Some Chesapeake Public Schools students to return to campus Monday, educators concerned


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Some Chesapeake Public Schools students will be back in the classroom starting on Monday, Sept. 14.

It’s the start of a phased-in approach for in-person learning, but some teachers are concerned it’s too soon.

The Chesapeake Education Association held a rally Friday afternoon. CEA said they want kids back on campus, too — but only when it’s safe.

“Our educators want to provide the high quality education that our students deserve however we want to be kept safe,” said CEA President Reagan Davis.

On Monday, certain special education students and English language learners will be back on campus, as scheduled by appointment.

On Sept. 21, another priority group of special education students, pre-school and kindergarten students will be in the classroom.

Finally, on Sept. 28, all first, second, and third grade students will be in the classroom.

In a letter on the district’s website, Superintendent Jared Cotton said recommendations from the School Health Advisory Board and feedback from families led to the decision at the board’s last meeting.

“We are determined to get the Chesapeake decision-makers to change their minds and to wait until it’s safe,” said Vivian Taylor, mother of two CPS teachers.

Chesapeake’s seven-day percent positivity rate for cases is 7.9 percent. That’s down from about 12 percent earlier this summer. Educators are concerned that rate could spike again.

“We are very concerned because we just got through the Labor Day holiday,” said Davis.

“We don’t want them to be at risk of illness and we know virtual is not ideal for everyone but it’s safer than kids dying,” said Katelyn Ritenour, a fourth-grade teacher with CPS.

Educators also voiced concerns about safety measures on campus. They’re taking those concerns to the top.

“We will be at the school board meeting on Monday,” Ritenour said.

The school board will be meeting Monday and will be discussing the possibility of bringing back grades four to six on campus next.

WAVY News 10 will let you know what happens.

Correction: The on-air report for this story incorrectly stated the number of days students would be back in the classroom. The web version of this story contains the correct information. WAVY regrets the error.

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