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Hampton Roads parents planning to 'pivot' if schools experience COVID-19 outbreak

Greenbrier Christian Academy postponed the first of school due to a few staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health is defining a COVID-19 outbreak as more than two cases. So far, the department is reporting about 12 outbreaks among grade levels between kindergarten and senior year of high school in the state.

Meanwhile, Greenbrier Christian Academy postponed the first day of school for 2021 from August 30 to September 7 due to a few staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

For parents like Heather and Sean Marsden, they had to move quickly to take care of their children who had to stay home an extra week. Their daughter, Chloe, is entering the fourth grade, while their son, Jacob, is entering the first grade at Greenbrier Christian Academy.

"They're very excited. My little guy is so excited to be in first grade," said Heather. "They got new backpacks, new supplies. We're going grocery shopping to make them lunches for the week."

Heather said they keep a routine in their family, but she understands when the routine gets switched up, such as when her kids had to stay home an extra week, instead of going to school

"When school is delayed and there's no summer camp... it was hard, I'm not going to lie," she said. "But last week, I was able to take leave from my job with pay, so I'm really appreciative I have a job that lets me do that."

It's a challenging pivot she knows other parents may have to deal with during the school year if the coronavirus gets into a classroom. She said it may be tougher for those parents who don't have the work flexibility.

"We certainly don't want to go to school with everybody getting COVID. You don't want to get sick, so we're going to make the best of it... and I think keeping a positive attitude and just taking it one day at a time," she said as she shrugged her shoulders.

Heather said the COVID-19 concern at Greenbrier Christian Academy isn't deterring her from sending her kids back to the classroom. She said they are taking the necessary precautions and she doesn't want her children falling behind in their academics.

"If we do the precautions -- we wear masks, get vaccinated, and do those things -- then there's no reason not to get life back to normal, because COVID is never going to go away."

Tuesday, September 7 marks the first day of school for Greenbrier Christian Academy, along with Chesapeake Public Schools.

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