Parent Town Hall 9/30/2020

good evening everyone thank you for joining us my name is verleta white i am the proud superintendent of roanoke city public schools thank you so much for joining us here this evening i know that we have everyone from parents teachers students community members on the line with us tonight and as i always say you could be anywhere else but you have chosen to be here with us tonight and for that we thank you we are so appreciative of your support um and i just would like to also thank you if you are parents thank you for hanging in there with us for our students thank you for your hard work and your diligence and yes i am going to remind you throughout to keep studying study study study study uh many of you know that i’ve been in your classrooms and i’ve pointed at the screen study study study so i want you to keep doing that to our teachers you know how much we love you we support you and that’s why we’re here tonight this town hall meeting is in support of you because you invest in your children you invest in education you invest in public education and we want to thank you for that we want to thank you for your support we want to thank you for your patience we want to thank you for your diligence and thank you for working with us we know that at the beginning of this calendar year we did not know that this pandemic would hit we had no idea that we would be in this situation but we are moving forward one step at a time baby steps so that we can keep everyone safe because health and safety are our top priorities right now and we need to make sure that yes we are ensuring the academic performance of our students we want to make sure that we are not discounting the social needs of our students as well the social emotional needs and we we just want to make sure that we are providing a high quality instructional program for our kids but in a safe environment and so we just want to start by thanking you for showing up thanking you for working alongside us as we figure it out together as a community tonight we’re going to go over what’s working well and what’s not working so well we have a few questions that have been submitted ahead of time you can submit questions all throughout the town hall meeting and yes i have a whole folder of feedback here i just wanted to show you and we go through each and every one this is important because as you know we have a transition and restoration task force and so we have to make sure that we’re taking your feedback back to the task force so that we can make our way forward i would be remiss if i didn’t introduce um our outstanding team who’s here to support you in every way and so i’d like to introduce them at this time they’ll be joining me tonight as you submit your questions and uh they’ll be helping you to answer some of those questions um i’d like to introduce them at this time so first i’d like to introduce chris perkins he is the acting chief operations officer so hi chris i’d also like to introduce kathleen jackson she’s our chief financial officer hi kathleen i’d like to introduce dr julie drury she’s the executive director for school improvement dr timothy hahn is the executive director of student services joyce hatcher executive director for human resources also greg johnston executive director for k-5 instruction haley poland executive director of special education tasha steele executive director of equity and school counseling tasha justin mcleod director of public relations and marketing michael trussell director of data and analysis and brit simmons technology support coordinator brit is kind of like the wizard behind the curtain he’s making all the technology work for us uh tonight and many of you have been in contact with him so we thank our technology team again before we begin i just want to take a moment to thank everyone again

for your hard work and for working alongside us like i said before to make sure that we are providing a high quality instructional program for our students and also to pay my way forward so again no one has a playbook on this so we can learn from each other we take your suggestions we look at what’s best in practice we move forward with what we know is best in terms of pedagogy and instruction for our students we listen to our teachers but tonight it’s also about listening to all of you so that we can continue to pave our way forward i just um i know that this year’s theme is we will rise and you are certainly rising to the occasion and for that i do thank you again i am going to go over uh the first quarter i want to make sure that we’re hearing from you as far as what’s working well and what’s not working so well um i know that may we have been out and about we’ve visited schools we’ve had various town hall meetings we’ve had parent town hall meetings we’ve had staff town hall meetings and we’re going to continue to do so because your perspective matters your opinion matters your experience matters and if you are students here tonight your experience especially matters so i want you to tell us as well how everything is going for you and then we’ll go over the second quarter and what the plans are we have an approved plan that was approved by our school board on august 11th and that plan calls for the students that we have coming in for the first quarter to continue to come for the second quarter so that means students who spend more than 50 percent of their day in special education programming they would also continue in the second quarter to come in person students who are our level one english learners they would still continue to come in in person in the second quarter students in our graduation cohort would continue to come in the second quarter in person they have been i specifically identified for additional support and those who are coming in the first quarter will continue to come in the second quarter as well but for the second quarter the approved plan also calls for our elementary students pre-k to five to come in person two days a week now this is an important uh component to note because i know that all of us want kids back in school we want all of our students in school and our teacher by teacher will tell me this on a daily basis as i visit schools you know we want our kids back we need to see our kids right and we we want kids back in school we just have to make sure that we’re doing so safely and that we are taking into account the pandemic right now in covet 19 and making sure that everyone stays safe in the process so with that we have to make sure that we are accounting for