To open 2021, the Harrisonburg School Board selected Kristen Loflin as its new chairwoman and Nick Swayne as vice-chairman, then moved forward Tuesday with efforts to further define roles for school resource officers and to prevent harassment in schools, among other business.
In latest round of COVID-19 business, council outlines CARES Act money and gets briefings on JMU and EMU
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday took up several tactics to mitigate the effects of the pandemic: a plan for how to distribute more than $3 million more in federal CARES Act funding, an emergency ordinance to allow the Open Doors shelter to open October 1, as well as protocols to slow the virus’ transmission among college students.
With the school year beginning for Harrisonburg students, some will be spending the fall semester in an outdoor class setting. Here’s how it will work.
The Harrisonburg School Board has committed about $275,000 to help offset childcare costs this semester — a major concern for working parents since the division announced its decision to offer remote instruction for most students because of the pandemic.
According to the United Way’s just-released 2020 ALICE Report, 61% of households in Harrisonburg struggle to make ends meet. While that represents a 4% drop from the first ALICE report, published in 2017, it does not factor in the pandemic’s effects. In any case, Harrisonburg still has one of the highest rates of ALICE households in Virginia.
Many Harrisonburg families are trying to figure out where their children will spend their school days now that the district plans to start the fall with online learning for most students. This has set into motion a massive revamping of not only how teachers will deliver lessons but of the entire school-day scheduling process. District leaders, such as the superintendent, have been negotiating with child care providers and non-profit organizations to find places — and funding options — for children of working parents to go and learn during the day while staying safe. Meanwhile, parents and guardians are having to get creative to ensure their children have structure and supervision during the school days.
Instead of requiring students to attend school a couple days a week this fall, the latest plan for the Harrisonburg City Public Schools will be to require most students to learn from home virtually five days a week, as a result of the discussion during Tuesday’s school board work session.
As schools shut down and daycare centers operate under new restrictions – precautions meant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus – parents who are still required to go to work every day could now be facing months of childcare challenges. At one crucial area institution, Sentara RMH Medical Center, this has prompted a call for volunteers to meet that need.