Roanoke City Schools prepares to return elementary students to the classroom

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke City Public Schools is moving forward with its hybrid schedule for grades K-5, two in-person days and three online.

“There’s a lot of excitement, but I’m not going to deny that there’s a lot of concern out there as well,” said Roanoke City Public Schools Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Justin McLeod.

The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts announced that Roanoke City, among other school districts (Roanoke County, Alleghany County, Craig County, and Salem City Schools), is listed in the highest risk metric for school reopening, meaning there is an increasing trend of COVID-19 transmission.

To ease parents’ minds, the district has released videos, daily, on social media of the precautions being taken.

Monterey Elementary’s nurse gives COVID precaution demonstrations (Courtesy: Roanoke City Public Schools Facebook)

“I am somewhat concerned, but at the same time I think it’s so important that they get back to in-school,” said Stephanie Moon Reynolds.

Reynolds is a grandparent of a Roanoke City Public Schools second grader, and for the first nine weeks, she’s been helping her granddaughter with virtual learning, while mom and dad are at work.

“I have found, just like most parents, it’s very frustrating because of the interactions she doesn’t get,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said she’s excited for her granddaughter to get that in-person learning, and even though there’s a risk she trusts the school district.

“Especially our early learners, we are deeply concerned about them learning virtually,” McLeod said. “Those are crucial years.”

For the third nine weeks, which doesn’t start until January, schools officials look to transition to four days of in-person learning for all students, and currently, that’s still the plan.

Roanoke City Public Schools’ Current Re-Opening Plan (Courtesy: rcps.info)

“…but we are prepared to pivot as we go, as need be,” McLeod said. “I think with COVID, I would say nothing is set in stone.”

McLeod says the district is looking to parents and guardians like Reynolds to help instill those safety practices when students come home from school.

Reynolds already has a plan.

“We are looking at giving her her own sanitizer, her own Lysol wipes,” the Roanoke City Public Schools grandmother said.

“It’s important, and we need to set those expectations now,” McLeod said.

Because buses will be taking elementary students to and from school, there will be changes to the free meal pickup and delivery system.

Roanoke City Public Schools has those updates under the operations tab on their re-opening schools page.

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