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‘Coming To The Table’ bucks a trend toward racial divide in America



As the nation marked the one-year anniversary of the fatal confrontation between racist and anti-Semitic neo-fascist demonstrators and counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, there is ongoing debate over a rising tide of open racism tied to public posturing from prominent points in the contemporary American socio-political landscape.

But away from the lead-story headlines about the potential or reality of racially-tinged violence on the national landscape, another racially-generated movement of a very different stripe is building across America.

“Taking America Beyond the Legacy of Enslavement” is the motto of a national effort to bridge the gap of racial separation in America known as “Coming to the Table”, or the acronym CTTT as referenced on the organizational website.

Currently there are 32 local affiliate groups operating in 13 states, according to Judith James.  James, along with Ira Chaleff are co-chairs of one of those “Coming to the Table” groups, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter that has been meeting monthly in Front Royal since April.

Ira Chaleff, standing to right, starts a ‘Coming to the Table’ circle of introduction at the group’s second meeting here in May. Co-Chairs Chaleff and Judith James have worked successfully to improve the racial mix at subsequent meetings. Photos/Roger Bianchini

Coming 2018 meetings of “Coming to the Table” in Front Royal are slated for August 30, September 27, November 1 and November 29.  Meeting times have been pushed back to 6 p.m. to allow more time for the type of in-depth discussion and interaction they have encountered since beginning “Coming to the Table” meetings here.

We first met James and Chaleff prior to their May 2018 meeting at an appropriately-named location, the “What Matters Open Space” at 213 East Main Street.  For what could matter more than bucking a trend toward divisive political rhetoric centered on racial, ethnic and religious differences within American society?

And that is what “Coming to the Table” chapters across America aim to do – unite us through familiarity and healing.

“Coming to the Table” offers a platform for Americans to reach across the artificially-imposed social and psychological barriers of centuries, toward each other and the common humanity we all share regardless of race, faith, economic class or national heritage.

We share more than we might know across racial, ethnic and whatever other boundaries some would create to keep us from realizing our common humanity. (art Selah Bridge Project)

We asked James and Chaleff about their involvement with “Coming to the Table”.

Chaleff, coming from a Jewish background and a current member of the Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge in Rappahannock, said a personal goal is to help “create bridges between Rappahannock and Warren County, especially regarding racial history, connection and healing.”  Pointing to the diverse membership of the Northern Valley Chapter, Chaleff believes “Coming to the Table” is the perfect vehicle for that mission.

In addition to his Unitarian ties, he notes membership in the Northern Shenandoah Valley group ranging from a rabbi from Winchester to several pastors from largely African-American churches in Rappahannock and Warren Counties.  We also noted secular humanists welcomed with open arms this spring.

James points to a 2014 invitation from Phoebe Kilby, whose family name is certainly familiar in Warren County’s history of racial relations, to attend a planning meeting at Eastern Mennonite University to discuss establishing a “Coming to the Table” Chapter in the Shenandoah Valley.  The Eastern Mennonite University campus in Harrisonburg is a pivotal site in the creation of “Coming to the Table”.

Judith James, black and white patterned shirt at right, leads one of the smaller target-interest groups meetings often break into.

Bridging the gap

The organization dates its inception from a meeting of two people, Will Hairston and Susan Hutchison in 2003, and a consequent retreat held in January 2006 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University.  However, the connection between Hairston and Hutchison that led to the creation of “Coming to the Table” goes much deeper into the fabric of American life and history.  Both Hairston and Hutchison are descendants of prominent slave-owning families who had life-transforming experiences 23 years apart.

Those experiences, in 1980 for Hairston and 2003 for Hutchison, were attendance at family reunions. – BUT the family members these two white Americans mingled with were black, 800 strong in Will Hairston’s case when he was an 18-year-old boy accompanying his father, Waller Staples Hairston, invited as guest speaker at the black Hairston family event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C.

From the CTTT website:

“Waller Hairston descended from a dynasty that, at its height, controlled nine plantations – encompassing upwards of forty farms – stretching from the tidewaters of Virginia to the backwoods of Mississippi.  Many thousands of African American people worked their lands as slaves, making them one of the richest families in the antebellum South.  It was only recently that black and white Hairstons would have gathered for such an affair.  It is a story that few from the family’s storied past would have ever believed possible.”

