RADFORD, Va. – What do you do when you’re a working parent and suddenly have to find two weeks of supervision for your child? That’s the reality for some parents in Radford.
The 2022-2023 school year will start two weeks later than planned and was announced a week before, which changed plans for everyone – including administrators.
The school board spent all Tuesday in retreat to finalize details.
Superintendent Robert Graham said they waited until the last possible second before making the tough call.
“We want to make sure that when we open schools that all of our buildings are ready for our children, so our environment is safe but also welcoming and inviting,” said Graham. “For our community, we have partnered with the three local childcare organizations here, and they’ve all been extremely supportive.”
Graham said that Grace-A-Child Radford, Radford Child Development, and R.O.C.K. Club made concessions for families.
“There is a lot of need for childcare in the New River Valley. Unfortunately, most places are extremely full at this point,” said the director of Grace-A-Child, Meaghan Eaton-Spangler. “A lot of parents have been scrambling to get their kids in care.”
With the original start date so close, a lot of families may have already secured after-school care.
Eaton-Spangler suggested that parents should make sure their child’s spot is still secure as some places have policies regarding the duration of held spots.
And Construction at McHarg Elementary is wrapping up. Graham expects limited maintenance to remain once school starts.
Wires were still exposed and flooring needs to be finished in Blenna Patterson’s classroom.
The 30-year teaching veteran is a technology and STEM instructional specialist who works with all grade levels.
“The delay is also letting us have better conversations in this new building about what would we do in the event of an emergency; how would we keep the kids safe; what things do we need to change a little bit,” said Patterson. “We’re actually going to have some practice drills. We have time for that now.”
And with inflation causing school and living essential prices to soar, Patterson said the two extra weeks would give families and teachers more time to find funds and cross things off their supply lists.
Graham said all employees have returned to work and will get paid, and that meals will be prepared beginning Monday and will be delivered by bus drivers.
For more information, you can call your child’s school.