School reopening plan approved

Published 9:57 am Thursday, July 23, 2020

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The Charlotte County School Board unanimously approved the school reopening plan for an Aug 10 start during its monthly meeting Tuesday, July 14. The plan offers parents two options for educating their children.

Parents may choose to have their children remain at home all week and receive remote instruction from their teachers through Google Classroom, or they may elect to send their children back to school two days per week and participate in remote instruction for the remainder of the week.

All students will receive either a Chromebook or an iPad to use for both in-person and remote instruction and technology pickup and training dates for parents are available on the school system’s website.

Robbie Mason

According to Charlotte County Public School Superintendent Robbie Mason, after the first two weeks of school, administration will evaluate the number of students physically present in each classroom and on each bus, as well as local health data, to determine whether some grade levels can return four days per week.

“Priority for students returning to school four days per week will be given to students in the lowest grade levels,” Mason said. “We are excited to prepare for our students to return to school. We wish that students could return every day, but that is not the safest option for CCPS at this time. Our hope is that after two weeks of school we will be able to bring some of our lower grade levels back four days per week, but we must evaluate our classroom and bus numbers after reopening to determine if we can safely do so.”

CCPS has determined the following order of when students will attend school in person and how schools will function:

• Students who have last names beginning with A-J will attend school in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays, while students who have last names beginning with K-Z will attend school in-person on Wednesdays and Thursdays. No students will attend school on Fridays as teachers will use this time to communicate with remote learners and update remote learning lessons.

• Student schedules will be mailed home to parents Tuesday, July 28.

• All CCPS staff will be required to wear face coverings.

• Since students will be seated one per seat on school buses, six-foot social distancing will not be maintained. As a result, all students who ride on school buses and in county cars will be required to wear face coverings.

• Students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in schools. “Wearing a face covering not only protects the student, but it also protects other students and staff,” Mason said. 

• Staff will conduct health screenings for students upon their arrival to school each morning. Temperatures will be taken using touchless thermometers and students will be asked a few, simple screening questions. If a student has a temperature above 100 degrees or shows other symptoms, the parent will be contacted to take the child home and follow the school division’s policy for returning to school after having a fever. CCPS staff will undergo daily health screenings, as well.

• Parents are asked to check their child’s temperature and make sure that he or she is symptom-free before sending the child to school each morning.

• Students who are using the 100% remote option for instruction (at home all week) must call the child’s school one week before returning to in-person instruction to ensure that classroom and bus space is properly considered for the student’s return.

• Parents who plan for their children to ride school buses during the school year are encouraged to have them ride buses on the first day of school both to school and back home in the afternoon. This allows the school system to accurately evaluate the number of students on buses and check bus routes for accuracy.

• Parents will not be able to walk their children into school on the first day, or any other school days, until further notice.

• Any parent who has not returned their survey from last month is encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

• In-person Open House will only take place for students in Pre-K and Kindergarten. Parents of Pre-K and Kindergarten students will need to contact their child’s school to schedule an appointment with their teacher. Appointments will be available Aug 4, 5, and 6. Teachers for grades 1 through 12 will post video messages to their school websites for parents and students to access once student schedules are released to parents.

“I ask parents to please be patient as we execute our plans,” Mason said, now that the reopening plan is in place. “This is unchartered waters for us all and we know that mistakes will be made, but we must all work together to help our students and teachers. I ask everyone to keep in mind that our plans are contingent upon Virginia remaining in Phase 3 and our local numbers remaining relatively low. We may have to close schools and transition to remote learning for all students should circumstances arise during the school year.”