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Roanoke County offers more in-person opportunities

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 5:46 PM EST
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke County buses will soon be hauling fourth grade students five days a week for in-person instruction.

“We know that most students do best when they are having daily interaction with their teacher,” Superintendent Ken Nicely said.

Roanoke County Public Schools announced the changes over the weekend after carefully looking at the resources across its elementary schools.

“We had to very carefully figure out what space and what staff we had left in terms of what else we could do,” Nicely said.

The district is getting creative with where some of these classrooms will be set up.

“Definitely using cafeterias, starting to use gym space. It’s a trade-off. It is not ideal; we don’t like to have to do that, but it is in the name of doing what is best for most of our students and trying to get those fourth graders in as many days as possible,” he said.

Until COVID guidelines change, the district will not be able to add any more grades full-time, Nicely said.

“We’re pretty much maxed out, which is what we want to do. We looked very carefully; could we do fifth grade as well, and really it was going to exceed our resources,” he said.

While there will be challenges ahead, the district says it has learned a lot and is ready to tackle the year to come.

Fourth graders will be welcomed back to school Jan. 25 after two days of 100% virtual classes. Those two days will give teachers time to set up their new classroom configurations.

Students in other grades also have the option for more in-person schooling. Students struggling with classes who are enrolled in a daily Individualized Education Program or receive English language services will get the opportunity to go back in-person four days a week starting Jan. 21.

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