News Flash


Posted on: April 2, 2020

Schools Report Solid Start to “New Normal”

Salem City Schools Logo

The Salem School Board practiced responsible social distancing when it met for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak. During the March 31 meeting, Superintendent, Alan Seibert, presented the board members with a detailed report outlining the first 10 days since traditional classroom learning morphed into something completely different for our students and teachers. Here are the details.

SalemSB_COVID19_33120_smOn Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Northam ordered a two-week closure of PK-12 Schools in the Commonwealth to slow the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, March 23, 2020, the closure was extended through the end of SY 2019-2020.

On Monday, March 30, 2020, Governor Northam issued a “Stay at Home” Order. This order included provisions that the division meal deliveries continue.
Although students are not in school buildings, school is still in session. Further, the Vision, Mission, and Core Values of the Salem City School Board have not changed even as the method of delivering the Board’s mission has changed significantly.

From the outset of the initial closure, the division established a primary and a secondary goal.

Primary Goal - To provide hope, engagement, a sense of routine, a measure of normalcy, and connectedness.

Secondary Goal - To provide opportunities for students to make academic continue to learn and grow.


Continuity of Food Services

The USDA issued waivers regarding food service delivery to permit and encourage the delivery of meals to all persons 18 years of age and younger. In just one day (Monday, March 16, 2020), the Food Services and Transportation Departments completely redesigned operations to prepare and deliver student meals. Day 1 of Meal Delivery began on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Each daily delivery includes two meals, lunch for the current day and breakfast for the next morning.

For the first 9 days of meal delivery, 24 bus routes were running throughout the city, however that was reduced on day 10, March 30, 2020 to reduce the number of staff on buses and streamline an already efficient process. During the first 10 days, 16,221 bags, containing 32,356 meals were delivered in the city.


Continuity of Instruction

Connectivity & Technology
Families without existing Internet connections were encouraged via phone calls, emails and brochures delivered with food delivery to sign up for Comcast Internet Essentials which is now free for 2 months and is $9.95/month afterward. Families were also made aware of more than 100 free public hotspots being offered in Salem by Comcast.

Families were surveyed to determine how many students in grades 3-12 did not have convenient access to Internet resources to be used for instruction with the Chromebooks. The results are very encouraging with more than 99% of students having convenient access to Internet resources. The remaining are being assisted as they sign up for Internet access.

  • East Salem Elementary 207 /207 (100% with internet connectivity)
  • G.W. Carver Elementary 213/215 (99.1% with internet connectivity)
  • South Salem Elementary 219 / 221 (99.1% with internet connectivity)
  • West Salem Elementary 228 / 228 (100% with internet connectivity)
  • Andrew Lewis Middle 917 / 927 (98.9% with internet connectivity)
  • Salem High School - 1263/1272 (99.3% with internet connectivity)

Chromebook Devices & Usage
901 Chromebooks and chargers were distributed to students in Grades 3-5 for use at home. Students in grades 6-12 were already using their Chromebooks at home. A sitewide temporary license for Zoom remote video-conferencing was established to facilitate remote instruction. A dozen other instructional applications that are now offered temporarily for free were added to our “Clever” offering of instructional software applications.

Instructional Delivery: Pre-K-2
The students in preschool through second grade receive packets of instructional materials. The focus to this point has been to maintain skills and keep students connected to school. After spring break n ew packets with new and review instructional standards will be sent out to students on April 17 and May 1, 15, 29. Teachers continue to contact students each week to keep students connected and offer support.

Instructional Delivery: Grades 3-12
The primary instructional goals between March 23 and April 3 are to ensure that students can access instructional content, participate in class sessions, and use online tools to complete assignments. As a result, most content during this time has been and will continue to be review material (with a few exceptions). Teachers will begin sharing new content on April 14, after spring break. Teachers have been advised to focus on the most essential knowledge and skills in their courses. The division’s expectation is that students will participate in class sessions when they are scheduled and complete assigned work. Teachers will monitor participation and contact the families of students who are not participating to provide additional encouragement and support for their learning. There will be no class sessions April 6-April 13 (Spring Break). Teachers will reach out to students without internet connectivity to ensure that these students are receiving instruction and getting feedback.

Feedback and Grading
The division’s expectation is that teachers will continue to provide feedback in order to help students learn and grow. That feedback will at times take the form of grades. Other times the feedback will be more descriptive in nature. Both forms of feedback, grades and descriptive, will be useful for communicating student progress to students and parents.

We understand that school closures and online learning will likely present some unique challenges for students. We do not want circumstances beyond a student’s control to negatively impact students’ learning and, therefore, grades. We expect teachers to work with students and families individually to address these challenges to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to continue to grow academically. We also expect students and families to take full advantage of the opportunities provided and to promptly communicate challenges encountered with teachers.

