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Sons of the American Revolution celebrate signing of the Declaration of Independence



The Declaration of Independence, submitted to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776, approved on July 2 and declared on July 4, is the document in which the 13 American colonies formally stated their independence from Great Britain and set forth the ideas upon which the U.S. government would be based.

On July 5th at 2 pm, the public came to the Warren County Government Center to hear the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) read the Declaration of Independence. Along with the reading, reenactors fired off a musket salute.

Remarks were given by Dale Corey, Mark Robinson, and Nathan Poe, members of the SAR Chapter. Larry Johnson provided the invocation. The reading of the Declaration of Independence was done by Marc Robinson, Brett Osborn, Bill Schwetke, Sean Carrigan, Chip Daniel, Erick Moore, and Dale Corey.  The ceremony also includes presenting two wreaths to honor the signing of the document. Closing remarks by Dale Cory and benediction by Larry Johnson.

Presenting of the Colors by the CJWII Color Guard. Photos and video by Mike McCool, Royal Examiner.

Dale Corey welcomes the public to the event.

Invocation by Rev. Larry Johnson

Thomas Jefferson on His Death Bed presented by Nathan Poe

Musket Salute

Watch this event on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton


John Hancock


Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton


Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross


Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

New York

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple


Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery


Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire

Matthew Thornton

Click here to see the Thomas Jefferson, June 1776, Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence

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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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Front Royal and Warren County first responders conduct mass casualty incident training at Christendom College



Personnel from Warren County Emergency Management, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Fire & Rescue, and the Front Royal Police Department came together for three days of Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) training at Christendom College this week, taking an extensive review of what resources are in place for such an incident and how first responders can align their
operational responses to major incidents within the Town of Front Royal and Warren County.

“Preparing for this type of crisis is essential in the times that we find ourselves in,” said Front Royal Chief of Police Kahle Magalis. “We certainly hope that this type of training is never brought to bear, but the reality is that we must be ready if we ever have to deal with it. This is the first step.”

The training is the latest in a series of exercises that were conducted in the past year on separate key areas of responding to a major incident. An emphasis was placed on not only field operations at the patrol level, but also in Incident Command with a heavy emphasis on field supervisors understanding their roles in managing a critical incident involving multiple agencies. The exercises were developed to test the capabilities of neutralizing a threat, quickly addressing critically injured victims, incident management, and effective notification to additional resources.

Christendom College graciously allowed the use of their facilities to test these capabilities of area public safety agencies, while also integrating and testing their own facility’s emergency plans during the training exercises.

“It is crucial to be prepared for a crisis of this magnitude,” said Mark Rohlena, Executive Vice President of Christendom College. “While we pray we never have to implement our emergency plans, it is necessary to know that we are prepared in case such a situation ever occurs. We are grateful to the personnel of the Front Royal Police Department, the Warren County Sherriff’s Office, Warren County Fire & Rescue, and Warren County Emergency Management for their cooperation and assistance during these training exercises on campus.”

This week’s training resulted in a culmination of everything local first responder agencies learned this past year and put into practice. Responding to the scene of an emergency is never an easy task, but this training has better prepared the agencies as a result of these training exercises.

“These types of events simply cannot be managed by a single agency. I am very appreciative of the support from our local public safety partners and Christendom College in bringing this training exercise to fruition,” concluded Deputy Emergency Coordinator Rick Farrall.

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Warren County fall reopening plan approved with in-person, virtual class schedules



The Warren County School Board last night unanimously approved the school year 2020-2021 reopening plan for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, instituting both a hybrid model that provides a combination of in-school and virtual instruction and a full virtual instructional model.

What that means is students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will begin attending school on August 27 for in-person instruction four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). On Wednesdays, all PreK-5 students will have virtual instruction. All students will receive laptops or tablets.

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.

For grades six through 12, students will attend in-person instruction one day per week and work remotely four days per week.

When receiving in-person instruction, each school day will consist of five and one-half hours of instruction at the elementary level and six hours at the secondary level. Specifically, in-person instruction will be provided from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for students attending E. Wilson Morrison, Leslie Fox Keyser, and Ressie Jeffries Elementary Schools. Students attending Hilda J. Barbour and A.S. Rhodes Elementary Schools will receive in-person instruction from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. High school and middle school students will attend in-person from 9 a.m. until 3:05 p.m.

