In a release Tuesday from Hanover County Public Schools, division superintendent Dr. Michael Gill discusses the sweeping increase in COVID-19 cases and spread in the area, mirrored across the country, and addresses the possibility of in-person learning being affected.
Dr. Gill's full message is below.
In addition, all county sports/activities are still on "pause" pending a December 18th decision on the future of a winter sports season.
"I am writing today with an important message regarding COVID-19 and our ability to keep our schools open and maintain our face-to-face learning option.
As I shared with you recently, we are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases reported in our county and in our schools, particularly at some of our middle and high schools. The data continues to indicate that many of these cases are a result of community spread, and the uptick in positive cases remains very concerning. Additionally, the number of individuals required to quarantine after being identified as a close contact of a COVID-positive person is increasing. This impacts our educators as they continue to offer instruction both face-to-face and virtually simultaneously.
The increase in COVID-19 cases in the school division is starting to interfere with our capacity to continue providing in-person instruction due to staffing concerns. More specifically, employees who are unable to work remotely, such as bus drivers, custodial staff, and food services workers, are critical to fulfilling our daily mission. Their absence, due to illness or quarantining, causes significant strain on our ability to sustain in-person operations.
To be frank, we need your help to keep our schools open, especially as we enter flu season and the holidays. On our current path, the option of face-to-face learning — one we are immensely proud to offer — is at increased risk of being suspended.
Keeping our school buildings open depends on our collective effort. Let’s all do our part to stop the spread so that we may continue to offer our face-to-face instruction option without interruption. Let’s continue to show that we are Stronger Together. Thank you."