DINWIDDIE Co., Va. (WWBT) - Tuesday, during an in-person school board meeting, Dinwiddie County’s School Board voted unanimously to pass a series of recommendations that will allow parents of middle and high school students to opt for in-person hybrid learning beginning Oct. 5.
County Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston says the decision is driven by science and data with recommendations provided by the Virginia Department of Health on how to enter this next phase of reopening school safely.
“Certainly we all believe that reopening schools is the right thing to do. We certainly know that virtual learning is not the right choice for everybody," said Weston.
According to the plan, in-person classes will be two days a week on Mondays and Thursdays, or Tuesdays and Fridays, with the virtual instruction in between.
The superintendent said reopening will be staggered for different grade levels. Sixth and 9th-grade students will be the first to return to schools the week of Oct. 5 to ensure that new students have a proper orientation to their schools. A week later, 7th and 10th-grade students will begin hybrid instruction on Oct. 12, followed by grades eight, 11 and 12 - which will go back to the classroom Oct. 19.
The school board says it’s staggered the return in order to give the school system time to monitor the incubation period of COVID-19, which can last anywhere from five days to a week, in order to switch gears back to virtual learning again if cases of COVID-19 begin to show up in the schools.
During this time, virtually learning will still remain an option for parents of students who prefer that method.
Pre-K through 5th grade went back to the classroom for four days a week for parents who pre-selected to have face-to-face instruction for their children Monday, Sept. 21.
“I’ve been a big proponent for getting kids back in school. I know, unfortunately, we have to start really small, but that’s so that we can finish big,” said 1st District School Board Member, Jerry Schnepf.
The school day for middle school students will go from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., while high school will go from 7:40 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. This was done to ensure that once middle and high school students - who take the bus to and from school - are taken home, the buses can be sanitized before they are used to pick up the elementary students who have school days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Meal options for students are still being fleshed out. All students will receive breakfast and lunch the days they report for in-person learning, with options being finalized for feeding those students during their virtual days
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