physical and social distancing i’d rather say physical distancing because the social part we absolutely need so the physical distancing of six feet we have to make sure that we’re have the ppe the personal protective equipment that we need to keep everyone safe we also have to make sure that we are had the cleaning and sanitizing disinfecting um materials on hand and that we have the space and the staff in order to do it all and to do it all well we also have to take into account where we are covered wise so remember in the beginning that well throughout the the throughout this time the covert numbers continue to fluctuate we’re pretty much still flat but those numbers regionally continue to fluctuate regionally right now for our region we are still in the high range as um the run up times noted even in today’s paper there’s an uptick in cases and if i could make my plea to everyone who is listening right now and watching we do we can’t um we can’t get complacent when it comes to our mitigation kind of factors so if i could just put in a plug for four masks here’s mine so that we can get kids back in school sooner rather than later let’s not get too relaxed and we talk to our health officials on a weekly basis on a weekly basis i know that i personally tell talk to our local health officials about where our numbers are we are still in the city

we still have high levels of transmission a community transmission however three weeks ago we were in the moderate range so we we know that there is hope we just have to make sure that we’re not becoming too relaxed and we want to make sure that we’re getting our students back into school sooner rather than later so that’s second quarter again um elementary students two days a week in person and with that we have to keep in mind that the other three days there is a trade-off here if you watch the school board meeting uh the last week you know what i’m going to say it is very difficult as a teacher for me to have a group of students in front of me and to have a group of students online we’re seeing some of that stretch right now as many of our some of our learners are in person right now and we have students online it is a bit it’s a huge stretch for our teachers to be able to handle all of that at once and to do it well we want to make sure that the instruction that is delivered is high quality instruction that it’s instruction that’s engaging it’s not just a placeholder but it’s actual instruction engaging instruction where kids know what they’re learning and why they’re learning it they’re able to be engaged in various ways independently sometimes yes but they need to engage in conversation and we need to make sure that we are properly evaluating where kids are and so i always say we need to teach to our kids eyes and not to the clock so in doing so we have to provide the time the space and the effort to be able to do that and allow our teachers to do what they do in the best way that they can and so to do that that means that on the other three days that would mean predominantly asynchronous instruction which means more independent study now i have heard from some of our early childhood educators saying the three days a week that would be predominantly asynchronous might be a little difficult for our five and six-year-olds and i’m definitely going to take that feedback back to our task force because i think that’s an important information for them to know as we move forward so keep that in mind um as i go through and i just want to make sure that we are understanding the entire timeline here that we’re talking about and then i promise we’re going to get to your questions i know that our time um is you know we only have a finite amount of time together here tonight so the majority of this time is about you but i just want to make sure that we all have a baseline of understanding again i’ve been over the first nine weeks second nine weeks in-person instruction from the first quarter that i mentioned as well as pre-k to five alternating two days a week also for the third nine weeks the third quarter students four days per week monday through thursday and students in the virtual academy may continue keep in mind that the virtual academy particularly for elementary students will be available so if you choose the virtual academy and there i know that there was a question that this time will the virtual academy be available uh for the year do you have to sign up for the full year right now we are taking this quarter by quarter remember i said baby steps so i know that sometimes it’s hard to plan that way but we are trying to do things as in as timely a fashion as we can because we know that you have to plan we know that you have to arrange daycare we know that you have to arrange um extracurricular activities and we know um what you’re up against so we’re trying to get information out as soon as possible but this connection is so vital and so important and so don’t give up on us stay stay with us as we continue to communicate and keep our lines of communication open and then certainly for the last quarter we’re hoping to be back on track with five days a week and certainly uh the virtual academy particularly for elementary students as we move forward so with that um if you please stay to the end as i do have some updates in terms of the intent form and all of that i’ll share all of that at the end of our session here tonight and i’ll ask my team not to let me forget that but we’ll talk about some bus times and we’ll get into all of that but i want to get right to the questions because that’s why you’re here tonight and again continue to submit those questions to us and uh we’ll take those along the way i’m going to start with this one that has come in and it says