But possible it was – and as a consequence of that possibility realized in Washington, D.C. in 1980 by Will Hairston and his father; and again in 2003 when Susan Hutchison gathered with descendants of her grandfather to the sixth degree, Thomas Jefferson, and his black slave and mistress Sally Hemings, it is a possibility spreading into communities from coast to coast.

Susan Hutchison and Will Hairston – Photo/Coming to the Table website

The genesis of “Coming To The Table” began to crystallize after Hutchison met author Henry Wiencek at that 2003 family reunion and asked to meet others like her descended from slave owners, but also willing to cross that racial divide into a common ground.  Wieneck had authored the book “The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White”.  Wieneck introduced Hutchison to Will Hairston, and the rest you might say is “history” – being reassembled person by willing person across America’s racial divide.

And fittingly only 70-odd miles northeast of that original 2006 Harrisonburg retreat, the Front Royal-Warren County community is one of those where people are gathering on a monthly basis under the “Coming to the Table” banner.  And under that banner you will find black, white, brown, Christian, Jew, Muslim and others trying to learn, grow and reach out across the legacy of division, fear, ignorance and stereotyping that slavery and racism have left us with.

For as some local participants noted in “Coming To The Table” meetings attended by this reporter, whether we realize it or not we are all impacted to some degree by ignorance of, assumptions about, or just unfamiliarity with people who are different from us at some basic level.

Reaching beyond that multi-layered veil to find the common denominator of our shared humanity is the bottom line of “Coming to the Table”.

In group to left, one participant in a blue T-shirt can be seen holding the talking stick passed around as members share their experiences, hopes and goals for personal and cultural progress on racial and human understanding levels.

Literature that greets participants notes: “The Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter of Coming to the Table is a forum for racial connection, healing and action; and provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for dialogue.  The approach for achieving our vision and mission involves four interrelated practices:

  • Uncovering History: researching, acknowledging, and sharing personal, family and community histories of race with openness and honesty
  • Making Connections:  connecting to others within and across racial lines in order to develop and deepen relationships
  • Working Toward Healing:  exploring how we can heal together through dialogue, reunion, ritual, the arts, apology and other methods
  • Taking Action:  actively seeking to heal the wounds of racial inequality and injustice and to support racial reconciliation between individuals, within families, and in communities

“The VALUES upon which Coming to the Table operates are inclusion, respect, tolerance, honesty, truthfulness, transparency, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, love, peace, nonviolence, transformation and reconciliation.”

Building bridges & the arts

Building bridges with the arts – from the Selah Bridge Project of June 9

As for the working through “the arts” found in that third bullet above, on June 9, Front Royal’s Selah Theater – named 2017 “Non-Profit of the Year” by the Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce – hosted an event in collaboration with the United Shenandoah Valley Artists.

“The Bridge Project” featured over 120 pieces of art with the theme “Connecting across Differences”.  The art pieces were assembled into the shape of a bridge.  The event at which we saw several people we have also seen at “Coming to the Table” meetings also featured music, poetry and supplies for making more pieces to add to the bridge, as well as a reception.

Beating the drum to get the Selah Theater Bridge Project underway

Selah Theater pre-event publicity for the well-attended event noted: “The idea is to get people thinking about how they connect across differences of race, class, gender, age, religion, culture, etc. EVERYONE IS INVITED!!!!!!”

On that June day in 2018 Selah Theater and Coming to the Table seemed like a cultural marriage made in heaven.

So, if on the one hand national headlines remind us that racism and its consequences of division, ethnic and religious hatred remain a part of the American landscape, there are signs of hope.

More art from the Selah Theater ‘bridge’ to our collective interconnectivity

A rise in interest of the “Coming to the Table” mission is one of those signs.  In addition to an increase in the number of chapters in states as diverse as Virginia, New York, South Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, New Mexico, California, North Carolina, Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington state and Washington, D.C., James points to other signs of growth.

“Monthly visitors to the website has increased from 3,500 per month to an average today of more than 12,000.  Subscriptions to the monthly newsletter have grown from a few hundred to 2,300. The Facebook group has more than doubled to 4,400 members,” she says.

