Numerous schools across southwest Virginia reopen for in-person, online classes this week

Back to School

(WFXR) — Whether in-person, online, or through some combination of the two, students from more than a dozen school districts around southwest Virginia are set to kick off the new school year this week.

Alleghany County Public Schools

While Alleghany County Public Schools’ first day — which is set for Wednesday, Sept. 9 — and all other Wednesdays will be virtual for all students, the students who chose a blended learning model will be divided into Group A and Group B for their in-person classes.

Group A is set to attend in-person classes Mondays and Tuesdays then learn remotely Wednesdays through Fridays while Group B will learn remotely Mondays through Wednesdays then attend in-person classes Thursdays and Fridays.

For a look at how the hybrid learning system will work at Alleghany County Public Schools, see the video below.

Amherst County Public Schools

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, Amherst County Public Schools says elementary students will all attend in-person classes Mondays through Thursdays — with slightly staggered schedules between Group A and Group B — and online classes on Fridays.

Meanwhile, secondary students will be split into Group A and Group B that will attend school twice a week and learn remotely three times a week on rotating schedules.

Click here to read Amherst County Public Schools’ “Road Map to Return.

However, students attending Amherst Remote Academy will spend their first three days of school being contacted by, introduced to, and instructed by their teachers on how to access their online classes.

Bedford County Public Schools

According to Bedford County school officials, Bedford Connects Remote Learning will kick off on Tuesday, Sept. 8 for students who chose to pursue 100% remote learning.

Meanwhile, the hybrid learning model will break down between the various schools as follows:

  • Elementary schools and Bedford Primary School start Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Middle schools start Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • High schools start Thursday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

School officials say PreK through sixth grade students will have in-person instruction five days a week — with times slightly scattered to allow for social distancing — while seventh through 12th grade students will attend in-person classes at least two days a week through a blended learning model, which means each student will be assigned a learning coach.

In addition, the Bedford County School Board voted 6-1 on Aug. 13 in favor of requiring face masks or coverings in areas where social distancing is not possible. The decision to wear face coverings in classrooms will be at teachers’ discretion. However, temperature checks will not be required.

For more information on Bedford County Public Schools’ reopening plan, click here.

Campbell County Public Schools

While Campbell County Public Schools’ PreK and Kindergarten students already started classes on Sept. 1 and first through fifth grade students started on Sept. 2, officials say sixth through 12th grade students — as well as students enrolled in Campbell County Online Learning Academy — will resume classes on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Elementary students are set to attend in-person classes Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meanwhile, Campbell County Public Schools says secondary students’ schedules will vary per school, but students will attend in-person classes two days a week from 8 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. However, school officials say students will attend classes five days a week through a combination of remote and face-to-face classes.

To learn more about Campbell County Public Schools’ phased learning plan, click here.

Covington City Schools

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, Covington City Schools will have students attend a combination of in-person and online classes through grouping and a block schedule.

For a complete list of tools students will be using for hybrid learning, click here.

Franklin County Public Schools

Franklin County Public Schools says all students will start school on Tuesday, Sept. 8 on a hybrid schedule, unless the students have opted for 100% online learning.

The hybrid schedule allows half of the students to attend in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday while the other half attends on Thursday and Friday, but the remaining three days will be used for online instruction.

School officials say the self-contained residential, day placement, and ECSE students will be attending four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). Families also can opt for 100% online virtual learning.

Franklin County school officials say all students and staff are required to wear cloth face coverings. While students with legitimate medical reasons to not wear the mask will be given an exception, officials say students who do not comply following warnings and communication with parents will be moved to 100% online learning.

Halifax County Public Schools

Halifax County Public Schools voted Aug. 10 to start classes virtually and reevaluate the status of coronavirus and virtual learning by a vote of 6-2.

The virtual model is in place for the first nine weeks. The first day of school is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 8, with the virtual model to remain in place for the first nine weeks.

However, the school system could transition to a hybrid AB schedule in the second nine weeks. 

