Carroll County Public School Division Superintendent Dr. Mark Burnette released details of the “Return to School Transition Plan” on Tuesday afternoon for A/B hybrid schedule students to return to local classrooms four days weekly.
“This transition plan was developed with input from parents, teachers and administrators through results received from parent/faculty/staff surveys and conversations. Much guidance was provided by the Pandemic Response Teams that were assembled at the beginning of the pandemic and that have assisted in providing direction to our school division throughout this devastating event. Direction in developing this plan was also provided by Dr. Karen Shelton, Director of the Virginia Department of Health, Mt. Rogers Health District,” wrote Burnette in a letter announcing the move. “Much thought and deliberation went into the development of this plan and although it may not meet the individual needs of all our staff, students and stakeholders it serves as a compromise that allows us to provide the best education possible for all our students. All along this journey, we have continued to place the utmost value on feedback. We appreciate hearing and reading the viewpoints of students, families and citizens. We receive positive comments, and we receive pointed comments. We do our best to understand and consider all sides.”
Burnette cautioned that due to the rise of conffirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the region and nationally means the CCPSD must remain diligent in following safety protocols and performing health checks each morning. The plan is subject to change at any point due to COVID-19 safety protocols or Virginia Department of Health requirements.
The week of November 9, A/B Hybrid students in Pre-K, third, fourth and fifth grade students will join the ranks of previously transitioned students in elementary schools. Sixth graders will return at the middle school, and at the high school level eleventh and twelfth grade students will transition back. (The week of October 12, students with disabilities who elected to attend returned to in-person at CCMS and CCHS).For the week of November 23, seventh grade and eighth grade students may join with previously transitioned students at CCMS and ninth and tenth graders can do likewise at CCHS.
In-person instruction will take place Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesdays used as a “Distance Learning Day” to give teachers and staff time for activities, including individualized instruction and for mid-week cleaning of buildings.
“Cavaliers Connected,” a program giving students the option of one hundred percent distance learning, will still be available. These students may be permitted to transition back to in-person learning for the second semester before December 14. (Principals can allow transfer back to in-person learning at other times in extenuating circumstances).
Cavaliers Connected students with failing grades may be asked to return to in-person learning during the first mid-term grading period of the second semester.
“If you have any of the symptoms, stay at home. Although we have quarantined several staff and students throughout the year due to both the virus and other illnesses with similar symptoms, to this point we know of no student-to-student, teacher-to-student, or student-to-teacher transmission in any of our classrooms,” Burnette wrote. “This is due to the collaboration and work of parents, teachers, administrators, custodial and nursing staff that work tirelessly to prevent the spread of this virus. We also realize that this transmission will change as we move forward and that classrooms and in some instances even schools will have to be closed for brief periods of time. We are not alone in this process as school divisions across our region and state are having to make these same tough decisions at this time.”
He stressed again that “face-to-face instruction will look drastically different” with large gatherings of students in the hallways or the cafeteria not permitted. Burnette said social distancing and the proper wearing of masks by everyone in the school buildings is non-negotiable.
”We wear our masks to protect others and expect others to wear their masks to protect us. Hand washing and sanitizing will be promoted in our schools. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of the classrooms, offices, and school buses will be enforced by staff and administration. To make this work, and to stay in school, it will take the collaboration of everyone associated with our school division,” wrote Burnette. “We ask that you continue to support our school system as we move forward and keep us in your prayers.”
Information supplied by Burnette indicates social distancing of 6 feet will be maintained in buildings when possible with masks worn in school buildings or on school buses when social distances are less than six feet. Parents are encouraged to drop off and pick up their children from school if possible to prevent overcrowding on buses.