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The Roanoke Rapids Graded School District Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to continue under virtual learning Plan C until the end of the first semester unless state restrictions are lifted. 

Board members weighed all of the options and were most concerned about the number of staff members who are currently out due to COVID-19 exposure or COVID-19 related quarantines and the overwhelming number of restrictions imposed on public schools by the state in a face-to-face scenario.  

“I’ve been in meetings with adults who can’t keep a mask on for a few hours and we’re asking kids to keep them on for seven hours. I don’t want to take a step forward only to take two steps back,” said Trustee Ed Liverman. “I also don’t think our teachers are ready for the workload of preparing for those students who choose to learn virtually and teach in their classrooms.” 

“We’re seeing other districts that have tried going back struggle,” said Cathy Keeter.  

Since the beginning of school August 17, the district has experienced 39 COVID-19 incidents and two positive cases among staff members. 

“I just feel like safety needs to come first because people are dying from this. That’s someone’s life,” said Vice-Chair Valencia Davis.  

Under the board’s approved plan, students will remain completely virtual through the end of the fall semester, December 18.  

“I realize virtual learning is not what we all want right now, but I believe our teachers, staff, and students have adapted well. With the quality teachers in our district, I have the utmost confidence in the learning and interactions that are taking place on a daily basis at our schools,” said Superintendent Dain Butler.  

In other action the Board voted to nominate longtime Trustee Davis to serve as a board member on the North Carolina School Board Association Board of Directors.  

“I’d like to thank the board for your vote of confidence and I’ll do my best to represent you if I’m selected,” Davis said.