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Lynchburg-area school divisions work to create plans for fall reopening

Lynchburg-area school divisions work to create plans for fall reopening

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Officials in Lynchburg-area public school divisions said they are working to create plans regarding summer and fall reopening that take into consideration the recommendations the Virginia Department of Education provided them Tuesday.

Virginia can reopen its schools in phases, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.

Lynchburg City Schools posted a news release Tuesday evening announcing plans to work toward reopening. LCS said it has formed a task force, called the LCS Dream Team, comprised of teachers, administrators and other representatives who are developing plans for the division’s future instruction and safe return to school.

According to the release, LCS schools will “most likely” stagger student schedules and use both remote and in-person learning opportunities in the fall. The division will also implement social distancing both in schools and on buses.

LCS also announced the division’s year-round elementary school, William Marvin Bass Elementary School, will follow the same 2020-21 academic calendar as all other schools in the division.

Bedford County Public Schools said in a statement Tuesday it has conducted several focus groups with students, families, employees and other division stakeholders. Members of the division’s task forces are considering the guidelines and recommendations from the state as well as focus group responses in order to create a plan to reopen Bedford schools, the statement said.

In a message to Appomattox County Public Schools’ staff Tuesday, division superintendent Annette Bennett said the division’s Reopen and Recovery Task Force will work with stakeholders in the schools’ community to address concerns in all areas of reopening.

“There are many factors to consider, many questions to answer and many tasks to be completed in the coming weeks as we develop our plan,” Bennett said. “As our plans are solidified, I will update ACPS employees and the community. Your patience and continued support is greatly appreciated.”

Clay Stanley, assistant superintendent for instruction for Campbell County Public Schools said the division has created a School Reopening Task Force that is exploring reopening options and models. Stanley said the task force will review the most recent information from the Virginia Department of Education and the state superintendent and begin working on a reopening plan that follows that guidance.

“We are more than excited to get our students back in the school buildings as we miss them and can’t wait to work with them again,” Stanley said.

Stanley said he expects the division to have a clearer idea of how fall instruction will look for Campbell County students and staff around mid-July.

Amherst County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Arnold said social distancing, student and staff screening, cleaning, hygiene and face coverings will be among the new normal when students return to school settings.

A committee of Amherst educators is focusing work in six areas: academics, operations, finance, human resources, technology, and social and emotional learning.

As of press time Tuesday, Lynchburg City Schools had not released information regarding Northam’s Tuesday announcement about fall reopening.

Officials in area school divisions said they will release additional updates as more information becomes available and plans are solidified.

Justin Faulconer contributed. Jamey Cross covers education. Reach her at (434) 385-5532.

Jamey Cross covers education. Reach her at (434) 385-5532.

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