WCPS Superintendent Chris Ballenger told School Board members during their Wednesday, August 5, regular meeting that bus transportation limitations were “a driving force” behind many of the scheduling decisions.

“We had to be creative with the schedule,” he said. “There was really no way we could increase the numbers on our buses in order to equalize when school started so we had to be flexible to make sure we could maximize the number of students that we could put on a bus and get them in the classrooms.”

Due to the nature of certifications within the programs offered through the Blue Ridge Technology Center (BRTC), Ballenger said that WCPS now is exploring various options for instruction.

Currently, it has been decided that year two and year three students will drive to BRTC on scheduled days. Year one students will be transported to BRTC on Wednesdays.

Mountain Vista Governor’s School begins online instruction on August 24 and will provide virtual instruction to all students for the first quarter.

Here is the WCPS schedule for in-person instruction:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
PreK-5 in building PreK-5 in building Remote learning for all students PreK-5 in building  PreK-5 in building
Warren County Middle School ‘A’ Day in building Warren County Middle School ‘B’ Day in building Remote learning for all students Skyline Middle School ‘A’ Day in building Skyline Middle School ‘B’ Day in building
Warren County High School ‘A’ Day in building Warren County High School ‘B’ Day in building Remote learning for all students Skyline High School ‘A’ Day in building Skyline High School ‘B’ Day in building

Full virtual option available

Additionally, because some families may feel apprehensive concerning the opening of schools while there is no vaccine for COVID-19, Ballenger said that WCPS will offer a fully virtual option through each school site for all grades.

“This virtual option is available to all students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12,” according to the reopening plan. “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.”

Students who receive either the hybrid model of instruction or full-virtual students all will have access to new instruction, identification of instruction gaps, learning management systems, a laptop or tablet, and will remain eligible for participation in extracurricular activities, VHSL teams, and food services, said Ballenger.

Internet access variables

And while internet access continues to be a barrier for some families in Warren County, Ballenger said WCPS staff are working to provide potential solutions. Families who do not have internet access will receive their instruction through jump drives or packet-based instruction, he said.

“There was a lot that went into developing our reopening and instructional plan,” Ballenger said. “We had to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Virginia Department of Education.”

Additionally, WCPS had to take numerous items into consideration when developing its plan, including social distancing, face coverings, and daily health screenings for students and staff, among others, said Ballenger.

“As a division, we are going to recommend that students in grades six through 12 wear a face covering all day long – both students and teachers,” he said. “For elementary school students … we recommend that when they walk into the building or are in transition [in the hallways, for instance] that a face covering is on. But while the student is seated at their desk, they may be able to remove that face covering.”

Ballenger said WCPS also realizes there has been what is now being called “the COVID slide,” which relates to learning gaps that have developed during the last six months of pandemic quarantine, while also being concerned about students’ social-emotional learning and ongoing need for local, state and federal social services.

Nearly 3,360 parents responded to a recent WCPS survey on choosing an instructional model, while 498 staff members responded. In total, 60 percent of parents chose some type of in-person instruction, while 53 percent of staff opted for a virtual start to the 2020-2021 school year, said Ballenger.

Reopening details

According to the reopening plan, students in grades 6 through 12 are required to wear a face-covering at all times during the school day.

Students and staff must maintain the 10-feet of social distancing during physical education and recess. The mixing of different student groups will be avoided as much as possible. Playground equipment will not be used during recess at this time.

Temperature checks will be part of the daily routine. The temperatures of all staff, students, and visitors will be taken before entering the school building. Non-contact thermometers will be used at each location and school nurses will train personnel in temperature-taking procedures, as well as, what to do if the temperature is above 100.4°F.

All students will be required to complete work assignments and participate in class activities, regardless of hybrid or distance learning choice. Participation in school, no matter the mode of instruction, is required. Participation and attendance will be monitored.

Regarding student and parent technology support, Ballenger said that WCPS is developing a one-to-one initiative for all students PreK through grade 12 to have technology devices for home instruction.

“As we move to the possibility of virtual instruction for students, support for families will be necessary,” according to the plan details. “Our technology staff is in the process of developing online modules to help families understand the division’s Learning Management Systems (LMS), as well as the operation of the devices.”