will a 100 virtual learning academy be available through rcps for the remainder of the school year if not will arrangements be made for students to transfer to the virtual academy or another similar program doctor jury would you like to take that one or mr johnson yes for uh thank you miss white for elementary schools the virtual academy will be available 100 for students to do that for the entire school year that is an option we want to make sure that people understand that and that it will be available for the elementary schools yes and for secondary it’s it’s going to be a stretch because we have so many teachers that teach singleton courses like we have a physics teacher that teaches at both of our high schools and that’s the only physics teacher we have for a lot of our middle schools we have a band teacher or cu or a choir teacher an orchestra teacher that might teach at two different schools and so it’s it’s going to mean that we will probably have to have uh parents um giving us a really solid intent that’s going to be a binding intent soon so that we know who intends to bring their kids back in person and who intends to keep them at home so that we can redo all of our master schedules which will probably mean changes in teachers um it’s it’s it’s going to mean a a lot of work to make sure it happens but we will do what it takes indeed we will um because certainly the work that we have to do to pales in comparison to what our parents um have to do on a daily basis so we will do whatever we need to to make it work um the second question here our parent our principals visiting virtual classrooms to monitor teachers and students i know that i have personally seen principals monitoring what teachers and students are working on together mr johnston dr drewery would you like to also chime in here yes um principals do have the ability and they are doing it they’re looking at monitoring the instruction through microsoft teams they’re able to go on there when the team’s meetings are live they’re also able to monitor the not only the teachers but the students they’re also able to go onto the canvas pages and to see exactly what the students are seeing and they’re able to monitor that the third way that we’ve seen principles monitor instruction is actually physically going into the classrooms where teachers are on site and watching their instruction uh occurring so yes they are able to do that and they are doing it and i will second that for uh secondary i’ve seen principals who actually attend the class because they’ve heard that there’s a student that’s not doing what they’re supposed to be doing and so they’ll get on there and say um you need to be doing what you’re supposed to be doing they’ve been going to classrooms and and seeing the teachers actually instructing and and they have been going into all of the canvas rooms and seeing what their teachers have been posting and watching actual lessons being taught through teams so it’s it’s it’s been uh it’s been a fun ride i have to say that many of our teachers have shared with me that they’re so proud of our students for showing up in the way that they are that they are showing up on time they’re submitting their assignments and so i know that i speak for so many of our teachers who want to give kudos to our students out there for showing up and for producing the work um that that they are assigned so good job kids doing good job um so the next one we did get ahead of time um so i’m going to ask mr perkins to to help me with this one i know he has some information here what is the task force looking for number wise to get our children back into school so and i’ll just start here mr perkins you can jump in so it’s not a particular number right because as we know and we’ve seen those numbers kind of fluctuate we are looking at trends over time we are in constant communication with our health officials as well making sure that we understand where we are as a region as well as where we are by locality in terms of our city and our numbers we also have to keep in mind the cases that are coming up for us as a school system we know that we have had some positive cases we’ve had um we’ve had teachers and we’ve had staff members and students as well who may be exhibiting some symptoms where they’re not quite sure if they’re positive or not but we still have

to to act on that right so we have to keep in mind our numbers within roanoke city public schools as well as our regional numbers as well as by locality as well so mr perkins would you like to take us through uh where we are yes i’ll be happy to um and the good thing is we did have this question ahead of time and i’m going to actually share a screen and walk you through a new um decision making tool that the virginia department of education and the virginia department of health launched on monday for us to use so i’m going to use numbers as of september 30th to walk you through how we’re using this decision making tool so the first thing or the first core indicator that we want to look at is a school system and remember this is just one part of the many things we look at but is the total new cases per 100 000 within the last 14 days for the city of roanoke we fall in the 374.3 cases over the last 14 days per 100 000 in our city so that would place us in the highest risk for transmission in schools the second core indicator that we look at using this decision making matrix is the percent of positive tests during the last 14 days for the city of roanoke that is 5.8 percent uh the third core category or indicator that we look at is the implementation of mitigation health mitigation strategies for us we fall in the lower risk because we have implemented all five strategies recommended by the cdc that is face coverings social distancing hand height or hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette cleaning disinfecting and contact tracing with our local health department so the next question is well so what do we do with that so if you look at this we’re kind of stretched across from low to high on those indicators so we go to the next part of the tool that then indicates that we would fall in the moderate to higher range and we would refer to phase 2 guidance and we would go through and we’d look at our building capacities our staffing our how we would social distance on buses to help inform our decisions thank you so much now this question just came in and i’m just um i’m going to to read mr perkins i’m i’m going to turn to you for this one as well how are you going to ensure the students follow social distance you want to talk about our principles or um working on that ahead of time yes so we worked with a group of architects and they laid out uh circulation plans for us our buildings are all marked where we know how to run the flow of students between classes uh how to social distance within the classes all of those were mapped out for us all of those are provided to our principals they we then did executive staff walkthroughs to make sure that everybody was on the same page on how we could social distance now it does boil down to the routines that we create and remember on that decision making process i mentioned inconsistency human nature people are drawn to each other we’re very communal and so it’s going to take a routine of our principals our teachers our staff members our students parents