Decision on school opening to be announced Dec. 31

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Page Valley News will have continuing coverage of the Coronavirus' impact on Page County.
Page Valley News will have continuing coverage of the Coronavirus' impact on Page County.

~ PVN staff report

LURAY, Dec. 29Page County Public Schools sent out the following notice to parents and staff on Tuesday:

“This message is to inform you that steps are being taken to determine whether or not we will be able to reopen safely and sufficiently staff our schools in our blended model on Monday, January 4, 2021, or whether we will need to remain in the All Remote status.”

“We are anticipating an announcement of this decision on December 31, 2020. We will notify the school community as soon as this decision has been made.”

During the Page County School Board’s final meeting of 2020, Superintendent Wendy Gonzalez said administrators were not sure which direction to go in with regard to how schools will begin instruction on Monday, Jan. 4.

“We don’t know what we’re doing on Jan. 4,” the superintendent told the school board at the Dec. 14 meeting. “We will be monitoring the situation over the next few weeks. We are regularly in contact with our peers in surrounding counties, and we are all in a wait and watch mode.”

During that Dec. 14 meeting, Dr. Gonzalez laid out several options for operations on Jan. 4 and moving forward:

  • Continue remote-only instruction for two additional weeks;
  • Continue remote-only instruction through the end of January and the conclusion of the first semester;
  • Return to a blended instructional model incorporating in-person instruction in the classroom;
  • Makes decisions school-by-school.

School board members did not give the superintendent any specific direction on how they were leaning, so the superintendent stated that administrators would continue the “wait and watch” approach for now, with regular updates provided to the school board.

“We have to be ready to pivot at any time,” Dr. Gonzalez said.

Page County Public Schools have made several adjustments to its reopening plans that began to form in June and July. After initial adjustments based on community and staff feedback in August, the Return to Learn plan initiated in September saw grades pre-k through second in classrooms four days a week, 3rd through 8th grades receiving in-person instruction two days a week on an AA/BB schedule and remote-only learning for high school students. On Nov. 16, high school students were allowed to re-enter classrooms two days a week. That lasted only three weeks — a total of six instructional days — before the entire division reverted to remote-only learning after a surge in coronavirus cases in the county.

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