Roanoke City students return to school virtually

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 5:08 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As parents and students are readying for the school year, district leaders are preparing for a mostly virtual semester.

Most students will attend classes online, at least for the first nine weeks. “When we get more into it, the students and teachers will be thinking, ‘we can do this or we can do that,’” said Archie Freeman, III, principal at William Fleming High School.

Freeman says despite the distance, his students are still excited for the new back-to-school. “Students have been excited about that and the ones that are coming back into the building are feeling really excited,” said Freeman.

District leaders say around 500 students will be back in classrooms this semester, spread throughout different school buildings for social distancing. “They’re mainly special education, English language learning and maybe some students at risk for not graduating,” explained Justin McLeod, the director of marketing and public relations at Roanoke City Public Schools.

Temperature checks and face coverings will be required for students attending in-person.

Although challenging, Principal Freeman says he knows his students will overcome this school year. “We’re going to attack those challenges, being positive, thinking outside the box, being creative. And this is giving us another opportunity for faculty and staff to really think outside the box in innovative ways, using the technology, using their creativity to make sure all students are still successful in their learning,” said Freeman. “We wish we could have more back in the school, but right now, due to the pandemic, CDC and VDH we have to do the best that we can to keep everyone safe.”

To help parents adjust, the district is hosting a virtual “Parent University” this week, where parents can learn more about the online platform.

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