helping us with this reminding them keep your distance wear your face coverings and that’s how we’ll be successful it takes all of us to work on those routines especially the more students we add into school thank you for that now this one says this question says how will we make sure that our teachers are not overwhelmed if they are required to teach virtual students and in-person students so this is a really good question and just let me make sure that um i take some time to clarify here especially when we’re talking about bringing students in two days a week at the elementary level we are going to have to have a virtual academy as well where teach where students who have chosen fully virtual we will be taught by virtual academy teachers who are going to apply for that process so that a teacher is not trying to do both and again we are we’re we want our teachers to be able to to do what they do well to be able to focus and so it’s hard to have that type of stretch so we’re really trying to sort that out which means that if you are choosing the virtual academy option it will be likely that you are not going to have your child’s teacher that you have right now that you will be assigned a virtual academy teacher but that way the teachers who are teaching students in person will be only teaching students

in person and then virtual academy teachers will have their virtual classroom if you will so i just hope that that clarifies we’ve gotten several questions about that from our teachers and i want to make sure that we are clearing that up as far as the plan there for for our teachers the next um question has to do with this one just came in about who is future accountable and certainly that’s our principles and um shout out to all of our principals out there we know that we value our principles and we thank our principals for their leadership it is part of a principal’s role certainly to evaluate the operation of the entire schoolhouse first of all and to make sure that they are accounting for the general operations of the schoolhouse but they are also instructional leaders and that means that they have to observe instruction meet with teachers certainly make sure that that instruction is is um paramount and they monitor that so in terms of who holds teachers accountable that’s our that’s our principles uh this question has to do with preston park how are you going to handle spacing issues at preston park elementary school so it’s not just preston park where we see that we might have some issues with when it comes to spacing and mr perkins you have to refresh my memory here but i believe that the three schools in terms of spacing that are really um a challenge for us would be preston park westside and grand in court do i have that correct that is correct headlining going on that’s good and so yes we may have to be creative especially um if the plan you know changes but right now if we go with our approved plan it looks like we should be okay with spacing where where it gets tricky is when we start bringing in more students more days per week and then we might have to be a little more creative with how we handle those three schools uh mr perkins do you want to add to anything there yet the good thing about what we’ve done by working with architects and then working with our building principles uh we we know where our capacity is reached and we know where some of our alternatives lie so the reason for the baby steps helps us to plan better for this because once we start expanding into rooms and we keep our social distancing that means we have to have extra staff to cover those rooms and so miss white what you said was actually right on point thank you all right um the next one says please consider allowing teachers to use fridays as office hours so again if there’s one thing that we continue to hear consistently and if there’s one thing that i continue to hear consistently as i visit school buildings is that teachers are overwhelmed and that um many times they are answering questions late into the evening they are working from seven in the morning and sometimes until night at night through lunch times through planning time and again we as a community and one thing that i’m so proud of in our community is how we value our teachers and how we are taking care of not only of our students but our teachers as well so this is something that i promised that i would work on and i’m continuing to do so um i thought i could make an announcement last week or even tonight i can’t because we have to make sure that we have the complexities of the issue worked out before we um we can do that but it is on our radar and i want our teachers to know that that it is on our radar okay so the next one says if the positivity rate is down why is rcps not bringing back high school students until late january when everyone else in the valley has students already back in the buildings so i just want us to make sure that we understand where we are we i think we’ve just kind of covered a lot of that in terms of our numbers um in in the valley making sure that we understand the fluctuations and this is another piece that we that that concerns us quite frankly as well we want our students back in school and we understand the social aspects when it comes to having our middle and high school students in school as well but we also want high quality instruction and we want our students to be able to um socialize yes we but we also want them to make

sure that they’re keeping up with our content one of the things that teachers have shared with me about their concerns if we are to use a one day a week model let’s say for instance for students our teachers are concerned about students keeping up in the curriculum given that they have to teach the same content time and time again we also we’re also concerned that teachers would have that one touch point in person with with their students one day a week but then may not see their teacher again until next week that’s something that we’ve heard back from from our teachers certainly um we are constantly looking at models around us to see if there’s any way to adhere to space guidelines making sure that we have the staffing to do so and making sure that we can keep up with the instructional program in a high quality way if we can do that certainly we will propose another option to the task force to consider as they’re considering making a recommendation to the school board so i want you to know that it is is always on our radar and as you notice throughout virginia school systems are having to change and