Ballenger said that schools also will plan “Technology Sessions” so parents may meet in small groups to have hands-on training. In addition to learning how to operate the devices, parents will learn how to communicate with school staff using the LMS.

Special education services for students with disabilities may include increased time for face-to-face learning or/and direct instruction, as determined by their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Instructional delivery will be designed to ensure the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) as required by their IEP and IEP teams will review individual student data to determine the need for supplemental instruction. Students will continue to receive access to instructional materials for use at home, as needed, including assistive technology tools.

Solutions for childcare and after-school care are currently being explored, Ballenger said.

Transportation guidelines

Transportation face coverings are required for students to ride on the bus and parents and guardians should not send their children to their bus stop if a child has a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or feels ill. “This will lessen the chances of an entire busload of children and bus driver being put at risk,” Ballenger said, noting that parents also should discuss bust stop social distancing with their children.

If a student refuses to wear a mask, Ballenger said that student will not be allowed to use the bus for transportation to school.

When the bus arrives at the bus stop, students must enter one at a time and load to the back of the bus first; vice versa once the bus gets to the school, where students will be unloaded or loaded one bus at a time.

Each bus will have a seating arrangement and students will sit in the same seat every day. Only one student per seat is permitted unless students are siblings or live in the same household; they may sit three to a seat.

Buses will be sanitized after each run and at the end of the day. Schools also will follow that protocol, with deep cleaning and sanitization scheduled for Wednesdays when all students participate in virtual learning.

Unanimity for plan

Following Ballenger’s presentation and comments and questions from the Warren County School Board members, the board voted unanimously to accept the WCPS reopening plan, with School Board Chairman Arnold Williams, Jr.; Vice Chairwoman Catherine Bower; and members Kristen Pence, Ralph Rinaldi, and James Wells voting aye.

“What we do is because of the students. That’s our future; that’s who’s going to be pushing my wheelchair one day and I want to make sure they’re educated,” mused Williams, who, on a more serious note, acknowledged the health concerns voiced by teachers.

“I understand health issues, trust me, everybody in this room does,” said Williams.

Bower and Pence said it is a well-developed reopening plan.

“I think our elementary school students especially need to be in the classroom,” Bower said. “They need the two meals they may not be getting at home, they need the support of teachers and staff,” and they need access to Child Protective Services.

Rinaldi agreed, saying the high schoolers and middle schoolers are likely better able to acclimate to online learning compared to the younger students.

“It’s an overwhelming job and it’s not one that we’ve seen in our lifetime,” said Wells. “You can’t believe how people will appreciate what you’ve done this year and in years to come – you’ve kept it rolling.”

Kim Oakland, president of the Warren County Education Association and a teacher at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School, apologized beforehand to the School Board members during the community participation portion of their meeting, noting that not everyone is going to be happy with the newly approved reopening plan. And Oakland said she was sorry that every WCPS student cannot be in school every single day without restrictions.

“So, thank you – thank you for being willing to make the hard decisions,” Oakland told the School Board members. “Thank you for caring about the well-being of our students and staff. Thank you for wanting to ensure teachers have the tools and the training they need to meet the challenges of this year. Thank you for ensuring our students have the resources that they need to be successful. And thank you for being the cheerleaders of our schools and not just fair-weather fans.”

“We, the teachers, will do what you ask of us,” added Kim Oakland, president of the Warren County Education Association

To read the full WCPS reopening plan, go online to:$file/WCPS%202020-2021%20Reopening%20Plan.pdf.

The Royal Examiner filmed the entire School Board meeting and you can watch it below:

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Traczyk, Wiley jockey for Republican 29th District nomination



This Saturday, August 8, 2020, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Republicans will hold a FireHouse Primary at the Millwood Station Banquet Hall located at 252 Costello Drive, Winchester, Virginia. (Located across from the COSTCO).

District 29 includes the northern part of Warren County, which includes a small part of Front Royal, Winchester, and Western Frederick County. The winner of this primary will face the Democrat candidate Irina Khanin in the November 3rd election. That winner will be our new delegate in Virginia.

Bill Wiley and Richard Traczyk are in the race for the Virginia 29th District House of Delegate’s seat recently vacated by Delegate Chris Collins.

