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Lynchburg City School Board votes to revert to virtual learning

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 7:15 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: LCS school board votes 7-2 in favor of a motion to continue Phase 2 learning through January 8.

The division was originally scheduled to return to Phase 3 learning on January 4 after their winter break.

Athletic events are to return to Phase 2 from Phase 3 through January 8, following a 5-4 vote on a motion Tuesday night. No full practices or any competitions will be held during that period.

EARLIER: In a special called meeting Monday, members of the Lynchburg City School Board discussed how they would continue instruction.

The meeting was prompted by a post-Thanksgiving spike of coronavirus cases that has now impacted the school system.

They say the impact it’s had on their own human resources has been harsh.

“I would be remiss if I did not say that we also experienced loss of a staff member in the transportation department and that loss is hitting all of us very hard,” said Crystal Edwards, superintendent.

Because of the toll it’s taken across all departments, the board voted unanimously to step back into phase two of its Return to Learn plan for the rest of the week.

“I am making the recommendation that for the rest of this week that we shift from phase three hybrid instruction to for students to phase two remote learning for all students,” said Edwards.

The shift means students across the school system will learn virtually until winter break, which begins next Monday.

Edwards says the decision was not an easy one to make.

“I am really concerned about the education of our students as is my staff - very concerned about the status of COVID in our community,” said Edwards.

Lynchburg City Schools was already feeling the impact of a Thanksgiving spike.

Heritage Elementary School closed its doors last week due to the virus.

School board chairman James Coleman says while the schools have done good with mitigation, the spread needs to be slowed in the community.

“We gotta get this community spread together and remember this is really not a debate, but a matter of us working together in the midst of our differences to provide the best education possible to our kids,” said Coleman.

The school system has seen 34 cases of coronavirus since Thanksgiving.

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