Radford City Public Schools switch back to four days of in-person learning after spike of COVID-19 cases

Published: Mar. 28, 2021 at 5:24 PM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - A spike in COVID cases at Radford City Public Schools almost forced students to switch back to virtual learning. But after contact tracing, the district is on track to bring students back for four days of in-person classes.

Radford City Public Schools went virtual for a couple days last week, after more than 10 students tested positive for the coronavirus. However, the school system just announced they will now be able to hold in-person learning again starting Monday, March 29, meaning they will be resuming their four days in-person schedule that began March 1.

“We heard from our school nurses that they had finished contact tracing and had alerted all of those students who had direct exposure, so they would be quarantining,” Rob Graham, superintendent of the Radford City School System, said.

The road to go back to more in-person learning has been bumpy. Positive tests pressed pause on the district’s four-day a week schedule. After contact tracing, the district says it’s ready to have the students back in class.

“Called the NRV health department and they were just so excited to say please go back. They, as well as we, know how important it is for our children to be back at school and in in-person learning,” Graham explained.

School officials thought they would have to be virtual all next week, so they say they are thrilled to be back in-person, and many of the students feel similarly.

“I am really glad to still be going back in full person, and it’s really amazing to me how quickly the teachers were able to, on a dime, switch back to virtual learning,” James Riffe, an eighth-grade student at John N. Dalton Intermediate School in Radford, said.

“It’s great that we’ve been able to go back to in person. I think Radford having the plan in place to do hybrid two days, on two days off, we were already in preparation for that March 1st date,” Jenny Riffe, James’ mother and and a Radford City School Board member, said.

In February, students had to decide whether they would stay virtual for the rest of the semester or come back in person four days a week. They now get another opportunity to switch to virtual, after the rise in cases. Graham said he will make decisions around that on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s very difficult for a teacher to try to plan when they don’t know who or who is not going to be in their class. That makes things tough for everybody,” Graham said.

The students have one week of in-person learning before their spring break starts the following week.

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