Courses for Graduation Credit at SHS and ALMS
Link to DOE Guidance for Credit Bearing Courses

Graduation Cohort 2020 - The VDOE has waived many graduation requirements. Specific information on these waivers is available on the above link. These waivers are intended for students who were on track to graduate to be able to do so.

Graduation Cohort 2021 or After - Based on VDOE guidance, SCS will award standard credit for high school credit-bearing classes at ALMS and SHS by ensuring that students have completed a majority of required standards, competencies, and objectives, including those that are essential for success in subsequent coursework. As well, any student currently enrolled in a high-school bearing course during the 2019-20 school year who has received the standard credit may be awarded a locally-awarded verified credit. These locally awarded credits will not count toward the cap on locally awarded credits.


Student Services

The EL Parent-Resource Coordinator has been in frequent communication with the EL Community during the rapidly changing circumstance regarding local updates. In addition, the EL teachers have been communicating with the EL families and students about school specific information including the language of academics. Moreover, SCS has made every reasonable effort to provide and document the provision of educational continuity and the provision of access for students with disabilities whether through IDEA or 504. Specifically, reviewing compatibility and accessibility for students with disabilities to online learning for students with disabilities. This has included reviewing IEPS and 504 plans. The emphasis has been on equity for all students.

Student Services continues to partner with the Department of Instruction to meet the needs of special education students, the medically fragile, the English Learner, and other diverse learners.


Human Resources

With over 550 employees serving in numerous roles and job descriptions, there are a number of unique circumstances that are beyond the scope of this summary. In general, SCS is following the state's example and guidance of doing everything possible to honor contracts and notices of employment.

Although students and teachers are not in school buildings during the closure, school is still in session. The delivery method of our School Board's mission has changed drastically, but the commitment to fulfilling that mission hasn't wavered and the division couldn’t be more proud of the flexibility and commitment of the Board’s employees. We are asking the Board’s employees to perform their jobs and execute tasks in new locations, knowing that their assigned duties are evolving and constantly changing. Employees have embraced new and changing job responsibilities with enthusiasm and a willingness to help. The H.R. and Business Offices are receiving, organizing and implementing changing guidance and directives from the state and federal governments for all employees while also working directly with employees who have a number of unique circumstances.



The Federal Stimulus package that was approved by Congress late on March 25, 2020 included an estimated $240 M in additional funding for Pre-K-12. While it will take time for the method of delivery and an evaluation of the restrictions and limitations on this revenue to be known, the prospect of direct financial support for local education agencies is helpful. Much like the ARRA funding during the Great Recession, the stimulus funding should help the division build a “bridge” or “glide path” to new operational realities. It is to be noted that this funding stream will be one-time funds and not to be used for recurring needs. This is similar to how the ARRA funds were distributed and handled.

The State has directed divisions to track all expenses related to COVID-19 as they are expecting funds to be available to be reimbursed at some point. There are no specifics on this as of yet, but we are tracking additional hours and expenses related. There are also changes coming for FMLA that will assist employees if they can’t work due to having the COVID-19, are caring for an immediate family member who has the COVID-19, or if they are caring for a child that can’t go to school because the school is closed. This is being monitored for impact and implementation and is slated to be effective on April 1, 2020.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Home

Salem City Seal

2023 Holiday Events All Set for Salem

Posted on: November 17, 2023
Salem City Seal

2023 Halloween Events Set For Salem

Posted on: October 3, 2023
Salem Civic Center Logo

Hitmaker Dustin Lynch Returning to Salem

Posted on: September 21, 2023
Salem City Seal

Electoral Board Meets on September 11

Posted on: September 9, 2023
Salem City Seal

Salem Seeks City Manager Applicants

Posted on: September 5, 2023
Salem Civic Center Logo

Salem Fair Enjoys The Ride in 2023

Posted on: July 10, 2023
Salem Civic Center Logo

Heavy Metal Rockers Coming to Salem

Posted on: June 13, 2023
Salem Fire Department Logo

Structure Fire at 2011 Apperson Dr.

