Local News

Roanoke County School Board delays vote on start of school year

ROANOKE, Va.  – The Roanoke County Public School Board has delayed a vote on how to start the 2020-2021 school year. No new date has been set for the vote.

The vote was to be held at the July 2 public meeting, to approve or make recommendations to the plan, but the board wants more time to discuss options and allow more citizen input. The July 2 meeting is also being moved to the Northside High School auditorium to allow an anticipated larger-than-usual crowd to attend the meeting.

Planning for the upcoming school year has been complex for local school districts. Roanoke County schools got input from parents, students, faculty, and now, they have a preliminary plan on what this fall could be like.

“Some people have asked, if you start off this way are you locked in for the year? And the answer is absolutely not,” said Superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools Dr. Ken Nicely.

Earlier this month, Roanoke County Public Schools posted a survey for teachers, students and parents on how they should proceed with the up coming academic school year. Superintended Nicely says that gave them a good indicator of where everyone’s head was.

“It was open-ended by design, versus a yes-no kind of thing; it really wasn’t a vote or anything like that. It was just trying to gather information and ideas,” Nicely said.

From those surveys they formed their hybrid plan. Children in Pre-K through 2nd grade will attend school in person every day.

“And we also know at that critical stage, that’s where they’re learning their reading skills, and if they don’t develop those during those first years- that will affect them.

As for grades 3 through 12, they will receive in-person classes twice a week with remote learning the rest of the week. The student body will also be divided into two groups, “Group 1” and “Group 2”. Group 1 will be in school Monday and Thursday with remote learning Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Group 2 will be in school Tuesday and Friday with remote learning Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“If they’re in school, they still have access to their teacher. There’ll be moments in the day that if they need to see their math teacher and it’s not math day, they can still go see them,” said Superintendent Nicely.

Dr. Nicely said the way they have the schedule now, it will make for an easier transition when and if they can have all students back at full capacity or if they have to go completely back to remote classes.

“Imagine a situation in which there’s a second wave, and the state says we have to go back to earlier phases we will be able to do that given the structure we will have put into place- our hope is things will continue to improve,” said Nicely.

Viola Higgins

I’m a mother of 2 little angels that I continuously try to figure out and spend the other half figuring out how to be a great wife. Writing is my passion and I write regularly for the Virginian Tribune and several other national news outlets.

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