Parents of Halifax County Public School students are expected to attend Halifax County School Board’s 6:30 p.m. Monday meeting at Halifax County Middle School to learn more about the fate of the upcoming school year and to let their voices be heard.
Two parents, Stephanie Culley and Beth Farmer, have made their stance known to media, social media and school officials as they request schools to reopen at least four days for students.
They’ve created a Facebook event, “Stand Up For Children,” where they’re encouraging parents to attend and speak about reopening schools closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Another parent, Steve Salley, also has made his intent to speak at the meeting known to the media and offered an alternative to the “A/B” schedule the school is currently mulling.
When the survey, “HCPS Back to School 2020-2021 Family Survey,” was issued, it let parents know the school system was looking to offer two alternatives to education next year, a hybrid option that allows for some in-person learning and some virtual learning, and another option that was virtual learning only.
The school system also has been deciding on a Group A/B schedule that would have Group A students attending on Mondays and Wednesdays and Group B students attending Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But, Salley doesn’t agree with that schedule.
He recommends allowing two classes per week for the first half of the semester then the other two classes for the second half of the semester, which he says would allow more face-to-face time with teachers “because students would see the two teachers twice a week every other week instead of once a week every other week.”
He also said Group A should attend Monday and Tuesday with teacher planning and school cleaning on Wednesday, and then have Group B attend Thursday and Friday.
“I feel my recommendations fully meet the same requirements as the current proposal, but it takes into account the instruction change for the students, streamlines their class schedule and it also allows for sanitizing and cleaning between each group of students,” Salley said in a letter sent to The Gazette addressed to school board members.
Those who have signed up so far to speak during citizen comments are Anthony Womack, Latoya Gooden, Mickie Hurtte and April Midkiff, but it is unknown if all of these comments will be related to the opening of schools. Others also may choose to speak.
Those attending the meeting are expected to hear a COVID-19 update on operations, survey information, instruction and communication.
In other agenda items, director of elementary education Lisa Long is slated to give a report on K-12 reading focus.
Also, the school board also is expected to review a revised 2020-21 school calendar.
Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg already had made it known that the calendar is expected to have 14 professional development days for teachers at the beginning of the school year followed by a Sept. 8 opening date for students, which is subject to change.
The school board also is slated to present a resolution for former school board member, the late Fay Satterfield.
The long-time school board member died April 20 after serving for eight years.
It was part of continuing commitment to the school system after she spent many years teaching and serving as a guidance counselor. She had breast cancer in 2006 and retired.
In other recognitions, CTE coordinator Debra Woltz is expected to recognize those involved with a Comfort Systems USA internship program.
Several other items of business also are on the agenda including:
• Appointing a delegate and alternate to the Virginia School Board Association annual convention;
• amending the superintendent’s contract;
• appropriation of capital improvement funds;
• Claude Moore grant; and
The school board also plans to enter into closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss personnel matters.