The Accomack County School Board met last night. The virtual meeting was conducted electronically and streamed online.
The Board heard from Finance Director Beth Onley. Onley said that one real concern is how to pay the school employees if the County office building is forced to close. Onley said that remote computers are in place to allow the school system to operate fiscally, However she said that one problem would be getting checks printed especially pay checks. That cannot be done from the remote locations. Onley said that those employees who have direct deposit will not have any problems. However there are a few who receive paper checks and that could be problematic. Onley said that an effort is ongoing at this time to reach out to those who do not participate in direct deposit to get them set up.
Onley said that if the county office building is closed by the state, no one will have access., Onley also said that just about all of the full time and those who are dual part timers or fulltime and part time such as teachers or aides who also drive busses will be paid until the end of the school year. This will include staff, and cafeteria workers as well. Coaches will be paid for the entire seasons.
Onley said the only employees who will not be paid are those who work by the day such as short term subsitutes. Long term subsitutes will be paid until the end of the year as well.
Onley said her department will mirror the March payrolls in order to determine how much to pay each employee for the rest of the year.
Assistant Superintendent Rhonda Hall did a presentation on plans and options going forward for students to finish their academic year. Hall said that seniors will have the option of accepting their grades as of March 13. She said that those who who had high Fs at that time would have options to bring those grades up so that they would graduate.
Hall said that. 7-11 graders would have to finish their courses in order to graduate on time going forward. She said that among the options are to finish the classes on line, possibly using Virtual Virginia, a state sponsored on line curriculum, or other options that may become available. These include summer school if offered, since it is not clear whether the schools will be able to open by summer. Or another option might be to extend the school day 15 minutes for the 20-21 school year and imbed the missed work in the curriculum at that time. Hall said that a survey of teachers revealed that it would take between 3 and 4 weeks for most to complete the required material and finish the courses.
Hall said that those who are unable to access the Virtual Virginia web site due to poor connectivity will be able to work via internet hot spots at some of the school sites. She also said that the school system is looking at loaning lap tops to students that do not have one at home.
Hall also told the Board that while some teachers are comfortable teaching on line, there are some who are not as computer friendly so some classes will not be available by a local teacher on line. She said the IT department is working to help those who need it.
Hall said that plans are for teachers to come in to work to assemble course packets to distribute to all students to help them complete assignments during the rest of the year. She said she hopes to have these packets available by the end of next week. She also said that teachers will have available time to answer questions by telephone if needed.
School Superintendent Chris Holland will appear on Shoretalk today at 12:35 pm. Parents are urged to tune in for more information,
The Board voted unanimously to give both Onley and Hall the green light to continue to develop contingency plans