COVID Cuts Classes

COVID Cuts Classes

COVID-19 testing continues this week in the Rockbridge area. This free testing event was held Tuesday at the Augusta Health Lexington Primary Care. Another is scheduled at the Raphine Velocity Care Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. The Central Shenandoah Health District has been offering free testing events weekly this fall for those who are symptomatic and/or a close contact. (Jonathan Schwab photo)

BVPS Close For 2 Weeks As Lexington Students Return

Buena Vista City Schools will be closed to in-person learning for the next two weeks.

School leaders made the decision Monday that all students K-12 will learn at home until at least Nov. 30. According to Superintendent John Keeler, a number of recent COVID-19 cases in the division pushed the administration to make the switch.

“We’ve been planning for this,” Keeler told The News-Gazette, adding BVCPS anticipated an eventual positive case among the school community. “We had a good streak of 12 weeks [without COVID-19].”

Buena Vista schools welcomed back students to school buildings in August, with K-7 students learning in-person four days per week and Parry McCluer High School students attending school on a staggered virtual-hybrid schedule.

The division first set a closure of F.W. Kling Elementary prior to Monday due to recent positive cases connected to the school. After additional consideration, Keeler said the division decided to call for totally virtual learning in all schools starting Tuesday as a precaution to the school community and families.

“We’re working closely with the health department to determine our next steps,” Keeler said.

Following the announcement of virtual learning, Buena Vista schools are communicating with families to distribute devices and meet technological needs for the two-week closure. BVCPS will continue to collaborate with the Virginia Department of Health to reach a decision regarding in-person learning prior to Nov. 30.

In Lexington City Schools, the phased return back to in-person learning was completed Monday, with grades 4, 5, 7 and 8 welcomed back to the classroom four days per week.


Last week The News-Gazette reported as part of the list of indictments that Christopher T. McDaniel Sr., 42, was indicted for the malicious discharge of a firearm at an occupied building on July 2.

McDaniel’s official charge was malicious shooting or throwing into an occupied building, related to his alleged launching of a rock through a window on July 2.


“We’re very excited to have our students back,” Superintendent Rebecca Walters told The News-Gazette. The phased transition, which began with lower grade levels Oct. 26, has gone well for students and staff so far, according to Walters.

“We know a case will happen,” she explained. LCS is also in communication with the Virginia Department of Health to carefully plan for the event of a COVID-19 case among students or staff. Walters said school families have been “great” in keeping open communication to assist administration in their contingency plans.

In their return to school buildings, Walters said students and teachers will continue to emphasize social distancing as well as learn new health and safety procedures to mitigate the risk of transmission.

Rockbridge County Public Schools will complete its phased return of students on Nov. 30, after bringing back grades 2, 3, 6 and 9 last week. The school division started the year with pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade in the classrooms.

The News-Gazette

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