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Franklin parents briefed on school district's proposed return-to-school plan

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Posted at 8:44 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 20:44:33-05

FRANKLIN, Va. - Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tamara Sterling held a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday night, during which parents had the chance to hear about the FCPS Proposed Phase-In Plan and let their voices be heard.

This town hall comes after the January 14 Franklin City School Board meeting where School Board members decided that instruction would remain virtual for the third nine weeks. Dr. Sterling and the School Board felt it necessary to keep the students and faculty at home during this time due to rising COVID-19 cases in the city.

There is a push to return students to in-person instruction when it is safe, so FCPS has developed a Phase-In Plan that will be used if COVID-19 numbers decrease and if the School Board approves the plan in March.

Parents will be receiving a survey, which will let the school district know if they are willing to send their children back to in-person instruction on a hybrid model or if they would like them to remain learning virtually. These surveys will be mailed to parents, and they can also be filled out online here.

“Parents, we want to make certain you have a choice. That is so important to us. We’re not telling you that you have to send them back,” said Dr. Sterling. “You do not have to send them back. We want you to do what is best for your child.”

If case numbers do decrease, students who choose a hybrid model could potentially begin go back to campus in late April. The first group to come back will be the youngest learners; other students will come back on a staggered schedule. The full proposed timeline can be found below:

Franklin City Public Schools return to school timeline.PNG

“We are staggering in our students. We want to make certain we have all of our mitigating procedures in place. We want to make sure our youngest learners are learning all of the procedures such as washing their hands. We have a lot of things to practice so we do not a full building at one time,” said Dr. Sterling.

By June 1, all students who chose a hybrid model (except 4th, 5th and 12th graders) will be having in-person instruction two days a week. It was decided that 4th and 5th graders would remain virtual due to those grades being housed in the modular buildings at S.P. Morton because these modulars are very close together and do not allow for adequate social distancing.

The Hybrid Modified Schedule will include in-person instruction two days per week and three days of virtual learning. Virtual learning using online resources and professional development for teachers will happen on Fridays.

School officials say there will also be deep cleaning and sanitizing of classrooms on Fridays. FCPS is also planning to have four- to six-week summer school sessions for students to make up for any loss of learning.

“This is a summer school to strengthen some of the weak areas that our students have shown during virtual learning,” said Dr. Sterling.

Dr. Sterling urges any student or parent having trouble with virtual learning to reach out to her and their principals.

The proposed phase-in plan, including the summer school schedule, is contingent upon decreasing COVID-19 numbers and approval from the School Board.

Click here for full Safely at School coverage.