Dear RCPS Community,
The Rockingham County Public Schools School Board will hold its next meeting on Monday, January 24th at Elkton Middle School (21063 Blue and Gold Drive, Elkton, VA 22827). The meeting will take place in the school's auditorium. The board will meet at 6:00 pm and immediately enter into closed session for legal advice, personnel matters, and consideration of requests for religious exemptions to compulsory school attendance. The board will return to open session at 7:00 pm for the public portion of the meeting. You can find the full agenda at the following link:
Among other agenda items, the board will discuss potential changes to the RCPS Health and Safety Plan, including the requirement for masks to be worn during the instructional day. The meeting is open to the public, and the wearing of masks is strongly recommended. As a result of Governor Youngkin's directive to the Commissioner of Public Health to rescind the mask mandate that previously applied to all events in K-12 school buildings, non-instructional events no longer legally require attendees to wear masks. However, the CDC and VDH continue to recommend masking at indoor events. In addition to recent executive orders and provisions in the VA Constitution that give local school boards the authority to operate public schools, the board will consider legislation passed during last year's General Assembly session that requires schools to be open for full-time in-person learning and to "*provide such in-person instruction in a manner in which it adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategies for early childhood care and education programs and elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." (SB1303)*Given the legal landscape, additional legal guidance may yet be provided by the Governor's Office, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education, or state courts.
The board meeting includes a public comment period during which members of the public may address the board. The rules for the public comment period can be found here. The board may limit individual comments to three minutes. We ask that speakers be permitted to speak without interruption until the chair lets speakers know that their time has expired. The board may also limit the overall duration of the public comment period.
An email to families summarizing the board decision on Monday will be sent after the meeting to clarify the rules that will be in place Tuesday morning.
I look forward to respectful and constructive comments from the public and to the board discussion that will follow.