Last week, the Westmoreland County School Board switched from their hybrid education model back to all-virtual. The reasoning behind this was explained at an emergency meeting the School Board held with the Three Rivers Health District, citing an increase in the rates of community transmission of the Coronavirus. There was no mention on whether the virus had spread through the schools. This virtual instruction period is set to continue until January 19 of next year, which marks the end of the semester.

“We acknowledge the hardship placed on parents, students and educators when instruction is all-virtual,” the board stated on Facebook. “But the decision to pivot to all-virtual instruction is deemed to be absolutely necessary for the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and their families.”

The acquisition of Verizon Jetpack hotspots last month seems rather prescient at this stage. The insistence on virtual learning has been controversial throughout the state, particularly in areas such as Fairfax County, whose schools experienced plummeting grades over the course of their first foray into virtual learning. Opponents of the practice often will point to children below a certain age reportedly being poor carriers and vectors for the virus, while proponents claim that it must happen for the safety of all involved.

In the meantime, meal deliveries also continue even into the Christmas and New Year’s break, with plans to distribute meals on December 21 and 28, giving seven breakfasts and lunches for each child an order was placed for. There are no deliveries for this week, however. It remains to be seen how distribution of the vaccine will affect the closures.