adjust along the way and we are no different that as we learn more and as we research more we see what’s best in practice certainly we’re not digging our heels in we are as flexible as we need to be so that we can get our boys and girls back to school as soon as we can um this one says how is rcps addressing the social emotional development of high school students when they have had no interaction with peers teachers or coaches in several months so ms steele mrs steele will you help us with that one absolutely that’s a great question and we do recognize that many of our students mishaving those interactions with peers and the adults in school and so we’ve been working to provide a number of opportunities for our students to to have those interactions have discussions about social emotional well-being and learning and so a lot of virtual activities are taking place for our students using our online platforms such as canvas and teams where we’re working with large large groups and so counselors are having those opportunities where all kids can participate we’ve seen self-care challenges uh who are you activities things like a mental health awareness week where we’re talking about a statistics or a fact and then providing students with the healthy coping skill to go with that social emotional themed weeks where they’re addressing topics such as communication anxiety organization uh staying connected self-care self-awareness all of those sel um kinds of things um we’ve had college information sessions where students are invited and in those sessions they’re yes they’re learning about college but they’re also interacting with their peers and with counselors uh some schools are doing things like daily virtual learning i’m sorry virtual community circles and um i know some schools are beginning to host uh clubs and organizations online and students who participate in sports are participating in conditioning and skills development as well i also want to highlight the fact that we are working with small groups also using our online platforms um and in person and these are often targeted groups and i’m definitely if you as a parent are interested in having your child be seen in person please reach out to the school and we are also providing those individual check-ins with students so counselors are checking in to just checking on how students are doing in terms of their mental health adjusting by way of social emotional um concerns and so teachers are given referrals to counselors and social workers again parents are doing the referring um and then counselors from previous levels where kids have gone say from fifth grade to sixth grade and a counselor may have seen some previous concerns they’ll share that with the next counselor and then students um we have we’ve seen students doing the self referring where they say you know i’m i’m really not feeling well today or i’ve got some things on my mind and they’re reaching out to the counselors on their own so just want to remind you all as parents if you feel that your child is experiencing social emotional difficulties or challenges with mental health please reach out to your child school counselor thank you so much thank you all right some other questions that are rolling in here um why haven’t schools implemented small groups for students so many of our schools

have implemented small groups certainly this is an arrangement between parents and teachers we are certainly looking for students to take advantage of small group instruction who might be falling significantly behind that is the priority but certainly if there is space that a teacher sees whereas a child needs additional enrichment then that again i would encourage parents and teachers to have that conversation conversation we do have to be careful with the numbers of students because again we want to make sure that we are accounting for physical distancing and making sure that we’re keeping everybody safe but small group instruction is underway we have buses running throughout the day every day picking up kids and bringing them in again we can’t can only have so many but i think that when those arrangements are made um then it is a benefit to our students and um and we appreciate that we appreciate transportation for making that happen for us um and if that’s not happening you need that to happen please reach out to your school and to see if that’s an option for for your students as well um this one has to do mr perkins this has to do with the playground will elementary students be able to use the playground so we have implemented through facilities and building ops a cleaning schedule for all playgrounds the difficulty we have with playgrounds is a lot of our playgrounds have community access and we we don’t want to control that because we want the community to have access to those playgrounds and they do you can drive by any of our playgrounds around the district and you’ll see folks on them all the time so what has happened is i’ve principals have called and i’ve talked with them and i’ve informed them of the cleaning schedule we’ve placed hand sanitizing stations by those and i’m leaving that decision up to the principal on what they’re comfortable with and how they want to use their playgrounds there’s many activities they can do outside of the playground themselves but we do have a cleaning schedule for them thank you along those lines this question has come in as well what additional steps are being taken to ensure schools are clean and safe so as i’ve mentioned earlier we have worked with architects we to work through the american institute of architects their reopening guidelines and the american society of heating refrigeration air conditioning engineers we’ve worked with private companies tridem on filtration we’ve worked with train on ventilation and we of course have followed all of these are cdc recommendations and we’ve implemented many cleaning and disinfecting strategies around the district and we all did those and i have personally audited cleaning strategies around the district at least three times since we opened school over the last four weeks to ensure that we’re doing those checklists we’re showing that we are cleaning all of our chemicals are listed in the epa and cdc guidelines for killing covet and those are all being completed and we are expecting what we expect and so i think out of all of that i believe we are exceeding in some cases and at a minimum meeting every recommendation from cdc when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting our schools thank you for