According to Roanoke County Public Schools their Return to School plan was always “designed to be flexible – able to expand or contract as conditions allowed.”
In late October 2020, the plan expanded bringing back third grade students for full-time in-person instruction. Beginning January 25, the Return to School plan will again expand with fourth grade students returning to in-person instruction five days a week.
To facilitate this expansion, all fourth grade classes will be 100% online on January 21 and 22 to allow staff time to prepare classrooms for additional students.
Fourth grade students who currently are receiving 100% online instruction have the option to continue with 100% online instruction or switch to full-time in-person instruction. The deadline to switch to in-person instruction is January 15. The county notes that there may be some changes in teachers in order to implement this expansion.
In addition, all students in grades 5-12 currently on the hybrid schedule with a daily Individualized Education Program (IEP), receive English language services, or currently are failing a class will attend school in-person four days a week beginning January 21. Wednesdays will continue to be online-only days.
In keeping with current recommendations from public health experts, students will be placed at desks spaced at least six-feet apart. Students also will be required to wear masks or facial coverings, including on the school bus. Parents are reminded to review the daily health screening checklist that was sent home at the beginning of school (www.rcps.us/covidchecklist) and keep children home if they are sick or meet any of the other criteria listed in the checklist.
“Our primary goal is to make sure our students are receiving a quality education and the best way students learn is being in the classroom with a teacher to the maximum extent possible under public health guidelines,” said Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Nicely. “I want to thank our fourth grade teachers for being flexible and working to help find a way to bring more students back to school full time,” Dr. Nicely said.
“One way we are accomplishing this expansion is by temporarily turning our elementary school gyms into classroom spaces in several schools were no other option is available. This was not a decision we made lightly. Physical education is an important part of a student’s overall learning and we will have alternative ways for students to remain active without the school gym. I want to commend our elementary physical education teachers for being adaptable and helping us bring fourth grade students back to school full time,” Dr. Nicely said.