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Surry schools eye reopening with concerns

All Surry County Public Schools students are being provided digital devices ahead of returning to class for 100% virtual learning on Sept. 8.

But if and when the local school division reopens for in-person learning, the division would benefit by adding a nurse to its staff, the superintendent recently told the Board of Supervisors.

Sims said the school division has two registered nurses to serve Surry’s three schools.

“There are quite a few health-related screenings that must be done as we prepare daily to bring students back into schools, and those screenings include everything from temperature checks to monitoring isolation rooms to even communicating with parents and the health department about issues that are associated with COVID-19,” Superintendent Dr. Serbrenia Sims told Surry County leaders during a Sept. 3 board meeting.

In the lead-up to reopening, Sims said community feedback has been that childcare is a concern.

“As we have posted several notices on Facebook, Twitter and on our website, some of the feedback that we’re receiving from families is they need childcare. We have families who will need to return to work once schools reopen on Tuesday and they are looking for stable and reliable childcare where the students can be monitored or their children can be monitored as they are completing their work and their assignments.”

Action to address this issue is ongoing, County Administrator Melissa Rollins told the board.

“Obviously, we do want to be able to assist students in the community and even the employees here at the government center and other offices as they do have kids of school age and need to have child care if they elect to come back to work,” Rollins said. She said they have put the ball in motion to potentially use the Surry County Parks and Recreation facility as a learning and daycare center during the day four days a week, Monday through Thursday.

The center could likely accommodate about 35 students with social distancing.

“Obviously, there’s a lot we have to do to get it straight,” Rollins said.