By Matt de Simone
Last week at the Botetourt County School Board meeting, the board approved that on March 1, students in grades 3-12 will return to in-person learning four days a week. Families still have the option to participate in 100 percent remote learning. Wednesdays will remain as remote learning days for students, virtual planning days for teachers, and sanitation days for schools and transportation.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction as far as seeing a decrease in the number of COVID cases, but we are a long, long way from being beyond COVID,” Superintendent Dr. John Russ stated. “We are still going to have our masks on every time, all the time when we are in the building.”
Russ also pointed out that there will be no changes on the county’s social distancing guidelines. However, in some cases, maintaining the “golden standard” of staying six feet apart will be difficult to control in some classrooms and on school buses. Russ made sure to mention all the effects of bringing back all returning students.
He commended the students, school faculties, and administrators for doing a great job upholding the standards set in regards to mask-wearing and social distancing.
Currently, students in pre-kindergarten through second grade are physically in school four days a week. Students in third grade through 12th grade run a hybrid schedule spending two days in-person and two days learning virtually.
Last Friday, employees of local school systems including Botetourt County braved the icy roads to receive their second round of COVID-19 vaccines at the Berglund Center in Roanoke.
“It was so well organized even with the weather complications,” one Botetourt County teacher said. “We received a text message informing us not to worry about appointment times and to arrive whenever it felt safe for us to be out on the road.”
By the time students in grades 3-12 return in-person for four days out of the week, the roughly 676 members (70 percent) of the faculty and staff of Botetourt County Public Schools will be medically cleared from contracting the virus.