After the school suddenly closed on Friday due to “critical staff shortages” that affected both virtual and in-person education, Hopewell City public schools reopened on Monday. The district said last week that the abrupt cancellation of classes on Friday was due to COVID-related absences, whether they were positive cases or quarantines linked to those positive cases.
A special school board meeting to discuss vaccination protocols is scheduled for Monday evening.
In a statement released on Sunday, the city’s school district said a shutdown was needed because staff were so short it would affect their ability to operate the school safely. After consulting with the Virginia departments of health and education, the district decided it was best to reopen on Monday. The district also hosted a mass testing event on Friday, where Superintendent Melody Hackney was also tested for COVID-19.
“After reviewing planned staff absences on Monday, the numbers are much better and more realistic for adequately staffing classrooms,” the district said in a statement on Sunday.
Last month, Hopewell became the first school system in the state to reopen under SB-1303, a new state law that requires districts to offer full-time in-person education, and it is struggling with cases of COVID-19 since the first day of school. According to the district’s COVID case dashboard, there were 86 cases in total, up from 77 on Wednesday. Last year, the district saw 91 cases of COVID-19 throughout the school year – Hopewell has been in school since July 27 of this school year.