Parents, administration share frustration over Amherst County High School closure

More than 140 people will have to quarantine after Tuesday’s closure
School Closes Amherst County COVID-19 Update
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT
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AMHERST, Va. (WDBJ) - Cars sat outside Amherst County High School Tuesday, but students were not inside.

The school was shut down as a precautionary measure over coronavirus. The move has administration and parents frustrated.

“It is a very frustrating situation to be in,” said Dr. Rob Arnold, superintendent.

“A year and a half into this, we should be farther ahead than what we are,” said Kristie Davis.

Davis has several children in the district.

She says one of her kids rides the bus with high school students and not all precautions are being taken.

“My middle schooler actually rides the bus with high schoolers, so why in the world you shut the high schoolers down when you haven’t even done your contact tracing and just let the middle schoolers continue to go?” said Davis.

The closure at the high school is only expected to last one day as contact tracing is done.

Arnold says administration is doing what it can to keep kids in school.

“We’ll keep finding ways. We wanna get students outside more, use the outdoor classroom space, and we’re encouraging our staff to do that and so, there are ways to do it,” said Arnold.

However, parents like Davis say more adjustments are needed, such as the ability to pull kids out to virtual learning.

“This is somebody’s health that we’re looking at. I mean, it’s not a game that we’re playing. This is people’s lives that are at stake,” said Davis.

Arnold says they will continue to put families on the Virtual Virginia waiting list. The school district offered its own virtual academy last school year, but discontinued it due to staffing requirements for the current school year.

“But the problem they have is they have to staff it, and that’s really the reason why we can’t offer the same type of virtual options that we did last year because... when you have all those students back, you have to have your staffing at a place where you can accommodate those students that are in the building,” said Arnold.

August 23, the school district recorded three positive cases at the high school. As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, 140 additional people were quarantined due to those three cases at the high school.

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