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Randolph BOE OKs calendar for November

ELKINS — Student and staff safety was at the forefront of the Randolph County Board of Education and Randolph County Schools administration’s conversation about the possibility of returning to school four days per week.

During a special meeting Tuesday evening, RCS Superintendent Debbie Schmidlen’s proposed school calendar for the month of November was approved in a 4-1 vote. Lisa Wamsley, president; Janie Newlon, vice president; and Rachel Anger and Melodee Price, board members, voted to approve the calendar while Amanda Smith voted in opposition.

Despite the board’s approval, several members noted their concerns to county administration, asking that they create and propose a calendar for December that encompasses a four day per week schedule for students. In addition, while all BOE members emphasized their concern for student safety, several members raised concerns about student success and their lack of necessary support and technology outside of the classroom.

The approved November calendar will follow a blended learning model where students with last names beginning with letters A-L go to school separately from students with last names ending with the letters M-Z.

The week of Nov. 1-7, students A-L will attend only Monday (Nov. 2), and students M-Z will attend only Friday (Nov. 6). Tuesday will be no school for students due to Election Day, while Wednesday-Thursday will serve as at home learning days for students.

The week of Nov. 8-14, A-L students will attend Monday and Tuesday while M-Z students will attend school Thursday and Friday. Wednesday (Nov. 11) will be closed for Veterans Day and cleaning and sanitizing. Likewise, the week of Nov. 15-21 will follow the same schedule. Finally, as previously planned, Nov. 22-28 will be no school for Thanksgiving break.

During Tuesday’s special board meeting, several individuals — including local representatives from the American Federation of Teachers — spoke in opposition of returning to school four days per week. These comments, along with many comments and concerns from board members were heard and considered. Look for more information regarding discussion from this meeting in Thursday’s edition of The Inter-Mountain.

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