Roanoke City Schools issue revised proposal for back-to-school plan, most students to participate in online instruction for first nine weeks

Coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Roanoke City Schools’ Transition and Restoration Task Force has revised its plan for students to head back to school later this month.

In the new proposal to the School Board, most students would begin the fall semester on Aug. 31 under virtual instruction.

The plan highlights include:

  • In-person instruction would be available for academically-vulnerable students, including students with disabilities that participate in special education for more than 50-percent of their day as well as Level 1 English learners and high school students from Forest Park Academy and Noel Taylor Learning Academy who may need additional support to help them graduate.
  • After the first nine weeks is over, more students could return to in-person instruction, which may include a two-day-a-week option for elementary students.
  • The overall goal is to have in-person instruction for all students four days a week by January.

Superintendent Verletta White says they had to take the community transmission of COVID-19 cases into account, and how substantial they are. For instance, the original planned called for only 3 feet of space, but now they have to go back to 6 feet because the number of cases in the city are so high.

Superintendent Verletta White says online learning will look different than it did this past spring.

“Our boys and girls will have an opportunity to have facetime with their teachers. They will have assignments that will be graded, attendance will count. So that we’ll have accountability in place,” White said.

In-person instruction will be available for a small group of academically-vulnerable students, including special needs, level one English learners, and those who need extra remedial help.

“Working with our health officials, even with working with small groups of students, if we should have a positive case, we will notify the parents and the staff members who are associated with that student or staff member.”

Superintendent White says the goal is to get the students back in the classroom when it’s safe.

“Of course, I don’t have a crystal ball. And again, we can just be very hopeful that the numbers will come down, especially in Roanoke City,” said White.

“We do have a more densely populated area. So we do have to continue to watch the COVID-19 numbers, take it seriously, wear our masks, stay distant, so we can get our kids back in school.”

The school system plans on monitoring the community transmission and re-evaluating after the first 9 weeks.

The plan will be presented to the school board next Tuesday, August 11 and the board will decide.

View the full 53-page back-to-school plan below.

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