Norfolk School Board members postpone reopening plan discussions to December


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, so do reopening plans for school districts across Hampton Roads.

The Norfolk School board revisited the topic yet again at their meeting Wednesday night, but no progress was made because discussions didn’t quite go as planned.

There were some tense moments among members.

Two motions that could’ve potentially impacted the timeline for when students come back to school in Norfolk Public Schools were up for consideration, but they’ve been postponed for discussion until next month. 

One motion, put forward by board member Lauren Campsen, proposed a specific date range — between Jan. 11 and Feb. 1 — for bringing back students in phase 1.

The other motion, put forth by board member Tanya Bhasin, dealt with revising the reopening plan.

Back at the October meeting, the board voted to approve a return to school plan, but only when core and secondary COVID-19 health metrics are in the “lower” and “lowest” risk category.

Those secondary metrics include data like the number of regional hospitalizations, but the CDC says districts don’t need to use these secondary metrics when planning a reopening timeline.

Bhasin’s motion proposed approving a reopening plan based on core metrics only in an effort to get students back in the classroom sooner.

However, board members could not agree on whether to discuss the items at Wednesday’s meeting or in the future because everyone wasn’t on the same page.

Some board members said they were left out of conversations about these motions prior to the meeting. Others felt more time needed to be devoted to the topic in general.

Ultimately, the board postponed the discussions until sometime in early December but there was obvious frustration.

“The clock is tick, tick, ticking on the lives of our children and we’re perhaps not focusing as sharply on the fact that this is an emergency,” Campsen said.

“I’m deeply concerned about what the social isolation is doing to our students. I’m deeply concerned about the behavioral and mental health impacts of not being in school,” Bhasin added.

Members could discuss the motions on Dec. 2 or they could call a special meeting on December 9th.

Stay with WAVY News 10 for any updates. 

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