Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta planning for the start of school amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta planning for the start of school amid the COVID-19 pandemic

SHENANDOAH VALLEY, Va. (WVIR) - Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro school administrators are making plans for the ’20-‘21 school year.

Thursday afternoon, the Staunton School Board voted during a virtual meeting to move the first day of school back two weeks to August 18, joining Waynesboro and Augusta County Public Schools. This allows an extra two weeks to train teachers and principals on how to operate under phase three of the Governor’s plan to reopen Virginia.

Augusta County’s school board voted to approve phase three reopening plans Thursday night. Waynesboro Superintendent, Dr. Jeffrey Cassell, shared details with the School Board Thursday night during a meeting at Waynesboro High School. Staunton’s Superintendent talked about similar efforts earlier in the day.

All three schools systems are looking at the same plan. Families would have the option to keep their children home for strictly virtual learning or have a hybrid of remote and in-school learning.

Mondays would be for deep cleaning and planning with no students in the build. Some students would go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the other half would go on Wednesdays and Fridays.

“We have a plan that has a lot of moving parts. There are a lot of unknowns. We are just going to lay out a simplified approach and take it day by day and make the best of it,” said Chairman of the Augusta County School Board Nicholas Collins.

Staunton Superintendent, Dr. Garett Smith, says it will be important to get teachers and principals comfortable with how things work.

“Movement in hallways, temperature checks, wellness health screenings, getting off the buses, and entering buildings, rules for using the bathroom, and how we’re gonna go through lunch lines, and how we’re gonna feed children, all of these things... recess,” stated Smith. “All of these things will need to be worked on before we can open school.”

Administrators and teachers in Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta will work to keep students six feet apart, requiring masks when that’s not possible.

Staunton issued a full draft of the plan to families Thursday night. Augusta County and Waynesboro are expected to do the same on Friday.

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