Posted on: April 22, 2023
Salem Fire Department Logo

Structure Fire at 16 McDivitt Road

Posted on: April 22, 2023
Salem Parks and Recreation Logo

2023 Easter Egg Hunt Set for April 5

Posted on: March 21, 2023
Salem Civic Center Logo

New Owners for the Salem Red Sox

Posted on: March 17, 2023
Salem Fire Department Logo

Early Morning Fire on West Main Street

Posted on: January 14, 2023
Salem City Seal

2022 Holiday Events All Set in Salem

Posted on: November 22, 2022
Salem Civic Center Logo

Indoor Pro Lacrosse Coming to Salem

Posted on: November 21, 2022
Salem Parks and Recreation Logo

2022 Halloween Activities Set in Salem

Posted on: October 20, 2022
Salem Fire Department Logo

Salem Fire and EMS Extinguish 9th St. Fire

Posted on: September 25, 2022
Salem Police Department Logo

Salem Police Receive Statewide HEAT Honor

Posted on: September 16, 2022
Salem City Seal

Olde Salem Days 2022 Traffic Information

Posted on: September 7, 2022
Salem City Seal

Apperson Bridge Sidewalks Closed

Posted on: May 22, 2022
Salem Civic Center Logo

Paw Patrol LIVE Coming to Salem In June

Posted on: February 14, 2022
Salem Fire Department Logo

Yokohama Fire Causes $160,000 Damage

Posted on: December 20, 2021
Salem Police Department Logo

Police Arrest Two for Stealing from Cars

Posted on: December 3, 2021
Salem City Seal

2021 Holiday Events Announced for Salem

Posted on: November 17, 2021
Salem Fire Department Logo

Commercial Fire at MedExpress on West Main

Posted on: November 10, 2021
Salem Fire Department Logo

Three Pets Perish in Peach Street Fire

Posted on: November 5, 2021
Salem City Seal

Council Proclaims Murray Cook Day in Salem

Posted on: September 28, 2021
Salem Fire Department Logo

Structure Fire on Azalea Street

Posted on: August 27, 2021

Parker McCollum is Coming to Salem

Posted on: August 26, 2021
Salem Fire Department Logo

Structure Fire on Victoria Street

Posted on: April 3, 2021
Salem Fire Department Logo

Dog Perishes in Front Avenue Fire

Posted on: March 30, 2021
Salem City Schools Logo

Epperly Named Assistant Principal at SHS

Posted on: February 10, 2021
Salem Police Department Logo

Goodman Named Police Officer of the Year

Posted on: February 10, 2021
Salem City Schools Logo

Kayla Wood Named SHS Girls Soccer Coach

Posted on: February 10, 2021
Salem Fire Department Logo

House Fire on Valleydale Avenue

Posted on: January 23, 2021
Salem City Seal

I-81 Widening Meeting Set for Feb. 9

Posted on: January 11, 2021
Salem City Seal

Local COVID-19 Vaccination Plans

Posted on: January 11, 2021
Salem Fire Department Logo

Structure Fire on Stonewall Circle

Posted on: January 4, 2021
Salem City Seal

Need Help with Utility Bills Payment?

Posted on: December 21, 2020
Salem City Seal

2020 Holiday Events Set For December

Posted on: November 30, 2020
Salem City Seal

Salem Receives Second State Tourism Grant

Posted on: November 16, 2020
Salem City Schools Logo

Boyd Named SHS Boys Basketball Coach

Posted on: November 12, 2020
Salem Police Department Logo

Salem Murder Suspect Arrested in West Va.

Posted on: November 10, 2020
Salem City Seal

Salem Awarded 15 New NCAA Championships

Posted on: October 14, 2020
Salem City Schools Logo

Salem School Division Earns Statewide Honor

Posted on: September 21, 2020
Salem Parks and Recreation Logo

2020 Salem Half Marathon Goes All Virtual

Posted on: September 14, 2020
Salem Parks and Recreation Logo

Parks & Rec Offering New Wellness Classes

Posted on: September 8, 2020
Salem City Seal

Phase II Downtown Revitalization Underway

Posted on: September 3, 2020
Salem City Seal

Rob Light Named Assistant City Manager

Posted on: August 24, 2020
Salem Parks and Recreation Logo

Salem Half Marathon COVID-19 Update

Posted on: July 30, 2020
Salem City Seal

Council Extends Due Dates for Taxes

Posted on: April 14, 2020
Salem City Seal

Local Governments Declare Emergencies

Posted on: March 16, 2020
Salem Police Department Logo

Police Make Arrest in Baymont Inn Incident

Posted on: February 19, 2020
Salem Fire Department Logo

Residential Fire on West Riverside Dr.

Posted on: February 16, 2020
Salem Civic Center Logo

Americana Music Artists Coming to Salem

Posted on: February 10, 2020
Salem Police Department Logo

Webb Named Salem Officer of the Year

Posted on: January 21, 2020
Salem City Schools Logo

Adam Ward Classic Expands for 2020

Posted on: January 14, 2020
Salem Fire Department Logo

Commercial Fire on Salem Industrial Dr.

Posted on: January 5, 2020