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On Friday morning, Pittsylvania County Schools (PCS) released the draft of their reopening plan for feedback from the community. 

The plan, which is on the division’s website, outlines a four-day in-person school week for all pre-kindergarten through third grade students, students with disabilities, and English learning students. The main instruction for these students will be reading and math.

Fourth through 12th grades would attend school two days per week in two groups. Remote learning would take place on days students are not in school.

Fridays would be reserved for teacher planning, contact with virtual students and deep cleaning.

According to the plan, new instruction will be provided via a hybrid model of face-to-face and remote instruction, and assignments will be graded for all students.

Students without internet connectivity will be provided take-home paper packets for remote learning.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Jones said the plan came together after the Governor's announcement of potential school reopening guidelines in early June. Since then, several different teams, including instruction, employee, schedule, health, special education, hygiene, virtual learning, and social/emotional wellness, lead by assistant superintendents and level directors.

Those teams consisted of administrators, teachers and parents.

The schedule team put together three different proposals for a plan, and one was presented to the Pittsylvania County School Board on Thursday evening during a work session.

"The one that we presented last night was the one that we thought would work best for Pittsylvania County," Jones said. "I say best because there's nothing that's going to be like having every child at school everyday like we've operated on for many years. This is clearly different based upon the constraint of the governor's order around social distancing and masks."

In addition, the school board has discussed changing the academic calendar to start on Aug. 17, opposed to Aug. 10. The school board must approve that calendar change.

In the classroom setting, social distancing will be promoted. Breakfast will be a grab-and-go style, and lunch will be picked up and eaten in the classroom. For pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, recess will be 40 minutes per day.

Students will be subject to health screenings before getting onto the school bus or entering the school.

Jones said there will be limited capacity on buses, but that a survey of parents indicated that parents would be willing to help the division by driving their children to school. With the social distancing guidelines of six feet, buses would have a capacity of eleven students. However, if students were to wear masks, they could sit three feet apart, bringing capacity to 22 students. Normally, buses carry 44 students with two students per seat.

According to Jones, it is the division's hope that as the school year progresses, they will be able to bring all students back to school on a regular schedule, sooner rather than later.

The plan set to be approved by the board on Tuesday evening. The division is currently allowing for feedback on the plan ahead of that meeting.

"We want to hear from our parents, and we're going to use that information to build a better plan if that's needed," Jones said. "...I'm sure the information will be helpful to further revise our plan so we have a working plan for everyone."

Those interested can view the plan and provide their feedback on PCS’ website, www.pcs.k12.va.us.

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