During a special meeting on Jan. 4, the Floyd County Board of Education voted for school instruction to remain virtual until Feb.1, postponing its previously announced Jan. 11 hybrid learning start date.

Last week, the board had announced plans for students to remain virtual until Jan. 11, then students would have the opportunity  to return to in-person through a hybrid style learning model. However, during the board’s special meeting on Monday, it voted to postpone that decision until its next regular meeting on Jan. 25.

According to Superintendent Danny Adkins, Floyd County’s recent COVID-19 cases have been climbing. Adkins said that the district had been communicating on a regular basis with the Floyd Health Department and Director Thursa Sloan regarding the county’s number and how it would affect its “red” status. According to Adkins, from information he’s received from the health department, the county is experiencing around 20 cases a day.

Currently, related to COVID-19 cases within the school district as of the meeting, Adkins said that counting both staff and students, the district has seen five new cases. That brings the district’s number of active cases to 33, with approximately 122 current quarantined contacts.

Several board members cited having spoken to a number of teachers throughout the district, noting that staff was cautious towards a return to in-person instruction while numbers continue to increase, or until the vaccine has been given school personnel. But the board members added that staff would return if the board voted to do so.

Newly elected board chair Linda Gearheart said that she has received a number of calls from teachers as well, in which they voiced their hesitation towards returning. Gearheart cited several points which were brought to her attention, one of which included the board receiving input from staff regarding possible instruction scheduling in the future.

Board member “Coach” Junior Newsome, said that the board had a tough decision regarding the matter. According to him, he has spoken a number of personnel as well, and he’s talked with some who wish to return to in-person learning “ASAP,” but at the same time, the board has to weigh its options in order to protect its staff and students.

Ultimately, the board decided that the safety of its staff and students was the utmost importance, and while many would like to return to in-person instruction, it would be best to re-evaluate at the next board meeting on Jan. 25.

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