At their regular meeting on Tuesday night, the Rappahannock County School Board unanimously decided to move forward with a plan to resume in-person classes, which for some lower grades would begin on Jan. 5. 

“We’re going to do this very cautiously,” said RCPS Superintendent Shannon Grimsley, who proposed a gradual approach to bringing students back into the public schools starting with kindergarten through second grade at the beginning of the second semester. 

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If all goes according to the reopening plan, third through fifth graders would return starting in February and students in sixth through twelfth grades would return in March.

“Obviously you’re going to need the flexibility to move with the data in either direction without another board meeting,” said Board Chair Wes Mills.

Recently the Virginia Department of Health released an improved COVID-19 dashboard geared towards helping school divisions statewide make informed decisions about reopening amid the pandemic. The dashboard compiles local metrics with assessments of transmission risk. 

The School Board also decided to reward RCPS teachers with a two-percent raise for their hard work during the pandemic, effective in December. “We will never truly be able to pay teachers what they are worth,” Grimsely said. “Our teachers work harder than any other people I’ve seen.”

To learn more about Tuesday night’s School Board meeting, pick up the print or e-edition of the Rappahannock News on Thursday.