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GCPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Evans

After fielding public input and much consideration, the Greensville County School Board decided Monday evening to extend the virtual learning schedule for students and faculty to the end of the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. The semester ends on Jan. 21.

The School Board heard a number of submissions from parents, teachers and other school employees. As letters and emails were read, the division of opinions became apparent. Some parents implored the School Board to reopen schools, while others pleaded for the extension of virtual learning due to the continued severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Health, the City of Emporia and Greensville County are at the highest risk of transmission in schools. Both localities have averaged a high rate of infection per 100,000 since the pandemic began.

Greensville County Superintendent Dr. Kim Evans presented the Board with information regarding the current state of virtual learning in the district.

The county has a 1:1 initiative, where students are provided with either a chromebook or a tablet depending on their grade level. Of the 448 MiFi hotspots requested, 386 have been picked up for use. Since March, 85,035 meals have been delivered to students of families who need them.

Since September, two employees have tested positive for the virus, causing 13 other employees to quarantine due to potential exposure. Sadly, four GCPS employees have died due to COVID-19.

The Greensville Education Association thanked the Board and school faculty for their hard work during this school year. GEA fielded a survey with its members, receiving 40 responses. 92% of the responses were supportive of extending virtual learning through the end of the semester.

As part of the new plan, the School Board will begin bringing teachers back into the schools in December to prepare for a future hybrid-learning environment.