The Halifax County School Board plans to revisit its return-to-school plan at a special called meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Halifax County Middle School cafeteria.

The board voted to have a distance learning only model for all students in the Halifax County Public Schools for the first nine weeks of school, which ends Nov. 11, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The board has a “phased approach template” for the students’ return to school.

Dr. Mark Lineburg, Halifax County Public Schools superintendent, said the board continues to make “tough decisions” about students’ return to school, while taking into account the safety of students, teachers and school staff.

He added the board would “keep finding ways to get kids back into school.”

The phased approach template for students’ return to school is fluid and subject to change. The template recommended special education students return to school for face-to-face learning on Sept. 21, but the board deadlocked with a 4-4 vote at its Sept. 14 meeting not to allow those students to return to school for face-to-face learning on Sept. 21.

The school board also voted at the Sept. 14 meeting to allow 24 career and technical education (CTE) students to return to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) to continue their classes, under the condition that they provide their own transportation.

The template also has prekindergarten through third grade students, approximately 1,526 of the students in the school system, returning to school on Oct. 26, using an A/B Day model in which the two different groups of students would come to school on alternating days.

Also on the agenda for Monday’s meeting is a presentation on the high school English writing test by Dr. Jeanie Hawks, director of instructional technology and division testing, and Halifax County High School principal Michael Lewis.

Lineburg explained that while the Standards of Learning (SOL) accreditation has been waived for the Virginia Public School System in the 2020-2021 school year, there are still graduation standards, known as “capstones,” that students must meet prior to graduation, and one of those is the English writing test.

Lineburg said the school system is looking at ways to get the high school students into the school to take the writing test and strategies to ensure that the students pass the test so they can graduate on time.

A presentation on transportation by the school system’s transportation director Dwight Elam and Dr. Scott Worner, director of secondary education, also is on the agenda.

Lineburg said working out the logistics of bus transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as conducting temperature checks and maintaining social distancing guidelines, has been complex.

Tonight’s school board meeting will be streamed live on the Halifax County Public Schools’ Facebook page for those unable to attend.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.