By Heather Bell
RADFORD – Masks will be required, at least to start off the school year, in all Radford City Public Schools.
“RCPS is following universal mask protocol at this time,” reads a message sent out to families and the school community on Wednesday. “All students, staff members, families and visitors are required to wear a mask while inside school buildings. This protocol applies to all school events taking place indoors currently.”
The school system will start the year this Monday, Aug. 16, at the Tier One level of a three-tiered COVID protocol plan. Tier I is described as follows: (1) Masks are required on buses and in schools for everyone. (2) Three-to-six feet of distance must be maintained when possible. (3) Cleaning of all the schools will be maintained each evening and on weekends. (4) Increased ventilation in all schools. (5) Students with a fever of 100 degrees or other signs of illness will be sent home until they are symptom-free for 24 hours. (6) Schools will maintain isolation rooms. (7) Contact tracing and quarantine will be conducted. (8) COVID screening will be coordinated with New River Pediatrics. (9) Visitors will be allowed only by appointment
RCPS Superintendent Robert Graham said in a recent interview that administrators and the school board will keep a close eye on the number of COVID cases and trends to determine how long the mask requirement will need to remain in place. That date could also lead to an increase in protocol to Tier II or III if necessary.
Tier II includes (1) All mitigation from Tier I, (2) Three-to-six feet of distance must be maintained at all times. (3) Additional cleaning measures will be added in evenings and on weekends. (4) Access to community areas in schools will be limited.
Tier III includes (1) All mitigation from Tier I. (2) A limited number of students allowed on the buses. (3) Daily temperature checks and health screenings will be conducted for all staff members and students. (4) No visitors will be allowed in schools. (5) Rigorous cleaning measures will be maintained in evenings and on weekends. (6) Potential periods of remote learning may be employed to limit exposure and enhance learning.
Half of Radford’s grade levels will start school on Monday, and the other half will start the school year on Tuesday.
This Monday, Aug. 16, grades pre-K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 will have their first day. Those grades will not go to school on Tuesday. Tuesday, Aug. 17 is the first day for grades kindergarten, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12.
Additional information can be found under the “Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year” tab at rcps.org.