School Board learning to teach from a distance

With new COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, the Craig County School Board adhered to all of the recommendations while still taking care of business.

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

At this month’s School Board meeting, which occurred on April 7, tables and chairs were spaced more than six feet apart, and Amber Charette from the EMS team was at the door, screening everyone before they entered.

New laws mandate that no more than ten people shall gather at one time. That does not include Board members and Superintendent Jeanette Warwick.

Present at last Tuesday’s meeting were: Warwick, Deputy Clerk Diana Bayne, Chair Susan Crenshaw and Board members George Foster and Trace Bellassai. Gina Smith joined via remote and Sam Foster was online.

Warwick addressed many concerns. “As everyone knows, we are now closed for the remainder of the year. We’ve had a hard time keeping up with the confirmed cases as we must wait until they are posted on the Virginia Department of Health website,” she said. “Many times, while there are Facebook messages saying that there are cases in Craig, I am not able to move forward until VDH confirms that.”

All updates are posted under the schools’ website under the COVID-19 section.

Warwick also shared additional information:

  • No visitors are allowed in the buildings, unless on an emergency basis. Otherwise they must have prior permission and be screened
  • Mail delivery is left at the front door
  • Due to the Governor’s order to close schools, Boards can meet 100 percent online only to discuss the nature of an emergency, but not “regular School Board business.” The Board will hold meetings and offer it to the public
  • The auditorium will be electrostatically disinfected after being used and it sits for a week. It will be off-limits to everyone
  • Access to the schools will be drastically limited, and most doorways locked, including the auditorium
  • Meal deliveries will halt during spring break to give everyone time to be with their families
  • After Spring break, meal delivery will resume three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Students will now be receiving meals for Saturday on Fridays too.

George Foster added, “The lunches do help these kids out a lot and breaks their day up too.”

Crenshaw and Warwick noted that the kids also really get excited when they see their buses come with lots of smiles and joy. One two-year-old smiled and said, “Thank you school bus,” according to Warwick.

“I have to praise all of my staff, custodians, cafeteria workers, my instructional assistants, teachers, my administration staff and this Board for all the support that has been given to us,” Warwick said. “As I have said in many of my memos, these are truly waters that we have never had to tread before, and I feel like we are working together as a team for the best interest of our students.”

Warwick informed the Board why she wished to honor the business, Kik Va. LLC. “They have supported our system in an above and beyond way. They made a generous donation of a huge pallet of cleaning supplies during this time. Rob Jones, the warehouse manager there and a resident of Craig, also with a student here, arranged this. We never know when we will not be able to get cleaning supplies if you check the shelves at the stores, they are not there.”

Warwick requested the Boards permission, in order to show their appreciation to Mr. Jones and his company by nominating them to the 2020 VSBA Business Honor Roll. The Board approved.

“As always, we want to keep everyone safe,” said Warwick and all of the Board members.

The next School Board meeting will be held at the auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on May 12. Safety precaution measures will be taken with a ten-person limit. People are still encouraged to attend or join online.

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