Richard Traczyk

“I’m running for Delegate because we need someone in Richmond who will stand up for the citizens of the 29th District. We’ve had enough of Richmond’s liberal politics and it’s time to fight back on the unconstitutional overreach pursued by the Democrats who currently control the legislature,” said Richard Traczyk, former Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, and current resident of Frederick County,

Traczyk says that when he stepped down from the Board of Supervisors in 2015, “I thought I was done with politics; but now I’m seeing more than ever that we need representatives who care more about the citizens than about themselves. We need a representative who is not afraid to speak the truth and do what is right.”

As a pro-life advocate, Mr. Traczyk will oppose any law that would undermine the right to life, from conception to natural death. He will oppose raising taxes on Virginia’s families and push for laws that will once again make Virginia a great place to do business. “We stand at a cross-road of history and it’s time to choose the right path forward,” says Traczyk.

Bill Wiley

Bill Wiley is a current member of the Winchester City Council. He was first elected in 2014. Wiley also served on the Winchester Planning Commission for five years and was the Chairman for three of those years. He is the business development manager for Howard Shockey and Sons, Inc. and an associate real estate broker at Oakcrest Commercial Real Estate.

“I will fight for our fair share of tax dollars from Richmond, work to create a better job climate, and push for common-sense policies to make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work and raise a family. I will oppose any new tax increases and will fight to protect our Right to Work status,” said Bill Wiley

He went on to say, “I will oppose planned parenthood and other special interest that believe taxpayer-funded abortion and abortion in the 3rd trimester should be legal. I will always support our Law Enforcement Officers and I will NOT support any attempt to defund our police. I will fight for our fair share of tax dollars from Richmond, work to repeal unfunded mandates on our localities, create a better job climate, and push for common-sense policies that will make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

Both candidates support Second Amendment Rights and will not support legislation that infringes on the constitutional right to bear arms and protect your family.


Election Date: August 8, 2020

Election Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: Millwood Station Banquet Hall
252 Costello Dr, Winchester, VA 22602

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Virtual Compassionate Kids Academy starts Monday, August 10th



WHAT MATTERS Warren — In this ZOOM interview, meet Arnaud Saint-Paul, Chairman of GIVE Nation, as he invites families to encourage children aged 5-18 to participate in a free 12 week virtual “Compassionate Kids Academy” beginning Monday, 8/10. GIVE NATION IS TEACHING CLASSES ON HOW KIDS CAN BETTER IMPACT THE PLANET AND HELPING TO DESIGN A VIDEO GAME BASED ON ALTRUISM!


  • MONDAYS, AUG 10 – OCT 26
  • 12PM – 1PM
  • FOR AGES 5 – 18

Register Your Kids Today!

From the website:


Not only schools, but the entire world suddenly evolved into something humanity never expected… Contrary to recent events, millions of children were not yet receiving quality education and more lacked in financial literacy and soft skill development.

Despite uncertainty, there will always be a need for children to have access to sustainable literacy and learn the importance of kindness. Ensuring a sense of peace during times where panic and fear exist while rewarding humanitarian acts is a great start to building a better tomorrow. GIVE Nation is here to support kids. So, we are responding to you and your children’s needs with free virtual classes covering a wide range of fun but lighthearted topics.

GIVE Nation is a global social impact project with the goal of making a positive impact for a better human existence. It started as an inspiring dream from the Heartfulness Movement, led by the Public Benefit Corporation, HealThruWords; known for inspiring more than fifty million people with positive energy through mindfulness, gratefulness, exercise and the use of positive affirmations. It was in November 2017, the concept of GIVE Nation was introduced. Sponsorship was given with the statement, “Philanthropy shows commitment and selflessness, which are highly sought after characteristics for all humans. GIVE Nation brings love, education and improves the planet by means of giving.”

GIVE Nation provides support to empower children so they can take part in crafting a better tomorrow. Our mission for change is achievable by partnering with advanced technology, leading educational programs, moral businesses, transparent charities, and kids that want to ‘get ahead’.

Encourage your children to use the GIVE Nation mobile application (on Google Play and Apple Store) and share it with your community to get rewards for giving today! Find them on Facebook.


Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and YouTube.

Learn more 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 raised goes to the cause she’s promoting and most are matched by Beth. If you’d like to get involved or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit

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