The following message was sent to parents from Mark Church Monday afternoon:
“Due to the community spread of COVID-19 and the difficulty to provide adequate classroom supervision for Franklin County High School (FCHS), Benjamin Franklin Middle School (BFMS) and the Gereau Center (GC) it will be necessary for us to initiate all virtual instruction for all secondary students (grades 6-12) from Thursday, October 8th through Friday October 16, 2020. Students will return to a normal schedule on Monday, October 19, 2020. This does not affect elementary students. Students who are part of our self-contained Special Education classes at FCHS and BFMS will still report to school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Students that transport to schools outside of Franklin County will continue with in person instruction as normal.
Please note that the reason to go completely virtual does not mean that the virus is being transmitted within our schools. In fact, we believe that there has been no transmission while at school since the opening due to the proactive measures in place. The Franklin County community has had a significant rise in cases of COVID-19 and is now considered “community spread” by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The “community spread” designation means that people have gotten sick without any known contact with an infected person.
Through an overabundance of caution, any COVID-19 positive student or staff member who comes into our schools has the potential to spread the virus to those he/she comes into close contact.
As our partners at the West Piedmont Health District have explained, it is essential that persons infected with the virus isolate themselves until 24 hours past the time of last symptoms, like fever. Those who have been in close contact with the infected person — shared the same air for more than 15 minutes, touched common surfaces, etc., are cautioned to quarantine for 14 days.
Due to the numbers of community spread cases on the secondary level, we are asking increasing numbers of our staff to quarantine and teach from home. This still leaves a coverage deficiency for the remaining hybrid students. We believe temporarily reverting to full virtual learning will allow our current quarantining staff to finish their quarantine and it will curb some of the greater community issues from potentially spreading within the schools.
For more details about the necessity to take this action at this time, please visit this link, offered by the Virginia Department of Health. https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/schools-workplaces-community-locations/k-12-education/
W. Mark Church, Ph.D.
Division Superintendent • Franklin County Public Schools
25 Bernard Road • Rocky Mount, VA 24151Phone: 540-483-5138 • Fax: 540-483-5806“