School System Seeks Creative Solutions As More Distance Learning Demands Arrive | Education


As Halifax County sees an increase in COVID-19 cases and days before school starts for some students in Halifax County public schools, HCPS officials have received an influx of calls from parents asking to opt for their children in virtual learning for the 2021-22 school year.

Currently, they have 236 students enrolled in virtual learning out of the approximately 4,691 students enrolled in HCPS, with 63 of the virtual learners being at the elementary level and 183 in secondary schools.

Virtual Virginia, a program run by the Virginia Department of Education, and a program used by elementary schools at Halifax County Public School begins their school year on Tuesday.

The first day of the Halifax County Public School school year is August 30.

“We will continue to see if we can come up with creative solutions,” Hastings said of the registration change requests.

While elementary-level virtual learners use the state-run curriculum, virtual learners enrolled in Halifax County Middle School and Halifax County High School will be taught by teachers from the Halifax County Public School.

Local teachers will teach either in an in-person classroom or in a virtual classroom.

Virtual classes have a cap of 25 students, according to Hastings, and over the past few days, she has submitted late enrollment requests to Virtual Virginia on behalf of affected parents.

“Please be patient,” Hastings asked of parents who have recently been concerned about sending their children to school for in-person learning. “We get a lot of calls and it takes a lot of calculation. Give us a little grace as we take it one day at a time. We are looking for as many solutions as possible.

She also noted that Virtual Virginia had not guaranteed her that every late registration request would be accepted.

For high school students who wish to change their request for in-person learning to virtual learning for the upcoming school year, Hastings said she is working with guidance counselors and administrations in each building to see what they could do.

It must have a certain number of students to create additional virtual classes in secondary school. Ideally, she would like to have around 20 students per class.

Originally, parents were asked to notify HCPS by June 16 if they wanted their children to attend school virtually for the 2021-2022 school year.

Hastings understands that health data has changed since then, and she sympathizes with the parents.

Halifax County recently witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases and Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital sounded the alarm in back-to-back press conferences a week apart to urge the public get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now, school staff are doing their best to create a master schedule that fits all children enrolled in Halifax County public schools.

Responding to the influx of calls this week for virtual learning, Dr Lineburg said, “We will do our best to help you.”

He also wanted to remind the public how they demonstrated blended learning last year with “very little transmission” of COVID-19.

The superintendent said school staff are trained in mitigation strategies, contact tracing and have health and safety protocols in place to help protect children.

“Those of us who teach love children, and I don’t think you can ever find a safer place than a school. We will do our best to keep children safe. We treat them like ours, ”Lineburg said.

Maintenance and Operations Director Steve Brumfield reminded attendees of the August Halifax County School Board meeting that they plan to use electrostatic foggers to disinfect large areas in schools, to have hand sanitizer stations in high traffic areas of each school, to have cleaned or replaced all air filters for MERV-13 and to have ensured that all custodians have all the necessary products. appropriate cleaning, equipment and chemicals they may need.

Hastings also wanted to remind parents of the benefits of face-to-face learning by saying “nothing can replace face to face”.

She also encouraged parents to contact the principal of their child’s school, who she said could help allay concerns by providing health and safety protocols for this individual building.

Additionally, as more families request virtual learning, school officials have announced changes to the format of their open house.

Open House for students enrolled in Halifax County Middle School and Halifax County High School is set for Tuesday from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Open House for students Enrollment in Halifax County elementary schools is Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sinai Elementary, Meadville Elementary, Clays Mill Elementary, Sydnor Jennings, Scottsburg Elementary and South Boston Early Learning Center will host drive-thru events.

Cluster Springs Elementary School staff are asking that only two adults greet each student and that everyone enter through the front doors. Families attending the open house at CSES are asked that only one family enter one child’s classroom at a time and quickly leave the building after visiting the child’s teacher.

South Boston Elementary School will be hosting an open-air open house with K-2 teachers seated at the front of the building next to the Parker Avenue entrance. SBES teachers in Grades 3 through 5 will be located at the rear of the building in the bus roundabout off Houghton Avenue.

SBES will also only allow two adults per student during the open-air open house.

At Halifax County Middle School, students with last names ending in AF are asked to attend from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. students whose last name ends with GO are invited to visit from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and students whose last name ends with PZ are requested to attend from 4.30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Face masks are mandatory and no more than two people must accompany a student to the HCMS Open Day.

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