that and i don’t mean to keep picking on you mr perkins but you just want to make sure that we’re on one accord here with this one it says for the second nine weeks will siblings be able to attend the same two days and i can say for that that every effort will be made to make sure that siblings stay together but in terms of transportation that’s why i’m picking on mr perkins here i know that if students for instance are in in different households then that could be a challenge correct that is correct miss white but we will make every effort as long as we know ahead of time we will do what we can uh but keep in mind that you know it is going to be dependent upon how many children are coming to school and the capacities of the schools and how we can handle that and transportation is is the big trigger there because social distancing on our buses limit us to about 20 children per on average per bus so that’s the key but we will do our very best to work those out and accommodate those where possible thank you mr simmons this one says how can teachers get technology help instantly during the school day

okay so we do have a help desk phone line and uh you can call 853 60 70 and we have itrt’s we have technicians any any members of the technology staff might answer and be able to provide assistance we also have itrts who are kind of offering instruction during the day to kind of work with teachers on canvas issues thank you for that um this is for dr drewery oh i’m sorry mr johnston uh will elementary students in person still use canvas when home three days uh yes canvas will be an option that teachers will be able to create their lessons throughout the week and so students will still be able to use canvas when they’re at home that is correct all righty dr drury here any chance of having small group of musicians performing in person at in the middle schools you’re muted you’re still muted there we go i think it’s quite possible uh i think it would just be a matter of getting in touch with that particular principal and making that suggestion uh you know if you i think did you say which school uh of woodrow wilson okay um yeah i’ve seen how um just how bradley’s doing his his list so that would be very likely that that could happen if the teacher requests it that’s fine this is a question for the group and it says i work in a daycare who can we contact in the school system for help so if they work in the daycare center they’re working with students anyone want to chime in on that one well if they’re working in a daycare they’re more than welcome to call my office because more than likely they’re working with younger children that’s a possibility and you know our phone number is 853-2300 and can give me a little bit more information i’ll be more than glad to help uh help guide them and get some more information if they’re having difficulty getting in touch with the school or just having difficulty with technology we’ve done that already this year and so be more than glad to help someone with that thank you this one dr drury it says will there still be s.a.t preparation for high school students um and that’s going to be uh something that is going to have to be set up through the school i don’t think that would be an issue either um i will talk to the principals about that and see if we can organize some kind of after school for that um but until then i would suggest that if they want to start with with sat prep right now um that khan academy has a fantastic sat prep program but like i said i will contact the principals and talk to them about that thank you we have quite a few questions that are coming in um about preschool students pre-k students and kindergarten students in particular it says any chance they can go four days this is you know again in addition to i think i said that the number one question for teachers is about that asynchronous day that asynchronous friday certainly if there’s a number one question for parents it’s about the younger students and coming more days per week like i said before we want students in school but as an early childhood educator and speaking with our early childhood teachers and particularly teachers of younger children it is more difficult online we get that and as parent i’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know we know that it is a little more challenging so we’re always looking for ways to bring students back especially our youngest learners um our four five six year old kids um where it’s more challenging and particularly what what teachers just shared with us just in the last within the last week was the challenge of the now going to second quarter maybe having those three asynchronous days so that is that’s new to us in terms of coming understanding what students young

children will do on those three days and what teachers have asked us to do is to go back to the task force and to share that concern and obviously it’s a concern of parents as well so i just want you to know that for very young students we hear you we will share this with the task force as well i know that we have an approved plan but i also know that when we continue to hear that the challenges around teaching children virtually at the very young ages that that we should we should act on that certainly we have to keep in mind everything that we started with space space distance staffing health mitigation factors and we need to can uh continue to think about if we bring students in four days per week that means we have all kids at those grade levels let’s say pre-k to first grade pre-k to two that that’s going to create more of a squeeze in a school and distancing might be an issue and that’s the reason why i said for those three schools in particular we would have to be creative which means that we might have to move physically move kids to other locations where we might have space and so i want you to know that going in so that there are no surprises and if we so if you’re saying to us great go ahead do that at any expense we just need to make sure that we have kids in then that’s wonderful we can look at that and we are going to look at it and one thing that i know for sure is that this week we will take all of this feedback back to our task force but i continue to see that it’s it’s coming up a lot in the in kind of in the questions here and we just want to make sure that we are really addressing what you’re bringing up time and time again so we hear you and we will take a close look at that in moving forward the next question has to do with ventilation so mr perkins it says