Lynchburg students won’t be back in school until October, board says

Pre-K through 12th grade will learn remotely full time until then
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 1:29 AM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Students in Lynchburg won’t be going back to in-person classes until October. The decision was made Tuesday night by the Lynchburg School Board, citing the explosion of coronavirus cases in the city in recent days. Several board members said they couldn’t live with the risks of sending kids back to school, even part-time.

The decision means all students, Pre-K through 12th grade, will be learning remotely for the first nine weeks of class, though board members say that could change, if the number of cases in the city goes down.

“Last week I was concerned. This week I’m more concerned,” said district superintendent Dr. Crystal Edwards.

The board’s decision comes just one day after health officials warned COVID is “ravaging” the city. Board members said that rise in cases shows, for now, schools can’t be opened safely.

“As a parent of two daughters, one of whom is type 1 diabetic, this is what is going to be best for our students,” said board chair Dr. James Coleman.

Under the plan, all instruction will still be given by Lynchburg teachers. Pre-K through second grade students will learn remotely with a program called See Saw.

“Parents and guardians will act as partners in their students’ learning,” said newly-appointed assistant superintendent Amy Pugh.

For the youngest students, Pugh says parents will have to help kids log in and go through lessons, especially since some may not be able to read well yet.

Grades 3-12 will be using Google Classroom, and will do so on devices provided by the district. Wifi will be available outside certain schools.

When learning remotely, students will be able to talk to their teachers through Zoom calls, or on the phone, and special tutoring session may be available for some.

When and if students come back in person, there will be screening outside school buildings, and every facility will be cleaned daily, including with decontaminating misters. Parents and teachers are also encouraged to use flow charts provided by the district to decide whether they or their kids should go to school.

If anyone tests positive, the district says it will consult closely with local health experts, and will close down classrooms, or entire schools as needed.

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