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Alleghany Co. School Board Delays Decision On Sports
Health District Opinion Weighs Heavily On Board

Low Moor, VA (Jan. 5, 2021) - The Alleghany County School Board spent about 40 minutes discussing the possible reinstatement of winter sports during a called meeting Tuesday night, but in the end, decided to table the matter until another called meeting on January 13. Alleghany County schools are scheduled to be back in a hybrid session, with students attending classes in person, on Monday, January 11.

“We’d really be setting ourselves up, if we go against CDC guidelines,” said board member Gerald Franson. “We need to have our kids back in school and playing sports, but I’d hate to for us to be spreading COVID, to play ball.”

“The health department clearly, clearly recommends against it,” he added. He said what bothered him most was the idea that the virus could be spread, albeit unintentionally, not only to students and staff, but also to their families.

Board member Danielle Morgan said that she thought the board should ask the school system’s insurance carrier about their recommendation, before moving forward with any plan to offer winter sports. She added that this discussion comes at a time when COVID cases and hospitalizations in the area are on the rise.

Acting Superintendent Sherman Callahan said that a letter dated December 30 from the Alleghany Health District Director strongly advised not returning to sports and he asked for the board’s guidance about what action to take. He said that all coaches and anyone involved with sports teams had been asked for their input about returning to sports, back in the fall, and he would forward that document to all of the school board members. He said he would also get in touch with their insurance carrier.

Callahan noted that the board had received a total of 42 emails or faxes from students, parents and interested citizens, forty of which were in favor of returning to sports. Morgan and Board Chair Jacob Wright said that many of the comments were heartfelt, and conveyed many individuals’ strong feelings about the importance of playing sports in school.

“We’re all systems go to have our students in person on January 11,” said Callahan. “Instruction should come first, we need to have our kids in school.” He said he knew there are other school districts that are offering sports for their students, but he cautioned that having indoor sports teams could be risky. “We need some good discussion and clarification for our parents.”

In other business, the board:

• Noted that interviews for a new superintendent would take place January 12-27 in an undisclosed location.

• Heard an explanation from Ben Truett about the expenditure of $237,500 for a school safety project, $190,000 which will come back to the school system. Truett said that the grant will cover the purchase of radio equipment for all of the school buses, joining with the county’s safety program.

• Went into executive session to discuss personnel and several student disciplinary matters.

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