School districts around Roanoke Valley moving forward with increased in-person learning

Back to School

(Photo: Courtesy Pixabay)

(WFXR) — Public schools around the Roanoke Valley — including Franklin County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, and Salem — are moving forward with their plans to increase the number of days students spend in the classroom in the coming weeks.

Franklin County

During a meeting on Monday, March 8, the Franklin County School Board voted to bring all PreK through 12th grade students — except for students in virtual academies, who will remain virtual through June — back for in-person instruction five days a week starting March 29.

The school division says there are a number of considerations behind this decision:

  • In-person instruction has a greater instructional impact on struggling learners.
  • Adolescent mental health needs are increasing.
  • A building audit determined there are more than 140 sections that cannot provide a minimum of three feet for social distancing, so social distancing will occur to the greatest extent possible.
  • Sneeze guards will be used in all classrooms.
  • Masks will be required and face shields will be provided for students and staff who want additional coverage.

Meanwhile, school officials say there are 146 seniors at-risk of not graduating on time, but Franklin County High School will offer an academic contract for these seniors that will allow them to attend in-person classes five days a week starting on Monday, March 15.

You can read the updated version of the Franklin County Public Schools Return to School plan by clicking here.

Roanoke City

In Roanoke City, the following groups of students will begin or continue four days of in-person instruction on Monday, March 15:

  • Elementary school students
  • 4-year-old preschool students
  • Students with disabilities participating in the special education setting for more than half of their day
  • Level I English Learners
  • Middle and high school students at Noel C. Taylor Academy
  • Students at Forest Park Academy (small groups on Fridays)

However, in order to allow elementary schools to prepare for face-to-face learning, Roanoke City Public Schools’ elementary students will have asynchronous learning days on Thursday, March 11 and Friday, March 12.

Then, on March 29, designated groups of middle and high school students are also set to begin four days a week of in-person learning. However, the rest of Roanoke City Public Schools’ middle and high school student population is set to continue with two days a week in the classroom for the rest of the school year.

For more information about in-person instruction plans within the Star City’s public school system, follow this link.

Roanoke County

After the Roanoke County School Board voted last week to bring all remaining hybrid students in grades five through 12 back to the classroom four days a week.

Roanoke County Public Schools says all fifth graders will have virtual learning days on Thursday, March 11 and Friday, March 12. Then, on Monday, March 15, fifth grade students currently on the hybrid plan will start attending in-person classes four days a week.

Meanwhile, all middle and high school students currently on the hybrid plan will begin four days a week of in-person instruction on March 22. However, March 18 and March 19 will be remote learning days for those secondary students.

For those who are have been attending entirely virtual classes there are two options.

  1. Remain 100% virtual.
  2. Inform your school by Monday, March 15 about transitioning to in-person instruction four days per week – but only if space permits.


Salem City Schools notified parents last week about plans to bring hybrid students in grades three through 12 to the classroom four days a week starting on March 22. Then, during a meeting on Tuesday, March 9, the Salem School Board approved that updated instructional model.

School officials say the 100% online option will still be available to current remote students and students not comfortable with increased in-person attendance.

However, students who would like to switch from remote to hybrid instruction or vice versa should notify their school by Wednesday, March 10.

You can read the revised Return to Learn plan presented to the Salem School Board on Tuesday by following this link.

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