Newport News Public Schools launches COVID-19 dashboard, 23 total coronavirus cases among staff reported

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News Public Schools (NNPS) launched a COVID-19 dashboard the second week of November. The site lists confirmed positive coronavirus cases by location and date dating back to start of the new school year in September.

The new dashboard also provides health metrics from the Virginia Department of Health.

Newport News Public Schools says it has created a COVID Response Team to address potential and confirmed positive cases within the school division. When a case or potential case is reported, this team will begin isolating the the student or staff member, identify close contacts and notify the Peninsula Health District.

As of Nov. 24, it shows 23 staff positive COVID-19 tests, and no student cases.

Here is the breakdown of locations and the date of the most recent reported case there:

  • Admin Building – 2 staff positive cases (most recent case reported 11/20)
  • Operations (SCOT) – 6 staff positive cases (most recent case reported 11/12)
  • Marshall ELC – 1 staff positive case (reported 9/8)
  • Charles Elementary – 1 staff positive case (reported 9/16)
  • Discovery Stem – 1 staff positive case (reported 10/22)
  • Dutrow Elementary – 1 staff positive case (reported 9/11)
  • Greenwood Elementary – 1 staff positive case (reported 9/6)
  • Hilton Elementary – 1 staff positive case (reported 11/15)
  • Nelson Elementary – 1 staff positive case (reported 11/5)
  • Richneck Elementary – 2 staff positive case (most recent case reported 11/14)
  • Saunders Elementary – 2 staff positive cases (most recent case reported 9/28)
  • Yates Elementary – 1 staff positive case (reported 11/17)
  • Heritage High – 2 staff positive case (most recent case reported 11/15)
  • Woodside High – 1 staff positive case (reported 10/27)

It is not surprising that there are no student cases.

On Oct. 13, the Superintendent postponed the timeline for returning students to in-person instruction.

The Newport News School Board met on Tuesday, Nov. 17 and Superintendent Dr. George Parker presented an update on Phase 2 of the district’s Return to Learn Plan.

“In October, we made the cautious decision to delay our planned phase in of in-person instruction for students. Since
then, I truly believe that the time spent over the past several weeks conducting parent, student and staff focus groups
and meeting with principals to gather input on our planning was time well spent,” stated Dr. Parker.

He said he reached out to other local school divisions and private schools who are currently providing in-person instruction during the pandemic. Dr. Parker said, “What we discovered was that effective safety mitigation is possible when a shared commitment to the welfare of others existed and everyone received the proper training and resources.”

Read the updated 39-page plan at this link.

The document provides an updated timeline for the return to in-person instruction.

Beginning January 11, 2020, special needs students, English language learners and students in pre-kindergarten through second grade will return to in-person instruction four days a week (M,TU,TH,F).

Students in grades three through five will begin a hybrid learning model on January 25. The final group, consisting of grades six through 12, will begin the hybrid learning model on February 1.

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, teachers in Newport News held a rally. They said they are worried about going back to the classroom amid a spike in coronavirus cases across the state and the country. They are calling for a slow, safe and cautious Return to Learn plan.

NNPS is basing its timeline on the “status of COVID-19 community transmission, positivity rates within Newport News Public Schools and the school division’s ability to provide in-person instruction and other activities.”

If at any point the community health data enters the highest risk category, NNPS says it will delay any increased in-person instruction.

Virginia Beach Public Schools announced on Monday, Nov. 16 it was switching back to exclusive virtual learning at least through the Thanksgiving holiday after that community entered the highest risk zone.

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