has anything been done to improve ventilation in schools the answer is yes we’ve again we’ve worked under the ash standards which is the american society of heating refrigerating air conditioning engineers we followed those guidelines the recommendation is merv 13 filters we conducted a study we have actually determined that we can place merv 14 filters and all of our rooftop air handlers so we will be placing those in those schools all of our schools we’re working on making sure we have routine uh filtration changes and and i get updates as those are made from our supervisor and building ops and we are also following part of that standard requires us to flush the building in unoccupied times and so we are flushing the building completely and so our average air turnover rates we calculate those as well for example morningside with our system that we have there we can change the hour or the air 8.8 times per hour and so we are making sure that we are testing all of our systems we’re doing that we have three systems across the district so we have done a large amount of work in ventilation and filtration for our schools thank you um to that end don’t go anywhere because the one of the questions that just came in it says have schools been updated with better hand washing stations so what we have done is we contracted with an outside vendor we are adding hand washing stations to every school and as schools request we are we purchase those hand washing stations there are 60 spread out around the district and as schools requests where they have issues we’re adding least hand washing stations we are social distancing in our restrooms uh so we know that is important and we know hand washing uh based on our discussions uh with our local health department is the number one way so not only have we got hand sanitizing stations in every classroom and mobile ones throughout the building we have now placed hand washing stations uh around all of our schools and we are adding them at the request of principles on a weekly basis thank you for that

mr johnston this one says what happens to plato if if my student continues to be all virtual so what we’re working on with plato is that if they’re all virtual they’ll still receive the plato curriculum and we’re working on that currently i’ve spoken with both plato um site principals along with our gift and talented coordinator we’re working on how we can make that as streamlined as possible so that they’re receiving the same instruction that’s going on in person thank you for that dr hahn this says what are the procedures for containment if a student tests positive for coded thank you good evening containment that would we would work with the student health and employee health and then also with the virginia department of health and our local health department first to to recognize that we have a positive case within the school and then each school has a uh health annex room we would escort the individual to the health annex room and make the appropriate phone calls and take the appropriate measures to transport them home and then work with the family and and the education process and the quarantine process thank you so don’t go anywhere because the next one also says how are the coveted cases this might this is totally related and maybe it’s the same but i do think there’s a nuanced difference here how are the covert cases popping up throughout the district being addressed i think specifically i think what they’re trying to get to is that those that have been we know that we’ve had a positive case what are our steps yes ma’am thank you the positive cases are addressed on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with our student and employee health and our our local health department i spent a great deal of time even today with dr odell and the virginia department of health and uh we work collaboratively with them and um discussing each case and and really we take each case uh um in totality of the circumstances and and take that into uh consideration as we take the next steps and in the decision making of what needs to happen thank you and either you or and or mr perkins can take this one if a student is riding the bus test positive how will that be handled so sure well i can i can take that one if a student sorry if the uh student test positive then hopefully we would know before they’re riding the bus and we would communicate uh with the family to keep them home and i would take this opportunity to just just throw a plug into a as you stated earlier we really need our our parents and the community uh to to support us in this effort to keep everyone uh safe and healthy and strong and if your your student is sick keep them home if you have questions call the school the schools each one of our schools we’re so privileged to have a registered nurse at each school they can can provide you with advice and uh you know assess your student if need be but we really want you to keep your students home if they’re they’re not healthy this thank you for that this one and i’m going to ask mr simmons to chime in here i think this is from a student is there a way for canvas assignments assignment list to have checks next to the items that have been completed i’m not sure um if that whoever the student or whoever posted that question if you can post your name and phone number i will have somebody reach out to you tomorrow with an answer thank you for that and this one says when will the second nine weeks begin so we know that the first quarter ends october 30th the second nine weeks anyone had that quick date for me november 2nd november 2nd it’s november 2nd november 2nd all right thank you sorry i have mr mccloud here on my i’d like more than six feet away

