Chesapeake School Board revises COVID mitigation strategies; House of Delegates candidate escorted out of meeting

Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake School Board updated the district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies Monday.

The decision came after a momentary disruption in the meeting in which a woman, identified as a House of Delegates candidate, was escorted out of the meeting during public comment for what the school board chair called a “personal attack.”

COVID-19 mitigation update

District leaders met with local health officials to come up with a plan that is more convenient for students, their families and school staff while still following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The revisions come two weeks after the Chesapeake School Board approved a shortened 10-day quarantine with a negative test for those exposed to COVID-19.

On Monday, board members unanimously approved the district’s recommendation to keep the 10-day quarantine regardless of whether a student gets tested or not. As long as the student or staff member does not have symptoms after 10 days, they can return to the building on day 11.

As for student-athletes, Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton shared that so far this fall season, 28 student-athletes have gotten COVID-19, 189 students have had to quarantine and there have been four outbreaks associated with fall sports.

Weekly COVID-19 testing will begin for high school with athletes on Nov. 15 and on Nov. 22 for middle school winter athletes.

The School Health Advisory Board recommends required COVID-19 testing or vaccination.

38 people addressed the school board with split opinions on safety protocols. CPS teacher, Nicole Sperry, was one of those speakers. Sperry lost her 10-year-old daughter Teresa to COVID-19 two weeks ago.

“COVID is not over. No matter what people who have been standing up here said. I was sitting next to my healthy daughter’s death bed. She died five days after showing symptoms. Children are getting COVID and they’re getting it at schools,” Sperry said.

Speaker escorted out

During the meeting 10 On Your Side witnessed one speaker escorted out.

Chesapeake resident Melanie Cornelisse was asked to leave by board members and security shortly into her speech after she started speaking about school board Chairwoman Victoria Proffitt being under investigation for her collection of unemployment benefits while serving on the board.

As she was talking, a member of the board called a point of order, but Cornelisse continued talking.

Cornelisse is also running for House of Delegates District 78 as a Democrat.

Proffitt is also running for Chesapeake Commissioner of the Revenue.

WAVY News has reached out to Chesapeake Police and the Chesapeake School Board for more information on the incident involving Cornelisse on Monday night.

Proffitt sent 10 On Your Side the following statement:

“At the beginning of tonight’s meeting, we informed the speakers of the policies for speaking, including no personal attacks on anyone. Ms. Cornelisse violated that policy, and continued to violate that policy even when Ms. Leary gaveled her and tried to regain focus of the meeting. Ms. Cornelisse continued to make a personal attack, and Ms. Leary requested she be removed from the room.”

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