This week, students in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg are on spring break; five days that normally are a chance for families and teachers to travel and break up the semester.
Knowing that, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people will use the week to travel, possibly out of the country, Harrisonburg City Public Schools Superintendent Michael Richards is asking students and staff that travel internationally to quarantine after returning state-side.
HCPS is also asking that the ongoing mitigation strategies of mask wearing and social distancing be observed when students return to the classroom on Monday. Although HCPS will return from spring break with the same 50% of students in the classroom as before the break, two weeks later more students will return to the classroom for four days a week.
Rockingham County Public Schools Superintendent Oskar Scheikl said he has not asked that those who travel to quarantine when they return. Depending on where they travel there might be even fewer cases than there are here, as vaccines have been rolling out across the world.
What will be most important for the return of students, is the continued mitigation strategies, he said, echoing Richards’ sentiments.
“Based on what we’ve done for Christmas break, those are the most important pieces,” Scheikl said. He added that he hoped people make smart decisions while on break and continue to wear masks in public and social distance. Traveling itself wasn’t the cause in an uptick in COVID-19 cases, particularly after Thanksgiving, but private gatherings indoors of unrelated people who are not wearing masks.
According to the RCPS COVID-19 dashboard, there are five active cases within the schools as of Monday. RCPS will be opening to even more students, four times a week following the return of students on Monday.