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IW delays five-day school

Isle of Wight Public Schools officials are delaying the return of pre-K through third-grade students to a five-day-a-week, in-person class schedule due to an increase in the community’s number of positive COVID-19 cases.

At the school board’s Nov. 18 meeting, Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton raised the possibility that the division’s youngest students could possibly return five days a week on or about Dec. 7.

However, since that time, “we have seen the COVID-19 positivity rate in the county steadily trending up,” the school division said in a statement. “We have also witnessed a concerning increase in positive cases, as well as more individuals in quarantine and isolation in our schools before, during, and after the Thanksgiving break. The higher numbers in our schools are directly related to the spread of the virus in our community.”

In response to the health situation, “preK through 3rd grade students will remain on the hybrid schedule for now,” the division said. “We will continue to monitor both community and school health data and make a decision in early January about a return to five days a week for those students. Any proposed changes will be communicated to all families and employees at that time.”

Isle of Wight reported an enrollment of 5,324 in September. That’s 182 fewer students than September 2019, when 5,506 were enrolled at the division’s nine schools.