APPOMATTOX COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — After adding an extra day to winter break and then suspending in-person classes for four days due to coronavirus concerns, Appomattox County school officials came up with a solution in order to accommodate in-person learning beginning Monday.
Appomattox County Public Schools shared a statement about the district’s reopening plans online on Thursday, Jan. 7. A portion of that statement is included below:
“Since the early stages of planning to re-open our schools, we have known that the health of our staff would be the most significant factor for sustaining our in-person learning models. As COVID-19 cases in Appomattox County increase, the school division continues to be impacted directly as our staff and students are exposed to the virus. Returning from Winter Break, we discovered higher than normal staff and students were in quarantine or isolation causing the suspension of in-person learning for the week of Jan. 4-8. Unfortunately, the daily numbers have continued to be extremely unpredictable and the difficult decisions about returning to our classrooms are impossible to make with long term certainty.”Annette A. Bennett, Division Superintendent of Appomattox County Public Schools
Acknowledging that intermittent closings — such as snow days — are unavoidable and daily changes in school schedules are hard on parents and staff members, Appomattox County school officials emphasized the importance of providing a consistent school schedule so childcare and instruction can be lined up ahead of time.
Therefore, even though the school district will reopen to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 11, there will be a temporary change to the schedule and instructional model.
More specifically, Appomattox Middle School and Appomattox County High School will return to their regular schedule. However, Appomattox Primary School and Appomattox Elementary School will shift from attending in-person classes four days a week to two days a week on the same “East/West” schedule as the middle and high school.
Appomattox County school officials say the East versus West designation will be based on an assigned bus number or your home address, but if that raises questions, the designation can be found on the PowerSchool Parent Portal on Friday, Jan. 8.
All Appomattox County public schools are set to commit to this “Split Schedule Hybrid Model” pictured above through Jan. 22.
By doing so, it will guarantee there are enough staff members to cover the student learning and supervision needs while the number of healthy employees is in flux, according to the school division.
School officials say they will monitor the situation every day and — as the end of this two-week timeframe grows closer — they will revisit the possibility of resuming a four-day in-person schedule for PreK through fifth grade students.
“As you know, since the pandemic started, it has been our goal to open our schools to as many students as possible, as often as possible and as safely as possible. We have been highly encouraged that by using the mitigation strategies of social distancing, face coverings, daily health screening, and methodical hygiene strategies, we have been able to keep our students and staff safe inside our buildings. Now, more than ever, these strategies will be necessary at home, in the community, and in our schools. A concerted effort from everyone to practice these strategies in and out of school is needed to protect us from the continued spread of this virus in our community. The reduction of the community spread is critical to our ability to return to the hybrid model with a PreK-5 priority.”Annette A. Bennett, Division Superintendent of Appomattox County Public Schools
You can read the full letter from Appomattox County Public Schools’ Division Superintendent, Annette A. Bennett, by clicking here.
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