said.
We’re told anything could change before school is scheduled to start on Sept. 8.
“We’ll continue to look at it and obviously work with our families,” he said.
Brunot said the school is also an authorized child care center which has been operating a summer day camp without any issues since April.
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