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Bonsack Elementary to close through Aug. 31 due to multiple COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Based on guidance from Virginia health officials, Bonsack Elementary School in Roanoke County will be closed through Tuesday, Aug. 31 because of multiple coronavirus cases and symptomatic students and staff at the school.

This news comes after Roanoke County Public Schools‘ coronavirus dashboard reported 12 student cases and three staff cases from the elementary school between Sunday, Aug. 22 and Thursday, Aug. 25.

In addition, the dashboard shows two regular classrooms at Bonsack Elementary were closed under the direction of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on Wednesday, impacting 38 students.

Matt Barr, father of a third-grade Bonsack Elementary School student, said, “Obviously we don’t like to see the continued spread. We certainly don’t like to see it with our younger population for sure. I don’t like what I’m seeing. I’m not concerned so much. It’s just a sad situation all around and it’s really unfortunate that it’s trickling its way down to an elementary school level.”

According to the school district, all students and staff will transition to remote learning from Friday, Aug. 27 through Tuesday, Aug. 31 while the VDH assesses the extent of potential transmission of COVID-19 within the school community. 

All students will be issued a laptop for at-home use. If any parents or students need technical support during this remote learning period, email bontechsupport@rcps.us

Barr said, “It is a difficult situation for parents, guardians, and the like who are working and on short notice have to make arrangements for childcare and also to educate for these few days until things get cleared up a little bit.”

“We have been prepared for this possibility,” said Dr. Ken Nicely, superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools.  “We are very empathetic to the hardship that quarantining and temporary closures cause for students, families, and staff and we are here to offer support.  We are grateful to have resources in place to continue with the process of teaching and learning, regardless if that instruction is remote or in person, and will work with the health department to re-open the school as soon as possible,” Dr. Nicely said.

Depending on clearance from the VDH, school officials say Bonsack Elementary is set to reopen for in-person instruction on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Parents may pick up three days of meals — breakfast and lunch — from 9:30 to 10 a.m. on Friday, but meals should be refrigerated promptly after pickup.

If necessary, there will be an additional meal pickup time will be from 9:30 to 10 a.m. on Sept. 1.

“We request parents call the Bonsack nutrition manager at 540-562-3900 extension 42040 to sign up for meals,” Roanoke County Public Schools said in a statement on Thursday, Aug. 26. “This is not required but does help the school determine the number of meals to prepare. Meals are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Roanoke County school officials remind parents to review the daily health checklist and strongly urge parents to keep children home if they display any symptoms as noted in the checklist. 

For the latest information on COVID-19 cases at Roanoke County Public Schools, click here.

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