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CuCPS to continue in-person learning

Cumberland County Public School (CuCPS) students are scheduled to return to hybrid, in-person classes beginning Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Chip Jones

Although steadily increasing numbers of coronavirus cases kept other local public schools from ever sending students back to the classroom in the fall and winter of 2020, Cumberland County has experienced some of the lowest COVID numbers in the state throughout the pandemic, allowing for the school system to implement a hybrid learning model beginning the second nine weeks of school.

Wednesday, Dec. 30, CuCPS Superintendent Dr. Chip Jones said the school system would be heading right back into hybrid learning when students return from winter break.

On Dec. 10 the Virginia Education Association (VEA) issued a release calling for Virginia public schools to consider going all-virtual until at least mid-January.

The release drew criticism from some Virginia school officials, including local Superintendent of Charlotte County Public Schools Robbie Mason, who said the one-size-fits-all recommendation wasn’t appropriate when each school division has different community health indicators that help determine the safety of having students physically present at school.

Jones said he agreed with Mason, remarking that school divisions must make decisions based on data for their own county.

Jones added he has been in communication with health department staff over the break in regards to local COVID-19 data to determine if there was any need to alter the school schedule after the holidays.

He said if it is determined in the near future that the school needs to delay a return to in-person instruction, remote learning would still occur for all students.

“Decisions must be made on the most current and relevant information that is available at that time.”

Students at Prince Edward County Public Schools (PECPS) will begin their second semester of classes Jan. 5 as well, but the School Board voted earlier in December to delay a phase-in of hybrid learning until Jan. 18.

Students at Buckingham County Public Schools (BCPS) will continue with virtual-only instruction through Jan. 15.