North Cross School buys coronavirus tests, planning for in-person school year

School also planning in-person graduation for its Class of 2020

ROANOKE, Va. – A small Roanoke private school is preparing to welcome its kids back to campus this fall.

North Cross School announced it will begin the school year in September with in-person classes.

Head of School Christian Proctor said the school bought about 6,000 COVID-19 tests to help students and staff counter the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.

“I think the tests allow us to plan for a much more normal school year,” Proctor said. “I think faculty did a fantastic job transitioning to virtual learning on a dime, but even with as well as we did, it’s better to have kids here.”

North Cross School only has about 500 students ranging from preschool through high school, in addition to about 100 staff members. Proctor said the school’s small size was a large factor in the decision to return to campus.

“We definitely operate with some advantages public schools don’t have, and part of that is scale,” Proctor said. “If you’re in a high school with 1,400 kids which is relatively full, it can be hard to find space to spread kids out. If you have bus services -- we don’t have buses -- there could be issues with transportation and social distancing.”

Proctor plans to keep students constrained within small groups based on grade in order to limit any possible community spread.

“We’re fortunate that our school is divided into three divisions in different buildings,” Proctor said. “The goal now is to get groups of students as isolated as we can from other groups.”

While students will not return to North Cross School until September, Proctor said there are plans for an in-person ceremony for the school’s 50 graduating seniors in July.