You can watch the full school board meeting in this Facebook LIVE video.

Highland County Public Schools

With such a low number of coronavirus cases in Highland County, public school students have the option of either attending in-person classes — with social distancing, sanitation, and scheduling modifications in place — or attending virtual classes starting Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Follow these links for a guide on virtual instruction and the welcome back policies at Highland County Public Schools.

Lexington City Schools

Students with Lexington City Schools are set to start school on Tuesday, Sept. 8, with options for both in-person and virtual learning models

For more information about reopening plans, click here.

Montgomery County Public Schools

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 8, Montgomery County Public Schools says students will have the option of returning to school either on a hybrid schedule or online.

For elementary students, Group A will go to school from 9 a.m. to noon four days a week — with Wednesdays set aside for cleaning and student/teacher workdays — while Group B goes to school from 1 to 4 p.m.

For middle and high school students, they will be split into two groups that will alternate morning and afternoon sessions so they can participate in two in-person classes every day then engage in synchronous remote learning at home.

Pulaski County Public Schools

According to school officials, the students attending school from Tuesday, Sept. 8, through Friday, Sept. 11, will be divided into groups alphabetically:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 8: Last names A-D
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9: Last names E-K
  • Thursday, Sept. 10: Last names L-R
  • Friday, Sept. 11: Last names S-Z

For the weeks of Sept. 14 and Sept. 25, students will be scheduled to attend school as follows:

  • Monday and Tuesday: Last names A-K
  • Thursday and Friday: Last names L-Z

Pulaski County Public Schools’ plan — which was proposed on July 14 — would begin the school year on a tiered system, where elementary and high schools would be on the same schedule. School officials released the following checklist for the Phase III reopening plan for elementary and high schools:

  • Step 1 (Sept. 8-11): 25 percent of enrolled students attend school each day of the week based on the alphabetical order of their names. If there are no confirmed cases within a school during the first week of Step 1, the school will move to Step 2.
  • Step 2 (Tentatively Sept. 14-25): 50 percent of enrolled students will attend school Mondays and Tuesdays, staff will conduct online lessons while the school buildings undergo deep cleaning on Wednesdays, and 50 percent of enrolled students will attend school Thursdays and Fridays. A school will move to Step 3 after going two full weeks with no confirmed cases within the school.
  • Step 3 (Tentatively Sept. 28-?): 100 percent of enrolled students will attend school Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with Wednesdays still reserved for virtual lessons and deep cleaning.
  • Step 4: A full return to school five days per week, but the parameters for Step 4 will remain undetermined until receiving additional guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

However, the middle school is set to be on a different system due to the delayed construction on the new school, which means middle school students would participate in virtual learning from Tuesday, Sept. 8 to Sept. 18, before beginning in-person classes the week of Sept. 21.

Rockbridge County Public Schools

Public school students in Rockbridge County are set to start classes on Tuesday, Sept. 8, but they will be assigned to different learning models based on their grade level.

For PreK through first grade, students will attend in-person classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with Wednesdays designated as virtual days for student support services and extra cleaning.

As for second through 12th grade, students will have a 100% online learning format for the first nine weeks of the year, officials say.

Rockbridge County Public Schools has a copy of this year’s calendar and FAQ’s online.

Wythe County Public Schools

On Aug. 13, Wythe County Public Schools announced the school board approved a plan to move the first day of school from Monday, Aug. 24, to Tuesday, Sept. 8.

In addition, from Sept. 8 to Oct. 26 — which was scheduled to mark the end of the school year’s first quarter — officials say the district will follow a 100-percent virtual instruction model for all students. However, there were reportedly no other changes made to the 2020-2021 school calendar.

After the Wythe County School Board receives an update at their meeting on Sept. 10, school officials say they will determine if they need to take any additional actions beyond those introduced in August.

Wythe County Public Schools provided a digital learning handbook for both students and parents, which you can access by clicking here.

(Photo: Courtesy Wythe County Schools).

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