And there are plans for publication of two books recounting the “Coming to the Table” experience, James noted.

“In 2019, two books will be published, an anthology of stories by 2 dozen CTTT members, ‘Shared Legacies: Narratives of Race and Reconciliation by Descendants of Enslavers and the Enslaved’ by Rutgers University Press in May, and ‘The Little Book of Racial Healing: Coming to the Table for Truth-Telling, Liberation, and Transformation’ by Tom DeWolf and Jodie Geddes.”

So, if on the one hand national headlines remind us that racism and its consequences of division, ethnic and religious hatred remain a part of the American landscape and even at the forefront of contemporary political discussion, there is hope.

A rise in interest of the “Coming to the Table” mission is one of those signs.  And perhaps another is the number of white supremacist demonstrators versus counter-demonstrators that did show up in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, August 12, 2018, to revisit their relative perspectives on events a year earlier in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Organizers of the “Unite the Right” demonstration sympathetic to last year’s white nationalist Charlottesville demonstration had anticipated a turnout of about 400 according to national media reports.  What they got was reported as “about two dozen” of what was described as “thousands of demonstrators” who gathered in D.C. on Sunday, August 12.

But one small victory in numbers, and non-violence in the nation’s capital on one weekend day in the summer of 2018 does not mean victory in the ongoing battle for compassion, equality and understanding at the heart of the American soul.

“Coming to the Table” offers an ongoing and substantial effort to improve each of us as people, and collectively as a nation.  And what could matter more than that as we approach the end of the second decade of the 21st Century?

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VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for August 10-14, 2020



The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.

*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new entry or a revised entry since last week’s report.

*UPDATE* Mile marker 0 to 1, eastbound – Right shoulder closures for sign installation, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

*UPDATE* Mile marker 1 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Overnight alternating lane closures for maintenance of various bridges, Sunday through Thursday nights from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. through August 21.

No lane closures reported.

No lane closures reported.

*NEW* Route 619 (Rivermont Drive) – Alternating lane closures just west of Route 340 (Stonewall Jackson Highway) for inspection of bridge over South Fork Shenandoah River and railroad, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Route 658 (Rockland Road) – Flagger traffic control for soil and rock testing between Route 620 (Bennys Beach Road) and Kelley Drive, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through August 14.
*NEW* Route 659 (Hardesty Road) – Stop-and-proceed traffic pattern for pipe replacement between Route 603 (Howellsville Road) and dead end, August 10 to September 10 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Traffic width restriction of 9 feet.

Various roads – Flagger traffic control for utility tree trimming, Monday to Friday during daylight hours.

Vegetation management may take place district wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at

The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.

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Publishing And Conflict Resolution Training Company launched In Front Royal



A new publishing and conflict resolution training company was launched in July in Front Royal, VA. Lalo Publishing, Inc. (LPI) was started by Charles and Bryane Lickson with the support of Jennifer Nicholson. The Licksons have been involved with alternative dispute resolution for over a quarter of a century. Charles Lickson (known by many as “Chips”) is a former practicing attorney who decided many years ago to turn to non-traditional conflict resolution and become a mediator.

Charles Lickson

Chips also had a background in writing –as well as law. The first edition of Ironing It Out: Seven Simple Steps to Resolving Conflict was published in 1992 and is now available in a brand new and updated edition. It is also available in a summary Pocket Guide edition. Both are available at Amazon. Lickson also wrote the Use of ADR to Resolve Technology or Innovation Disputes for the Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company, a division of Thomson Legal Publishing, Inc. in 1993. In 2019, Chips Lickson published his first fact-based fiction book, A Warrior Of Many Faces.

Bryane Miller Lickson, a Chairman of the Board of the new company, had written several articles and the book, Dignified Departure in 1994. This book, “a complete national outline for preparing all necessary documents to control your death or that of a loved one,” was well-received as a ground-breaking publication on living wills and durable powers of attorney.

Other members of LALO Publishing include; Jennifer Nicholson, Director, a successful business person; Carol Cable, an experienced and well-regarded professional artist and book designer and current Manager of Arts and Design for LPI; and Jorge Amselle, a multi-published author with a background in public relations and marketing as Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

“We decided to start this enterprise when it became clear that there was room for a publisher dedicated to the field of conflict resolution and willing to take on other titles as well,” said Chips Lickson. “We try to look at conflict and resolution in a new way and our new online blog is intended to help communicate these ideas in an approachable way,” he added.

