RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — In order to make sure construction projects are completed and students are able to return to safe and comfortable classrooms, Radford City Public Schools has decided to postpone the opening of the school year by two weeks.

Radford City Public Schools Superintendent Robert F. Graham sent the following statement to WFXR News on Monday, Aug. 8:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government offered a number of grants known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief or “ESSER” grants to the Local Education Agencies (LEA) through the State Education Agency (SEA). Divisions could apply for the grants and receive money to support health and safety initiatives, instructional needs, and facility upgrades. Radford City Schools applied for all ESSER grants and received a significant amount of funding as a result.  

Through these grants, the division earmarked monies for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), HVAC equipment, additional teacher personnel and instructional assistants, and a plethora of building upgrades. Luckily, RCPS had already created a facilities priority list and at the top of the list were the repairs and building upgrades to Radford High School and the completion of the renovation of McHarg Elementary. There were other smaller jobs at both Dalton Intermediate and Belle Heth Elementary, but most of the work was concentrated at RHS and MES.

While we hoped we could complete needed repairs and upgrades within the last year and a half, the shortage of workers and the scarcity of products proved challenging, at best. Many projects were delayed due to the reasons above and because some of these initiatives are directly linked to school safety, it became evident last week that RCPS needed to delay the opening so that we could allow workers in the building during the daylight hours to finish up.  

As a result of this delay, officials tell WFXR News that the first days of school in Radford are now scheduled as follows:

  • PreK, first grade, and ninth grade: Friday, Aug. 26
  • Kindergarten, second through eighth grade, and 10th through 12th grade: Monday, Aug. 29

Tuesday, Aug. 30 will reportedly be a regular school day for all students.

In addition, the district says the Open House for Thursday, Aug. 11 has been postponed until the following days:

  • Open House for McHarg Elementary School: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24
  • Open House for Belle Heth Elementary School, Dalton Intermediate School, and Radford High School: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25

According to the superintendent, Radford City Public Schools will share more details about opening day revisions on Wednesday, Aug. 10 following the school board retreat.