School Board Approves November 2nd Closing / Creates Covid Dashboard / Brings Back In-person 3rd Grade Instruction

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SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES CLOSING SCHOOLS ON NOVEMBER 2

The Roanoke County School Board has approved a proposal to close schools on Monday, November 2 as a way to express appreciation to teachers and staff for their hard work during the pandemic.  As a result of this change, schools will revert to the regular academic schedule for Wednesday, November 4, with students in grades PK-3 attending in person and students in grades 4-12 learning remotely.

“Our teachers and staff have been going above and beyond during this pandemic.  We wanted to give our teachers a long weekend to have a chance to relax and recharge,” said Mike Wray, chairman of the Roanoke County School Board.

School already were scheduled to be closed on Tuesday, November 3 for Election Day.  No instruction (in-person or online) will take place on November 2 or 3.

RCPS LAUNCHES COVID-19 DASHBOARD

In an effort to keep parents, students and staff more informed about confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in school facilities, Roanoke County Public Schools has launched a new COVID-19 dashboard at www.rcps.us/coviddashboard.  The dashboard reports confirmed positive COVID-19 cases by school over a one-week period as well as the total number of district-wide confirmed positive cases reported each day.

“We wanted to be as transparent as we can be so that our parents, staff and students are informed about Coronavirus in our schools,” said Dr. Rhonda Stegall, executive director of administration for Roanoke County Public Schools.  “We are thankful that, so far, we have not experienced any outbreaks, nor any transmission in our schools and we’re working hard to keep it that way,” Dr. Stegall said.

“We also want to remind parents, students, staff and our entire community of the need to remain vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Stegall noted.  “Anytime, people are outside their homes, we encourage everyone to maintain six-foot physical distancing, whenever possible, and to wear masks and wash their hands.  Also, people should please stay home if they are sick or experiencing COVID symptoms.  This is the only way we’re going to help prevent the Coronavirus from entering our schools and potentially impacting instruction,” Dr. Stegall added.

HYBRID PLAN EXPANDED TO BRING THIRD GRADE STUDENTS BACK TO FULL-TIME IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION

The Roanoke County School Board has given its support to a plan to bring third grade students back into the classroom for full-time in-person instruction beginning October 26.

“From the beginning, we’ve said our instructional plan is an expandable plan, and now we’re expanding it,” said Dr. Ken Nicely, superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools.  “We have been operating in this hybrid model for more than a month and we’ve identified ways to more effectively utilize our learning spaces to allow us to bring third grade students back into the school full-time, while continuing to adhere to public health guidelines, especially six-foot social distancing,” Dr. Nicely added.

As part of this expansion, students who currently are participating in 100-percent online instruction will not be permitted to switch to in-person instruction until the start of the second semester at the earliest.  Further, some third-grade students may be changing teachers as additional staff are brought in to accommodate more classrooms.

In addition to third-grade students returning to the classroom, all fourth- and fifth-grade students who currently receive daily special education or English learner services will return to in-person instruction four days per week (Wednesdays excluded).

At the secondary level, new “hybrid help days” are being added on Wednesday mornings for those students who may need some extra instructional help or additional in-person time to complete missing assignments.  Schools will identify those students who may need additional assistance and will invite them to attend a hybrid help day.  A grab-and-go lunch will be available.

“Our middle and high school students and teachers are working very hard in the current hybrid instructional model.  There are some students who are struggling and could use some additional in-person help.  These hybrid help days will be a great resource for teachers to invite students to come to school for either some additional in-person help or a space where students can work to complete missing work,” Dr. Nicely said.