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LFCC welcomes two new vice presidents to its administrative team



Craig Short

LFCC has welcomed two new high-level administrators during the spring and summer semesters.

In late January, Craig Short became the vice president of financial and administrative services. Dr. Anne Davis started as the vice president of academic and student affairs in July.

The vice president of financial and administrative services oversees several critical missions of the college, including the police department, information and instructional technologies, the business office and facilities, and construction.

“Everything about this role and the team I work within FAS is about service to the students, faculty, and staff of LFFC,” said Short. “All the work that we do, in one way or another, supports LFCC student achievement and success.”

Short is a strong believer in the benefits of community college – he has received them firsthand.

“I attended community college in West Virginia in my youth, and again as an adult here in Virginia,” he said. “Two of my children have also attended Virginia Community College System (VCCS) institutions in recent years, and I can tell you the benefits of community college are just as important today as they were 50 years ago when LFCC first opened its doors.”

Short earned his bachelor’s degree at West Virginia University, having transferred from Southern West Virginia Community College. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from James Madison University.

Prior to coming to LFCC, Short was vice president of facilities and business services at Tennessee Tech University. Before that, he spent 10 years at JMU most recently as executive director of facilities and construction. Early in his career, he worked on construction and urban development projects in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

“Having been involved with so many trades over the years in facilities and construction, I’m a true believer when it comes to the mission of the VCCS and their critical role in the development of the workforce,” Short said. “Some of the best professionals I’ve had the privilege of working with are products of the VCCS”.

Immediately prior to arriving at LFCC, Dr. Anne Davis was dean and chief online learning officer at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Md. She notes that experience fits well with the mostly-all online learning taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Anne Davis

“Given the necessity of online learning in the current environment of higher education, I am excited that I can leverage my knowledge, skills, and experience as a chief online learning officer to help advance LFCC’s virtual student services and online instructional offerings,” Dr. Davis said. “I am excited to work with faculty and academic leaders to foster collaboration across LFCC’s campuses and instructional sites to ensure that our students have a consistent and unified experience.”

Prior to her role at Stevenson, Dr. Davis was a biology professor and science department chair at Carroll Community College in Westminster, Md. She has a bachelor’s degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in animal physiology from Cornell University, and a doctor of management degree with a focus on systems thinking leadership in higher education from the University of Maryland University College.

Before her foray into higher education, Dr. Davis put her dairy science degree to use while owning and operating her family’s dairy farm with her twin brother.

She said it is important that LFCC continues its holistic approach to students’ success.

“Students who enroll at community colleges are typically working full or part-time, often have family responsibilities, and many are first-generation college students,” Dr. Davis said. “Providing them with more than academic support is critical to our students’ success. We need to provide wrap-around services and connect students to resources in our community.

“In my experience, community college faculty are deeply committed to their teaching craft and are willing to meet students where they are. This deep commitment to a holistic approach to student success is what I love about working at a community college.”

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Town of FR Infuses 1+ Million into Local Businesses through CARES-Deadline Monday August 10th



WHAT MATTERS Warren–In this video, learn about the Town of Front Royal’s ongoing efforts that are infusing over 1 million dollars into small businesses impacted by the COVID crisis. Niki Foster Cales (of the FR/WC Chamber of Commerce) discusses the FR CARES program’s simple application process and encourages businesses to get their applications in by MONDAY’S 8/10 DEADLINE.  The Chamber is overseeing the program and is proud to partner with the Town of Front Royal to support our valued small business community.

Town of Front Royal is providing financial assistance to small businesses

Are you or your group in need of a free video or article that could be created to help market your cause or event?   Or do you have an interesting story to share?  Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and Youtube. They are also shared with the Royal Examiner online (most are distributed in their daily email blast to thousands of local residents). Sign up for the Royal Examiner at and check out the “WHAT MATTERS Warren” tab under “Features.”

Learn more about Beth’s nonprofit,  WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at–check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or

WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters.  Every cent donated goes to the cause.  If you’d like to get involved with her local or international nonprofit work, or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit Be sure to check out the “projects” tab for her current WHAT MATTERS Initiatives.

