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Roanoke Rapids Graded School District middle schoolers will return to partial face-to-face instruction on January 19.

High schoolers within the district will continue to learn virtually but will have the opportunity to attend in person for remediation, enrichment and clubs on January 19.

The Roanoke Rapids Graded School District Board of Education approved the plan unanimously at its meeting Tuesday.

School system spokesman Les Atkins said in a statement that Chaloner Middle School students will be divided into two cohort groups and will alternate weeks with group A coming one week and group B coming the second week. When students are not in face-to-face instruction they will attend school virtually.

Atkins said this morning about a third of the system’s middle school students have opted to learn virtually. The remaining students whose parents or guardians have opted for face-to-face instruction will be divided into groups.

There are 228 students in group A and 226 in group B. “Our goal is to keep siblings in the same cohort as best we can,” Atkins said. “Those cohort numbers could decrease for in-person learning at any time due to families opting to keep their children virtual only.”

School system Superintendent Dain Butler said, “We know this virus and its impact on our daily lives has been stressful. We appreciate the patience of our middle and high school families during these past few months.”

Butler said he believed the plan approved by the board “is safe and manageable under our current state mandates and COVID protocols. It gives all of our upper grades some face to face time with teachers and much-needed social interaction with peers.”

In the high school setting classes will remain virtual but students will have the opportunity to attend in-person sessions on campus for remediation, enrichment, and clubs daily from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. through the school’s Jacket Time Scheduler.

Safe entrance protocols will be conducted from 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. on campus and prior to any student getting on a bus. 

Bus transportation will be provided in the afternoons for students who typically have access in accordance with board guidelines.  

“Our hope is that in the coming months as news of a vaccine or other treatments become available, we can return to a more normal school schedule,” Butler said.

He said families will still have the option of keeping their children completely virtual. “We will have teachers specifically assigned to teach those students who opt to learn virtually.” 

In other action, the board approved to draw down its $200,000 lottery proceeds from the state to pay the annual debt service payment for Manning Elementary School. 

The board also approved a one-time $350 bonus for all employees who did not receive one in October as part of the state-funded COVID-19 bonus program.  

The board also recognized Roanoke Rapids High School's CTE staff for being one of the top in the state for credentials earned.