Lynchburg City Schools exploring ways to address childcare issues related to virtual learning


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Lynchburg City Schools are still trying to get to phase two of reopening for the fall. In order to do that, they’ll need a health mitigation plan to decrease the spread of the virus, which the Board plans to address at their meeting on July 7.

At the same time, administrators are working on potential solutions to some pretty common problems they foresee.

“We’re really trying to make sure that the decisions that we’re making take into account the safety of everyone involved,” said Lynchburg City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Crystal Edwards.

Officials with Lynchburg City Schools are still working out the specifics of how much in-person learning can safely take place in the fall.

“Will there be face to face learning,” said Edwards, “face to face and virtual learning, which is a blended model, and will there be an online, completely virtual model?”

Any plan that involves at-home learning has unique challenges.

“One of the things that’s risen to the top is childcare,” said Ethel Reeves, Director of Engagement, Equity, and Opportunity with Lynchburg City Schools, “and not just childcare for our families, but childcare for our employees.”

There are no concrete plans yet, but administrators say they are looking to partner with organizations to host students during the day, like businesses or fellowship halls.

“A student in a particular neighborhood could walk over to that fellowship hall,” said Reeves, describing a possible scenario. “Our staff members could potentially be there to provide some instruction, and they’re getting that instruction more on a daily basis than sitting at home, doing the virtual learning by themselves.”

Edwards says she’s encouraging her team to be flexible.

“If we find out down the line that we can add more capacity, then let’s try to work towards doing that for kids, so it may change.”

Edwards says the goal for the School Board meeting on Tuesday, July 7, will be to finalize plans to get the district to phase two of reopening. The meeting will be streamed online, but it will also be the first meeting back in person, with limited seating.

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