UPDATE: OCTOBER 6, 2021
Dear Roanoke County Parents and Families:
As we approach the end of the first nine weeks of the 2021-2022 school year, we want to let you know how good it has been to have nearly all of our 13,240 students back in school full time. Every day as we visit and check in with schools, it is encouraging to see and talk to students who are happy to be in school and look forward to seeing their teachers, other staff members, and friends. Teachers have also expressed how glad they are to see their students every day and be able to work with them. Overall, it has been a great start to the school year and our students are learning!
There are, of course, still ongoing extraordinary challenges that our schools and families face. We want to express our gratitude to you as parents and families for supporting your child’s education and for working with our teachers and schools this year with COVID mitigation strategies still in place. Individual students need help with unfinished learning from last year, social-emotional needs, and adjusting to daily peer interactions and life within the school community. We have experienced the anticipated frequent student and staff quarantines that come with closer proximity, and the resulting impact on families and staff navigating those procedures, shifting to online learning, and returning to class. None of this has been easy, but all the efforts help our students to move forward and be in school as much as possible. Our teachers, counselors, therapists, principals, and other staff are here to support all our students and will continue to work hard.
CHANGES TO THE SCHOOL CALENDAR
The labor shortage that has affected businesses and school systems nationwide has affected our school system as well, especially with substitute teachers and other hourly positions. Our schools have done a good job of covering with existing staff, but the ripple effect has been to take away time that teachers need for planning, parent contacts, and working with individual students. Increased physical distancing during lunches has also reduced unencumbered time that teachers would otherwise have for these other needs. These demands on time have been amplified by the number of quarantines required. In order to provide some additional time for our teachers need to be effective, some changes have been made to the school calendar and were approved last evening. Additional early-dismissal days have been added rather than additional full workdays in order to reduce the impact on families and after-school programs.
Please take note of the following changes and thank you for your understanding.
- October 15: schools closed for previously scheduled workday for the end of the grading period
- October 20: previously scheduled early dismissal for professional development (now 2-hours early rather than three to reduce confusion)
- October 27: 2-hour early dismissal (added)
- November 2: previously scheduled non-student day
- November 10: 2-hour early dismissal (added)
- November 17: 2-hour early dismissal (added)
- November 24-26: schools closed for Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 24 was previously scheduled as an early dismissal day)
- December 1: 2-hour early dismissal (added)
- December 8: 2-hour early dismissal (added)
INCREASE IN SUBSTITUTE PAY
Several strategies have been implemented to address the ongoing shortage of substitute teachers. These strategies include hiring a designated daily substitute teacher for each school and assigning central office staff to substitute when there are critical needs. An additional strategy approved last evening was to increase the pay for substitutes. Effective immediately, the daily pay rate for substitute teachers is $140 (with college degree) and $125 (with high school diploma). We welcome qualified applicants to join our group of substitute teachers! More information on how to apply is at on the Human Resources page.
We encourage to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher to discuss any concerns that you may have or to just touch base on your child’s progress. Conferences may be scheduled by phone, Webex, or in person throughout the year. Please contact your child’s teacher directly to schedule.
Thank you for your support and the privilege of working with your children. We are proud of our schools, our students, and our community.
Dr. Ken Nicely
Roanoke County Public Schools