RCPS Expandable Schedule Plan expands for a third time
Following the successful expansion of the Roanoke County Public Schools Expandable Schedule Plan in October 2020 and again in January 2021, and based on the ongoing downward trend of positive cases in the Roanoke Valley and the very low positive case rate in Roanoke County Public Schools, the Roanoke County School Board has expressed support for a third expansion of the Expandable Schedule Plan by bringing back all current hybrid students to in-person instruction four days a week (Wednesdays will remain virtual learning days).
Beginning March 15, all current hybrid plan students in 5th grade will begin a four-day schedule. To facilitate this expansion, all fifth grade students will receive remote instruction only on March 11 and 12. All middle and high school students currently on the hybrid plan will begin four days a week in-person instruction starting March 22. March 18 and 19 will be remote instruction only days for secondary students.
As before, those students who currently are enrolled in 100% remote instruction have the option to remain in 100% remote instruction or may switch to in-person instruction (space permitting). Any 100% remote students wishing to switch to in-person instruction must inform the school by no later than March 15. Similarly, those students currently on the hybrid plan that wish to switch to 100% remote instruction can do so (must commit to 100% online instruction for the rest of the school year) and must inform the school by March 15.
In order to accomplish this expansion, students will be placed at desks that will be spaced at least three feet apart, with six feet apart preferred when possible. As before, masks are required at all times except during lunch. Student lunch times will be staggered as needed to maintain a minimum of six foot physical distancing.
Throughout the school year, the percentage of positive cases in Roanoke County Public Schools has remained very low, never exceeding three-percent even during the height of winter. Further, the percentage of student or staff exposures has not exceeded one-percent during the same time frame.
“Since the first day of school, our ultimate goal has been to bring all students back for full-time in-person instruction and we have steadily been making strides to meet that goal,” said Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Nicely. “All this time, we have remained committed to following the guidance of public health experts,” Dr. Nicely added.
“The CDC and VDH have maintained that six-foot distancing should be observed to the extent possible, but a minimum of three-foot physical distancing is acceptable so long as students and staff are wearing masks. Now that a significant number of our staff and many at-risk members of our community have received vaccinations, combined with the continuing decline of cases in our community, we are adopting the more flexible CDC and VDH guidelines, which would allow us the space to bring back our hybrid students for in-person instruction four days a week,” said Dr. Nicely.