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'It’s just not the right time' | Concerns continue from some over Chesapeake's in-person learning

Some students have returned to in-person learning after all-virtual learning following the holidays.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Chesapeake School Board convened in-person this Monday for its latest board meeting, taking up another Responsive Return to School Update to address pandemic-related issues like virtual learning and more. 

But for some Chesapeake parents, is the return to the classroom too soon for students?

“The concerns I hear all the time from teachers in the classroom is a lack of consistency and communication," Samantha Lester, a parent with several children in the CPS system, told 13News Now Monday. 

As of Monday evening, Lester had planned to speak publicly at the school board meeting, addressing issues on behalf of local teachers concerned about the return to in-person learning after a recent virtual break. 

Lester, who runs an online advocacy group focusing on education in Chesapeake, says teachers she's talked to "don’t feel like they can speak out themselves.”

“Random and sporadic quarantines and isolations, the continuity of education will continuously be interrupted when we know our community burden of COVID is high," Lester said. 

Lester also mentioned concerns over the board meeting being in-person to begin with. As of Monday evening, the CPS COVID-19 dashboard listed the School Administration building with five COVID cases over a 14-day total. With it being the same building as those meetings, Lester questioned why she had to enter that kind of environment to make a real-time public comment in person.

“There’s no reason for this much in-person learning happening unnecessarily when we have other means to do it," Lester said. 

In a statement to 13News Now, a spokesperson for Chesapeake Public Schools said: 

"There has been no change to the operational status of the School Administration Building following the recent investigation revealing a possible connection between COVID-19 cases among staff. All individuals associated with the outbreak were contacted directly and are following the guidance provided by the health department. We work closely with the Chesapeake Health Department on all investigations and feel confident that tonight's meeting can continue."

“There’s a lack of consistency, it feels every day like there’s a new plan being developed, we generally feel pulled from pillar to post," a teacher who wished to remain anonymous told 13News Now.

When asked whether they feel safe in their own classroom, they said no.

“It is not because I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing or my principal doesn’t care. It’s just not the right time," they said.