Staunton City Schools going all virtual for first semester of learning

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 11:17 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton City Schools are changing course. Monday night, the school board voted for virtual-only learning for the first semester of school and pushed back the start date by one week.

The first day of school is now August 25 to allow families time to adjust to the late change.

The School Board was unanimous in its decision Monday night after Superintendent Dr. Garett Smith listed four reasons why this would be the safest option.

First, Smith named staff concerns about safety saying their feeling are real and must be honored. It also would be difficult for teachers to provide high-quality education with two models of learning, as parents choosing virtual-only learning grew to 36%.

In his third reason, Smith said local health officials recently shared support of a four-day quarantine for books and papers used in the schools, which would be an enormous undertaking for teachers.

Lastly, a University of Virginia COVID-19 model projects a statewide upward peak of cases in the first week of September was concerning.

"This is going to be a challenging year. There's no way to sugar coat it. As we navigate through the uncertainties this is a time to come together and not pull apart. I urge our SCS family to join together and support one another," stated Smith. "No one has this virus completely figured out, so putting safety and health above all else right now looks like the best way forward."

Preschool students and some students with disabilities will continue with the in-person learning model four days a week.

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