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Town Talk: A conversation with Dr. Chris Ballenger, Superintendent, Warren County Schools



In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Dr. Chris Ballenger. Dr. Ballenger joined the Warren County School System on July 1, 2020. One of his first challenges was the two high-school graduations, which were a great success and well-received by both parents and students. This success he credits the hard work of his team of staff and teachers who made it happen.

In this conversation with our publisher Mike McCool, Dr. Ballenger outlines the plan for re-opening our schools and addresses some concerns of parents. He said, “As you can imagine, a tremendous amount of thought and planning has gone into the reopening plan for our students.  We have progressed through the development of our plan with guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).” He went on, “It is possible that adjustments will be made to our plan as we receive new information and guidance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.  This year will require the entire school community to be flexible and patient as the school year progresses.”

The WCPS Reopening and Instructional plan can be found on our website along with the WCPS Health Plan (

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to

This is an overview of the re-opening plan:

The two instructional delivery choices for families for the start of the 2020-2021 school year are the Hybrid Model and the Full Virtual Model.

Hybrid Model:

Grades PreK-4:  In-person instruction four days per week and one day virtual.  In-person instruction will be supported and reinforced by online learning with students physically in the school buildings four days per week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Virtual instruction will occur on Wednesday for all PreK-4 students.

Grade 5: In-person instruction four days per week and one day virtual.  In-person instruction will be supported and reinforced by online learning with students physically in the school buildings four days per week–Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Virtual instruction will occur on Wednesday for all fifth-grade students.

Fifth-grade students at E. Wilson Morrison, Hilda J. Barbour, and Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary Schools will report for in-person instruction at identified middle school buildings.  Fifth-grade students at A. S. Rhodes and Ressie Jeffries Elementary Schools will continue at their own elementary schools.  Classes will be taught by elementary teachers from their home schools.

Grades 6-12:  Students will attend in-person instruction one day per week and work remotely four days per week.  A flipped classroom model will be used where students use online instructional resources that have been assigned through the classroom learning management system.  In a flipped classroom model, students use online instructional resources that have been assigned through a learning management system.  Teachers support online learning with face-to-face instruction.  The face-to-face time is structured to include activities, practice with feedback, and collaborative tasks or projects

Teachers will support online learning with in-person instruction one day per week utilizing an A or B day schedule that is structured to include activities, practice with feedback, and collaborative tasks and projects.

Teachers will provide virtual lessons to students that are working remotely on a daily basis.  Students are encouraged to attend the virtual lesson every day that a student is not being provided with in-person instruction.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
PreK-5 PreK-5 Remote Learning for All Students PreK-5 PreK-5
WCMS A Day WCMS B Day Remote Learning for All Students SMS A Day SMS B Day
WCHS A Day WCHS B Day Remote Learning for All Students SHS A Day SHS B Day

Full Virtual Model:

Students will participate in full-time remote learning, including both interactive, teacher-led live instruction and independent learning tasks.  Families interested in registering their child for full-time remote learning must contact their child’s school by Tuesday, August 18, 2020, to select the virtual model.

  • This virtual option is available to all students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.
  • Students will be assigned to a WCPS teacher and receive a learning device that will enable students to access the division’s learning management systems.
  • Teachers will provide daily instruction via a learning management system so that students are provided quality instruction.
  • Teachers will also assign daily/weekly lessons through the learning management system and support students through in-person and virtual meetings.

School Schedules:

Daily Schedule for E. Wilson Morrison, Leslie Fox Keyser, and Ressie Jeffries

8:00 A.M.                    School day begins

1:30 P.M.                    School day ends

Daily Schedule for Hilda J. Barbour and A. S. Rhodes

9:00 A.M.                    School begins

2:30 P.M.                    School day ends

Middle and High School Schedules

9:00 A.M.                    School day begins

3:05 P.M.                    School day ends

High School Schedule for 2020-2021

For the 2020-2021 school year, we are going to utilize a 6 period day for the entire school year.  As we begin the year classes will be broken into two sections.   Each school will have two in-person instruction days, each section will be assigned one in-person day.  As soon as it is safe the two sections will be combined to create one in-person class that will meet together for the remainder of the year.    This change was made to make the best use of limited in-person time and to create an opportunity for daily instruction.

