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‘This is our opportunity’: Botetourt County principal urges togetherness in Facebook post

Message has received a lot of positive response

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – A Botetourt County principal has a strong message for the community ahead of the upcoming school year.

Colonial Elementary principal Tammy Riggs is asking people to think about what they can do to help students adjust to the changes that will be in place.

On Monday, she posted her message on the school’s Facebook page, and it received a lot of positive response.

In her post, she wrote, in part, “...What if businesses, churches, civic leagues, gyms, neighborhood friends and anyone else for that matter, worked with schools and parents to partner up to make it through this terrible situation TOGETHER instead of people blaming each other, bad mouthing each other, and getting angry and showing nothing short of hatred toward those of us trying so very hard to make lemonade out of the sour lemons we have been given.”

She’s also asking people to show their support for the school and the district at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

Riggs said the response to the post has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It gives me hope that people can start thinking, ‘How can I help somebody else, even if it inconveniences me or it gives me more work to do. How can I help?‘” said Riggs.

READ THE FULL POST BELOW:

“A Word From Mrs. Riggs...

Soooooo...hear me out...long post - NOT sorry:

This COVID-19 stuff messed everything up and has crashed into our lives without warning. In the spring, when it happened, we were all gracious and giving and worked together - cried about it, missed each other, communicated online in ways we had never done, and teachers reinvented their jobs in a split second with no assistance - they just figured out how to stay connected to the students they loved and they were praised for it. Teacher appreciation was on steroids! And as a principal, I was so proud of my staff for all that they did and the way they volunteered for food service among other things. Soooooooooooo...

Fast forward a few months: We are trying to figure out a way to get our kids back to school safely. Not just to provide a warm body to be in a classroom with students; but a real qualified teacher teaching students new content and continuing their education as best we can. And the only way we can responsibly do that is to figure out a way to do it while doing our best to follow the guidelines from the CDC, VDH & VDOE. What a monumental task!!! We brainstormed all different options and arrived at a 2 day/week option or something similar in many public school divisions. It's really the best we can do but we get slammed for simply trying to do our best by our students AND our staff. Is this what educators really want? NO Is this what school boards really want? NO Unfortunately, we are in a lose-lose situation and we are trying to make the best of it. Children lose a good portion of their in-person education and instruction AND parents lose as they try to figure out how to provide childcare for their kiddos for the time they are not in school AND try to teach their children the remote learning portion of their education - at least for a while. IT IS HORRIBLE. No question. Just ask any public educator right now - their job responsibilities are multiplying, yet they are paid the same and they will do it with limited resources because budgets were also cut.

So yea - here we are.

BUT WHAT IF...stick with me here...WHAT IF the community rallied around these parents and started thinking outside the box on how they could help these parents out by providing care for some of these kids while parents are working and all the while, working with them on their remote learning. WHAT IF? What if businesses, churches, civic leagues, gyms, neighborhood friends and anyone else for that matter, worked with schools and parents to partner up to make it through this terrible situation TOGETHER instead of people blaming each other, bad mouthing each other, and getting angry and showing nothing short of hatred toward those of us trying so very hard to make lemonade out of the sour lemons we have been given. WHAT IF? This is our opportunity folks. THIS is when we show what we are truly made of.

So I'll just leave you with this: WHAT IF?

COLONIAL PARENTS - many of you have asked what you can do to help us. I invite you to join me at the school board meeting THIS THURSDAY at 6:30pm at CAMS. Come support our school board and school division and partner with us. Gain an informed understanding of the options we were faced with. We are in this together and I would love nothing more than to be sitting with my Colonial family in support of each other.

Have a blessed evening and THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART TO EVERY EDUCATOR OUT THERE DOING YOUR BEST TO FIGURE THIS OUT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE FOR YOUR STUDENTS. AND THANK YOU AHEAD OF TIME FOR THE EXTRA UNPAID TIME YOU WILL SPEND PREPARING TO DO SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE IN YOUR SHORT OR LONG CAREER. YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED FOR A TIME SUCH AS THIS. YOU'VE GOT THIS.

Much Love, Mrs. Riggs”