Rockingham County School Board discusses back to school plan

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 12:13 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Rockingham County School Board discussed what new changes and policies it would take to get students from the county’s 23 schools to experience some in-person learning this fall.

Changes would include health checks for staff and students, adhering to social distancing guidelines, and requiring face coverings for middle and high school students where social distancing cannot be maintained. Staff will also be asked to wear face coverings.

RCPS is planning a start the school year in a “transition phase” where 50 percent of students will attend two times per week in an A/B rotation.

“Half of our students in those grade levels would be designated for A day, which would be Monday and Thursday, the other half which would be B day would be Tuesday and Friday,” Superintendent Dr. Oskar Scheikl said.

Wednesdays would not be an in-person school day and instead allow time for collaboration, outreach, mediation and allow teachers to plan for remote learning. Teachers will design learning activities for students to complete in the three days they are not in school.

Scheikl said they could make adjustments based on family needs, like allowing siblings to attend classes on the same days.

PreK, kindergarten and first grade would attend four days each week. There is the consideration for special education level two and sheltered English-language learner students to attend four days each week, as well.

“The transition should be for more or all of our students to be in the building, but early on we want to make sure that we understand how our students and staff operate with less capacity in the building and then to increase capacity as it is appropriate,” Scheikl said.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to drive students to and from school, if possible, but students taking school transportation would be expected to wear a mask. Only one child per seat unless students are from the same household. Buses would be disinfected after each run.

Dr. Scheikl said some families who are not comfortable with students returning to school just yet can commit to 9-week fully virtual learning unless RCPS returns to a normal schedule with all students in the building five days a week.

School officials plan to continue coordinating with other school divisions and have ongoing conversations with health officials.

The proposals discussed by board members on Tuesday will be voted on at the next school board meeting on July 13.

For more information on the July 6 school board meeting, click here.

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