Mitigation Strategies – Minimizing Exposure

  • Designate six feet of spacing between desks and student seating
  • Reduce the number of students assigned to each classroom
  • Increase circulation of outside air, where possible
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces as much as possible
  • Deep clean and disinfect entire school on Wednesdays
  • Monitor arrival and dismissal of students to discourage congregate settings
  • Ensure students report directly to classrooms and designated areas
  • Designate, where possible, hallways and stairwells as one-way
  • Check the temperature of students daily as they enter school
  • Require daily health checks performed by the parent prior to coming to school
  • Require staff and students to wear face coverings at all times at the middle and high schools
  • Encourage staff and students at the elementary schools to wear face coverings while in school. Staff and students will be required to wear face coverings when physical distancing is not attainable.
  • Require frequent hand washing and utilization of hand sanitizer for all students
  • Provide hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes for all classrooms
  • Ensure students have their own learning materials and supplies
  • Reduce class interactions and hallway traffic, group gatherings and movement throughout buildings
  • Minimize exposure to other students by keeping the same groups as much as possible
  • Install water bottle filling stations are being installed in all schools
  • Limit access to schools to essential personnel and students. Parent conferences will be by appointment only. Visitors will be required to wear face coverings and submit to temperature checks.
  • Increase virtual field trips and cancel in-person field trips and assemblies to ensure there are no large gathering of students
  • Provide breakfast and lunch to elementary and middle school students in their classrooms


  • Face coverings are required for students to ride the bus
  • The spacing of passengers, personal safety materials for operators and passengers with coverings being required of both, frequent cleaning and disinfection of buses
  • Parents/guardians are asked to not send their child(ren) to their bus stop if he/she has a fever, a cough, or shortness of breath or feels ill. This will lessen the chances of an entire bus load of children and bus driver being put at risk
  • Parents/guardians are asked to speak to their children about social distancing at bus stops. If possible, students remain in their parents’ cars until the bus arrives at the bus stop
  • When the bus arrives at the bus stop, students are to enter one at a time
  • Load to back of the bus first; unload front of the bus first
  • At schools, unload and load one bus at a time
  • Each bus will have a seating arrangement; students will sit in the same seat daily
  • There may be no more than 1 student per seat; if students are siblings or live in the same household, they may sit three to a seat
  • Students are not allowed to ride a bus home with a friend or make last-minute bus changes until further notice due to capacity rules on school buses. If riding a different bus in the afternoon than in the morning is part of a student’s regular schedule, for example riding to a caregiver’s house on a daily basis, would be allowed if there is sufficient space on the bus. This plan must be approved with the school’s principal and the Transportation Director at the beginning of the school year
  • If a bus driver suspects a student is sick when he/she enters the bus, the school will notify the parent if not at the bus stop. If the parent cannot be reached, the student will be given a face covering and socially distanced in his/her own seat at the front of the bus. The principal of the school will be notified that a possibly ill student is on the bus.  The principal and/or staff will meet the bus when it arrives at the school in order to care for any sick child
  • Buses will be sanitized after each run and at the end of the day
  • Any route changes will be communicated to parents through the school messaging system

Child Nutrition

  • All staff will wear face coverings and gloves during food preparation and service.
  • Grab and go breakfasts will be available at elementary, middle, and high school so students can go directly to their classroom on arrival.
  • At elementary and middle school, lunch will be served in the classroom with a teacher present.
  • Bagged lunches may be brought from home. No drop-offs of food items. If a student forgets lunch, they will be provided a school lunch for the day.
  • Visitors will not be permitted in school cafeterias.
  • Students participating in virtual learning will have the option to pick up 5-day meal packs once a week.


PreK – 2nd Grade:
Email applications will not be accessible by students.  Accounts will be created for Classroom and LMS accounts only.

Grades 3 – 8:
Email applications will be set to work within our WCPS domain only.  Incoming emails from sources outside of the school system’s domain will be blocked to the student’s email account.

Grades 9 – 12:
Email applications will be open for outside communication with restrictions on threats as monitored by SysCloud.


