Radford News Journal

RCPS hosting virtual re-opening meeting today

Superintendent Robert Graham speaks in one of several informational videos for families regarding the re-opening of school. The videos are available at www.rcps.org.

Heather Bell

RADFORD – School is set to begin for Radford students on Thursday, Aug. 13 and the school system is hosting a virtual re-opening informational meeting on You Tube today, Wednesday, July 29 at 6 p.m.

RCPS has also released a series of videos on the school system’s website, www.rcps.org, explaining various subjects related to re-opening.

In an overview video to families regarding re-opening, Superintendent Robert Graham said “to say this is hard would be an understatement.”

“We certainly appreciate your patience and your flexibility during this time, as everything changes daily and we’re doing the best that we can to provide not only a safe environment for all involved but one that can be benefit and effective once August 13 rolls around,” he said.

Students who opt for in-person instruction will go to school days a week and learn at home three days a week. Half of each school’s student body will attend school in person on Mondays and Thursdays and the other half will attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. Letters have been sent to each family telling students which group to which they have been assigned.

The Rockin’ R’s will have in-person school on Mondays and Thursdays and Bobcats will attend on Tuesdays and Fridays.

RCPS has submitted a Instructional Plan for Reopening ff Schools to the Virginia Department of Education.

“As a result of careful consideration, the main focus of our plan is to return every student who is able to a hybrid A-B staggered learning environment,”the plan reads. “Families with underlying health issues or other concerns will have the opportunity to take advantage of remote learning options. At the same time, we are prepared to revert to some version of virtual learning at a moment’s notice. Several factors were considered as this path to reopening was developed.”

The following are excerpts from that plan,which can be found at www.rcps.org. “COVID-19 has not had as large an impact on Radford City and Southwest Virginia as it has had on other parts of the Commonwealth and the Nation. Our numbers have

started to slowly climb, but according to the VDH website (at this time) Radford City

is not expected to see an increase in infections by September if current mitigations remain in place.

The CDC provides guidance for schools in low transmission areas to consider as they plan to reopen schools. Since Radford is considered a low transmission area, we followed that guidance in addition to the guidance provided by VDOE.

Data suggests that the impact of schools closing in the Spring, combined with the

annual impact of Summer Slide, will have a devastating impact on student

achievement. This impact will be even more detrimental for at-risk students in high

poverty areas.

A survey was administered to parents, staff, and students about their preferred

method of returning to school. When all three surveys were combined, over 64 percent of stakeholders shared that they preferred a fully in-person return to school. Even with 64 percent of the community wanting to return to school fully in-person, the A-B staggered learning environment makes the best sense for Radford City Public

Schools as we still won’t know the impact the returning Radford University students

will have on the increase of COVID-19 cases within the city and our school division. Daily health screenings will be given to all staff and students prior to entering the building and as needed per symptoms. If any questions are answered as yes or a temperature of 100.4 is obtained, they will be refused admittance.

All administrators, faculty and staff are trained in cleaning protocols. Transportation will provide increased cleaning for buses, transport vehicles and frequently touched surfaces. Adequate cleaning supplies will be ordered frequently and maintained in safe and appropriate environments. Additional hand sanitizing stations and hand washing stations will be made available to all students and staff. Adequate student and staff supplies will be provided to minimize sharing. Due to safety protocols we are unable to prop doors open but ventilation systems are operating properly. Automatic watering stations where available, provides a non-touch availability to water. RCPS is currently working on installing automatic watering stations at DIS/RHS.”

Each student will receive a Bobcat bag with a Bobcat bandanna, hand sanitizer, antimicrobial pencils and other personal protection equipment. The re-opening plan was approved by the Radford City School Board on July 14.

 

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