With last-minute change, Franklin County opts for “cautious” school reopening plan

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 12:36 AM EDT
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ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WDBJ) - School reopening plans are moving forward in Franklin County, but not in the way many parents may be expecting. The Franklin County School Board made some last minute changes Monday night, and approved what some called a more “cautious” approach to bringing students back.

Under the plan, pre-K through second grade students will be back full-time, five days a week. So will special education students.

Grades three through twelve will be online only.

“It won’t be like spring,” said assistant superintendent Suzanne Rogers. “So when people talk about the difficulties they had in spring, I think every school division was just doing what they could.”

This schedule might be permanent, or it might not. The board plans to meet every Monday between now and the start of school August 10 to discuss the plan further.

The district’s original plan had all students in class two days a week, and learning remotely the other three. The district could shift to that model later in the year, but the board gave no indication when or if that might happen.

Masks were also hotly debated during Monday’s meeting. The board decided to strongly recommend, but not require them, for students.

“I’m a firm believer in face masks, but I’m also a firm believer in not getting sued,” said Julie Nix.

While the board approved the plan unanimously, some raised concerns, including the impact that continued remote learning will have on students.

“It’s affecting them long-term, and we may have to make some really tough decisions. Tougher than what we’re doing tonight,” said board member Arlet Greer.

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