Students will require high-speed internet access for virtual learning.  We recommend at least a home internet to be at least 5 Mbps per student.  If parents do not have access to high-speed internet at their homes the following options are available:

  • Available internet options:  Please check the internet options for your area.  WCPS keeps a detailed list of currently available internet services in our area.  WCPS will update this information as new services are available.
  • Wifi hotspots:  These will be available at the school library for check out.  Please note, they will not work in every area of the county.  If this option does not work, please return your hotspot to your school library.
  • Drive up hotspots.  WCPS is working on adding new hotspots in areas that have poor internet access.

Technology Support:

Parents may require tech support for virtual learning.  The technology department will provide support for parents regarding Chromebooks, login information, and any other school related technology needs.  These supports will include:

  • Documentation:  These may include directions on how to login into accounts, common troubleshooting tips, and standard WCPS technology practices.
  • Help Desk:  This may include contact information through web, email, and phone, support hours during both business hours and after hours.  If a tech needs to handle a device we will provide a drop off location for parents to leave the device with us for repair or device exchange.


All students will be required to complete work assignments and participate in class activities, regardless of hybrid or distance learning choice.

Teachers must be mindful of the transition back to school and the likely instructional gap/loss students may have. Varied instruction and opportunities for attaining the content must be presented for struggling learners and accelerated learners.

Participation and Attendance

Participation in school, no matter the mode of instruction, is required. Participation and attendance will be monitored.

  •   Full Virtual Model:
  • After 5 days of no interaction, school administration will attempt to make contact with the parent/guardian and develop a plan to address the issue
  • After 10 days of no interaction, school administration will refer the student to the Warren County Schools Truancy Officer
  •   Hybrid Learning:
  • After 5 unexcused absences, school administration will attempt to make contact with the parent/guardian and develop a plan to address the issue
  • After 10 unexcused absences, school administration will refer the student to the Warren County Schools Truancy Officer

Tracking Student Attendance in Various Instructional Delivery Models 

In-Person Remote – Online Remote – Other
Time-based Physical presence during the scheduled instructional day · Virtual presence for a synchronous online lesson

· Login time to a learning management system

· Activity log on a learning management system

· Total time log on a learning management system

· Phone call or real-time online chat

· Time-stamp for posts or submissions

· Submission of a time log

· Phone call

· Face-to-face meeting (may be an option for divisions have students come in for packet or work collection/drop-off)

Task-or Product- based Participation in classes/ submission of coursework · Participation in a synchronous online lesson

· Demonstrated evidence of engagement with peers for collaborative work

· Engagement on a discussion board

· Email exchange

· Phone call

· Submission of task or assignment

· “View” tracker for asynchronous online lesson

· Submission of task, product, or assignment


This educational plan for Warren County Public Schools is designed with commitments to a high-quality educational experience while maintaining a safe learning and work environment for our students and staff.  Extensive work has been completed after the release of the Virginia Department of Education “Recovery, Redesign, and Restart” document.   This document provides key components and considerations for our reopening plan.   Please note that our plan may be altered due to evolving conditions and recommendations.

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Virginia Supreme Court grants temporary statewide eviction moratorium



Governor Ralph Northam today, August 7, 2020, announced a temporary statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings in Virginia. The moratorium, which will begin on Monday, August 10, and remains in effect through Monday, September 7, halts all eviction proceedings related to failure to pay rent. Governor Northam requested this moratorium in a letter to Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons on July 24.

“Today’s decision comes at a time when we are still battling this public health crisis and need all Virginians to maintain safe, stable housing,” said Governor Northam. “As the ongoing Congressional stalemate leaves hundreds of thousands of Virginians without federal housing protection or unemployment relief, this is a critical step towards keeping families safe in their homes. I am grateful to the Virginia Supreme Court for granting this order, and I look forward to working with the General Assembly this month to develop more permanent legislative protections for Virginia homeowners and tenants.”

On June 29, Governor Northam launched the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP), which provides an initial $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for Virginia households facing eviction and foreclosure due to COVID-19. Eligibility and application information for the RMRP is available here.

Tenants are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent on time if they are able. Please visit for additional information and resources on tenant rights.

Governor Northam’s letter to Chief Justice Lemons requesting this moratorium is available here. Today’s order from the Virginia Supreme Court can be found here.

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