and wearing a mask yes he is uh all right what’s next how will um how will lunches be handled at school so i believe this is a second quarter question about how lunches will be handled for in-person instruction so i’ll take that um we have worked with sodexo magic we have a process where we will be feeding students in classrooms because some of the cdc guidelines you know we don’t want clustering of students in the cafeteria those will be brought to the classroom they’ll be social distance in the classroom and they’ll be eating at their desk and we’ll also continue our grab-and-go and we will hopefully have more opportunities based on the the state providing extra money that we’ll be able to put out through the credit card system that is currently going on now thank you mrs steele this one says how can how can we get clubs online yeah so that’s a really good question there are club sponsors um who’ve already been designated or who are being designated within the schools so they will be setting that up and um there is a feature in canvas that allows for announcements so we can do announcements on canvas we can do announcements through our social media pages um various platforms to get the word out to students to sign up for clubs and organizations so i’d say just be you know looking out and if there’s something in particular that you’re looking for and you haven’t seen it absolutely please reach out to your school counselor and they can help direct you thank you thank you this one says if and mr johnson i believe this is for you if elementary students do virtual learning the second nine weeks will there be synchronous instruction and you ask if they do virtual learning is that the question if they do the virtual academy will there be synchronous instruction yes ma’am it will be exactly like we’re doing now there will be synchronous and asynchronous instruction uh just like that is occurring during the first nine weeks so they will have synchronous okay and let’s see um mr perkins this says how are buses being cleaned so durham school services has a cleaning protocol that follows cdc just like we have in our buildings uh they’re cleaned after uh all the runs or routes are made and those state the chemicals they use are the same that are on the approved list from cdc they keep tabs and checklists for those cleanings and we communicate like dr honor mentioned earlier if there’s any potential of exposure we do communicate with durham services to make sure that cleaning does take place i know that we’re rounding out our time here but and i feel like i’m on speed dating here but it’s will there be high school graduation ceremonies dr drewery will there be high school graduation ceremonies at this point we’re hoping to but it’s it’s going to depend upon what the governor decides and what phase we’re in at that point um we will have a graduation ceremony whether it is a traditional graduation ceremony or whether it is similar to one that we had the ones that we had last year it will depend but we will have a graduation ceremony and all of our graduates will be celebrated as such thank you i i do know that that’s important for all of our seniors and keep in mind that we are very sensitive when it comes to our seniors and for all of our students but particularly our seniors as well and i completely understand my daughter was a senior last year mr prom missed her graduation um and so we do understand and we want to do everything that we can to make sure that we get kids back and so that they can have a senior year and that goes for all of our students just a couple of reminders before we wrap up here if you want um your child to remain 100 virtual um for the entire second nine weeks you do have that option our middle and high school students will continue the plan is to continue virtually synchronous and with synchronous and asynchronous instruction uh until january uh keeping in mind the numbers the space the staff that we need to do

so keeping in mind also those singleton classes i remember that are that are really difficult for us when it comes to having both um in person and um and synchronous instruction for those singleton classes that are that’s extraordinarily difficult not to say that we’re not looking at other options not to say that if we find a different solution we won’t bring them back sooner we are still looking uh so again we are looking at other school systems we’re looking to see what they’re doing we’re looking at what’s best in practice ultimately we want to make sure that we’re adhering to health and safety standards for everyone for parents of elementary school students we do need your help there will be an intent form for the second nine weeks remember baby steps uh it is crucial for every parent and guardian to complete this form for each of their children your responses will help us determine the number of start and dismissal times the actual start and dismissal times the space needed in the building and the use of bus transportation so based on information received from the original intent form back in july the start and dismissal times are likely to be either 7 30 to 2 30 or 8 30 to 3 30. however there is the possibility that the start and dismissal times could change based on the collective responses from all of our parents the reason has to do with transportation we talked about that here tonight based on social distance guidelines from the health department and the cdc we can fit an average of 20 students on on a bus so as you complete the intent form please check bus rider if you absolutely need bus transportation um if your child absolutely needs to watch transportation i should say the intent form will be available starting monday october 5th and the deadline to complete the form is friday october 9th we want to make sure that we have the numbers so that if we need to make any adjustments we can communicate that to our school board by october 13th the forms will be online and paper copies will be available at the schools so again i want to to end in the way that i began and that is with a thank you like i said you could be anywhere else tonight but you chose to be here with us um and certainly as i’m looking at all of the the questions i want to thank you for participating tonight thank you for your questions they make us better they make us better as a school system and so we appreciate your feedback keep in mind um mr mcleod the the email address again for feedback town hall at rcps.info so keep in mind that we are collecting your feedback and sharing each and every piece of feedback with our transition and restoration task force so that you you know that you are being heard i know that that’s why you’re here tonight and i can’t thank you enough i want to thank our staff our executive staff for being here as well thanks to all of our principals teachers students and parents for all of your hard work we appreciate you and we value your participation in roanoke city public schools to make our students the best that they can be we know that kids have to be at the center of every conversation and that’s exactly what we are doing each and every day but we can’t do it without you so thanks for showing up tonight thanks for your feedback and we will be around you know me i’ll be around to your school so i hope to see each of you sometime soon thanks again for joining us tonight and have a great evening you