Roanoke City School Board says no to changing COVID-19 plan for now

The plan approved in August brought elementary students back two days a week

ROANOKE, Va. – On Tuesday night, the Roanoke City School Board met for more than three hours to determine its next steps for getting students back to the classroom. And after a 4-3 vote, they’ve decided to stay the course, which brings elementary students back just two days a week. The board agreed to reassess the situation at its meeting later this month.

“Certainly we are always looking at the health and safety needs of our staff and students, but also considering the academic, social and emotional needs as well," superintendent Verletta White said of the board’s decision.

The board considered bumping the two days to four days for students in Pre-K through first grade, although decided against it based on current COVID19 cases in the community. Secondary students remained fully virtual under both the original and considered plan.

Allison Poff is a teacher for the city and came to the meeting to share her concern.

“As a school board I ask you are you willing to risk the life of even just one student to send them prematurely back to school for just 18 days of instruction," Poff said.

School leaders also showed off cleaning equipment and air filters being utilized across the division.

Both the board and superintendent are concerned about student performance. White said she’s beginning to see some indicators of academic slide.

“We do give credit to our parents, teachers and students for working so hard to make sure that there isn’t that slide, but we are assessing and we’re watching and monitoring each and every day," White said.

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