New information was released this weekend regarding how individual localities plan to address the statewide school closures that go into effect Monday.
These new details come fast on the heels of Gov. Ralph Northam’s announcement Friday that all K-12 schools across Virginia will shut down for at least two weeks, through Mar. 27, in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Updated information and additional details are available on most individual school systems’ websites or on their Facebook pages.
In Roanoke, Roanoke County and Salem, officials have said they intend to use school buses to deliver meals and instructional packets to students.
In Roanoke County, breakfasts and lunches will be available at school bus stops starting Monday and at some schools beginning Tuesday. On Wednesday, the district will begin delivering instructional materials to the homes of students without the internet.
County students can find more information at: rcps.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=4184.
“This is an unprecedented situation and we are all working to maintain the continuity of education for our students,” Roanoke County Schools Superintendent Ken Nicely said in a release.
Roanoke County also announced over the weekend that its libraries and all parks and recreation facilities will be closed at least until March 29.
In Roanoke, administrators released similar plans to deliver lunches, breakfasts, and instructional materials via bus routes starting Tuesday. Parents and guardians of city students should expect a robo call at noon Monday with information and further instructions.
Additional robo calls will also be used to notify parents and guardians before the bus reaches its stop, the city said, and it plans to use further robo calls, social media and its website to share information as needed.
Printed materials will also be available for students without home internet or personal devices. The city said it is also working with Congregations in Action to provide food to students on weekends as well.
A release issued by the city over the weekend advised parents to establish a routine for students during the closure, including making sure they wake at an appropriate time and have a space in the home where they can work each day. Mental health resources will be made available for students during the closure, the release said.
Roanoke’s libraries will also close during the school shutdown, it was announced this weekend.
Information for Roanoke students is available at: rcps.info.
Salem officials said late last week that details on the plans to deliver food and instructional materials will be available by 5 p.m. Monday. The Salem schools’ website now includes a dedicated page for information specific to COVID-19: salem.k12.va.us/covid19.
School officials in Botetourt County are posting news on social media at facebook.com/Botetourt CountyPublicSchools.
In the New River Valley, Montgomery County Public Schools has also established a coronavirus-centric web page: mcps.org/covid19.
According to a Sunday post on its Facebook page, Montgomery County intends to deliver meals to bus stops approximately four hours later than students’ usual pickup time. Elementary and secondary routes both will run, with buses playing music to announce their arrival.
The notice warns parents that staff members distributing the meals will be wearing gloves as well as masks, and asks that they prepare younger students who might be alarmed by that.
Montgomery County bus stops can be found at mcps.org/bus, but those picking up meals should add four hours to the normal pickup time that is displayed.
The Pulaski County School Board will take up plans for distributing meals and lesson plans on Monday, with deliveries starting Wednesday, according to its Facebook page. The system said it will provide meals for anyone 18 and under on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the school closure. Sign-ups for those services will be available sometime Monday.
Additional information is available at facebook.com/pulaski countyschools, or through the Pulaski school superintendent’s office at 994-2519.
Franklin County school officials said Sunday that, starting Tuesday, breakfast and lunch will be available by drive-thru pickups at each elementary school location, as well as Benjamin Franklin Middle School, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
While Franklin County teachers will not be introducing new material during the closure, officials said some instruction will be available online, by phone or through print-outs. Parents of students in grades 3-12 who need an electronic device to access instruction can get one from their respective school, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or may call their school to make other arrangements.
Staff writer Claire Mitzel contributed information to this report.