With students in pre-K through third grade, special education students and English Language Learners back in the classroom since Feb. 22 and with students in grades fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth returning Monday, its time for Halifax County School Board to determine what’s next.
School board members are slated to discuss grades seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th when they meet Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Halifax County Middle School cafeteria.
Last month, school board members reviewed a proposed plan from Halifax County High School principal Michael Lewis and Halifax County Middle School principal Dawn Miller that proposed having the remaining secondary grades return April 12.
But, some school board members expressed they, along with parents who had contacted them, thought seniors should return before then.
“I’ve had a lot of parents wanting to know why 11th and 12th grade students are not prioritized. They don’t have the same amount of time (as other students). There is a strong feeling that they need to be there,” said ED-2 trustee Roy Keith Lloyd at their February meeting.
According to superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg, their return-to-school plan follows the guidelines given to them by the Virginia Department of Education which suggests starting with students who need the in-person instruction the most, special education, English language learners and those in pre-K through third, and then moving to transitional grades.
“It’s not meant at all to be a slight to seniors,” Lineburg said at their February meeting.
He suggested they could move the return date up to March 22 or March 29, but he said he would like to have all of the secondary grades return at the same time.
Parents of students in those secondary grades were emailed a survey to see if they’d like to send their child to the school buildings for in-person learning.
Under the new A/B hybrid model that HCPS started Feb. 22, A Day students attend class face-to-face on Mondays and Wednesdays, and attend virtual classes from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
B Day students attend class face-to-face on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and attend virtual classes from home on Mondays and Wednesdays.
But, parents still have the option of having their child continue to complete a fully distanced model.
After the return of face-to-face instruction on Feb. 22, principals and teachers reported that everything was running smooth.
Francine Davis, principal at Sinai Elementary School said, “I’m enjoying it. Things are going smoothly…I was really excited when I found out the kids were coming back.”
In addition to the discussion on return to school, school board members are slated to hear a health update from head nurse Tina Slabach and a calendar update by Lisa Long, director of elementary education.
Finance director Robert Aylor is expected to deliver information on the preliminary budget.
The board got its first look at the budget in January that totals $62,495,475 with a possible $38,130,380 from the state and a request of $14,373,726 in local funding.
Finance director Robert Aylor told the board last month that state revenues had increased by $269,370, and the governor’s budget included a 2% bonus for teachers.
To give teachers and non-teachers a 2% bonus on base pay, Aylor said that would cost $643,096. Therefore, he said they’re requesting an additional $373,726 in local revenue.
The House and Senate also recently wrapped up their special session of the General Assembly and released their proposed budgets.
Also, the Halifax County Board of Supervisors recently discussed only giving the required local effort to the school board, and that total is to be determined.
School board members also are slated to set a budget work session and special meeting for March 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the middle school cafeteria.
Dr. Lineburg and Steve Brumfield, director of maintenance and operations also are slated to provide the capital improvement plan.
The board also is expected to appoint a board representative for virtual learning, discuss the possibility of having a school board tiebreaker and consider for approval school board norms and protocols and school board goals.
Recognitions slated for Monday evening include recognizing welding students, the Halifax County High School boys basketball team for being regional champions and Kassie Myers and Elaine Newton, who were recently named kindness ambassadors by the state.
At the end of the meeting, board members are expected to go into closed session to discuss personnel matters.