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Botetourt County Public Schools plans early-release Wednesdays

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 3:04 PM EDT
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FINCASTLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Botetourt County Public Schools will end the school day two hours early each Wednesday, beginning October 20.

The school district cites scheduling problems related to COVID-19 as the reason.

Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Russ said, “Given the high community transmission rates, the shortage of available substitutes, and the resulting impact in our schools, our teachers have been covering classes during their planning periods while balancing an increased workload to keep their in-person and remote learners on track. We are making this change to our school calendar to provide staff with additional time to address these unique circumstances. I sincerely thank you for your understanding, flexibility, and efforts to support our remarkable instructional staff!”

The change will impact October 20/27, November 3/10/17, and December 1/8/15.

The goal is to resume the normal weekly schedule when students return for the Spring semester Wednesday, January 5, 2022, but the district says it may be necessary to reevaluate the schedule at that time based on COVID and quarantine numbers.

Dr. Russ says teachers are juggling this increased workload while also trying to bridge the learning gap for students who struggled with virtual instruction

“All teachers in this profession right now...They’re just getting swamped. And unless people are doing that job, they simply do not understand it,” adds Dr. Russ.

Although this may relieve the teachers, the burden of childcare every Wednesday afternoon will be shifted to parents.

The district further says, “We wanted to get this information out quickly to provide families several weeks to make arrangements. The YMCA after-school program is already prepared to accommodate this change, and we have asked our principals to contact the after-school programs that serve their schools.”

Marshall Fedolfi, Branch Manager, for the Botetourt Family YMCA says they’re prepared to help ease that burden and will be sending staff to local elementary schools by 12:15 for after-school programs.

“We do have to stay within a certain ratio, so certain schools have more kids registered currently than others but if we see that looks getting close to where we are we’ll look to add in more staff,” says Fedolfi.

The Y’s after-school program is for kids 5-12 years old.

Parents will have to register their children. Click here for more information.

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