Roanoke City students back in the classroom despite neighboring district’s COVID-19 outbreaks

Tuesday was the district’s first day of school

Amid COVID-19 concerns, students in Roanoke are returning to the classroom.

ROANOKE, Va. – Students in the City of Roanoke headed back to school Tuesday for the new academic year. This was the first time students were back in the classroom full time in over a year.

“We have been waiting for this sense of normalcy,” said Roanoke City Schools superintendent, Verletta White. “I think it’s important for our students as well to have this type of structure. We do know that the majority of students thrive with in-person instruction.”

Students’ return comes just as other schools in the region are seeing major COVID-19 outbreaks. But White says the district is focusing on preventative measures.

“So we are trying our best to prevent those kinds of cases by making sure our students are staying socially distanced as much as possible,” she said. “We have desk screens at the desks, you will also see mask-wearing, you’ll see handwashing stations. So we are doing a lot to prevent the virus, the spread of COVID-19”

At Woodrow Wilson Middle School, principal Bradley Jenkins says it’s teachers who are working hard to keep track of students’ every move in the event the school will need to contact trace.

“Their diligence of keeping active attendance sheets, active classroom seating charts in the event that, say Bradley Jenkins were a student at Woodrow Wilson Middle School and tests positive for COVID. We know where Bradley sat every single period of the day. We know who Bradley has moved around with,” he said.

Officials say preventing the spread of the virus in schools starts at home. They’re encouraging parents to check their children’s temperature, monitor symptoms and if sick, stay home.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.