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The Albemarle County Schools Board on Thursday night voted, 6-1, to allow children of all grade levels to attend school in-person starting March 15.
Superintendent Matt Haas originally sought approval to expand in-person learning on March 1. Citing safety concerns around COVID-19, the board wanted to allow more teachers to get vaccinated prior to sending more children back to school.
With this new move, the county schools said 7,600 pupils would be eligible for in-person learning. The county has been operating in stage three of its reopening plan, which allows nearly 2,500 Pre-K to third-grade students to receive in-person instruction.
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Haas said in a release that in-person instruction could be expanded and based his decision on recommendations from experts, including 30 local physicians, health data and guidance from state and departments of education.
Haas also highlighted equity concerns that encouraged him to recommend the School Board to expand in-person instruction, including children not having adequate access to the internet, a shortage of child care, children with special needs and those who are English language learners.
“Our employees have been exceptional all year in enforcing our mitigation strategies and in registering these past few weeks for the vaccine,” Haas wrote.
“We are going to continue working with our teachers to ensure our schools remain safe as we expand in-person instruction. That includes working with our teachers to meet their needs whenever possible. Out of nearly 350 requests for ADA accommodations, we have been able to grant all but one.”
Follow Charlottesville Tomorrow’s education reporter Billy Jean Louis for coverage on teacher vaccination.