School Board Q&A

Does BCPS have in their possession any books containing visual depiction(s) of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct including but not limited to the following?
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
All Boys Aren't Blue and/or Decelerate Blue by Adam Rapp

If so, are the books available (print or electronically) to students via school classrooms, libraries or any other means?

These specific titles are not available in any format.




Relating to "your" Equity Task Force Team you quoted that you would allow two local residents to be brought onto this team.

1) Has this been completed and if so who are the citizens that were chosen?
2) Has the task force had meetings monthly and if so when did new members start attending those meeting.
3) In keeping with transparency within the community why aren't the minutes posted on the board docs for all parents to see. You say that there is no CRT, SEL, or any other ideology being taught in BCPS system. Make the records public in the Board Docs of the equity task force team public.


Two citizens have been added to the Equity Task Force and were announced at the September school board meeting: Mrs. Cindy Bandy and Mrs. Erin Huddleston.  The task force met once in May and has not had monthly meetings since that time.  There are no task force meeting minutes since the group has not met beyond the initial introductory meeting.



I have heard of the ESSER III Plan but I do not know what the acronym stands for. May I view the existing  ESSER III Plan?
Information regarding the BCPS ARPA ESSER III Plan is available on the Financial Information page of the School Board section of the division website.  This plan was posted for public access on September 1, 2021.



Will school board members vote to withdraw from and take our approximately $15,000 in dues from the NSBA, the national government senator lobbying association, which has recently called for FBI investigation of parents opposed to school board policies across Virginia?
On November 19, 2021, the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) notified all Virginia school boards that the VSBA Board of Directors voted to end its membership in the National School Board Association (NSBA). At the time of the November 19 correspondence from VSBA, thirteen states had officially withdrawn from NSBA. Botetourt County Public Schools has not paid dues to NSBA since August 14, 2019. Additionally, dues paid to NSBA have never been in the amount of $15,000.




What are the procedures citizens should follow to get their concerns added to the board meeting agenda, essentially giving them the ability to speak to their concerns at the monthly meetings?


From the BCPS website:
Citizens and delegations are welcome to speak at School Board meetings during the public comment session scheduled at each meeting. Remarks are limited to three (3) minutes per person. Requests to address the Board must be submitted by 10:00 a.m. the day of the meeting, and can be made by using the online form or by calling (540) 473-8263 and speaking with the Clerk of the Board. The School Board does not respond to questions asked during the public comment session. You may submit specific questions using the form linked below. The website will be updated regularly to display responses.  



What is the school board's plan in regards to the VDOE and the SEL standards?  I have found the response on the website, but I am wanting to know
which standards our school division will adopt and how it will be taught in the curriculum.  The VDOE website just says curriculum is not available.

School divisions are not required to adopt the Virginia SEL Guidance Standards. The BCPS School Board has not adopted any of the VDOE standards at this time.  The BCPS C-Skills (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, conviction, community) were developed as part of the BCPS Profile of Graduate a number of years ago.  Resources related to the C-Skills and SEL topics are used by staff based on the needs of each individual school.

From the VDOE website:
The Virginia Social Emotional (SEL) Guidance Standards are now available to all Virginia school divisions. While the 2020 General Assembly required the VDOE to develop the guidance standards for SEL, Virginia school divisions are not required to adopt them. Local school boards may choose to adopt all, or portions of, the Virginia SEL Guidance Standards as part of their own local policies, and/or use them as guidance as they implement SEL programming based on the needs of their community.



The School Board has said that is is against CRT and that CRT is not being taught in Botetourt County.  What is the Board's response then to the Culturally Competent Virginia Educators Bill (SB 1196 & HB 1904) which was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor which requires teachers and other licensed school board employees to complete cultural competency training (CRT) no later than the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year?  Have these trainings already taken place? 

While the law went into effect July 1, 2021, applicants for a license will not need to meet these training requirements until further action is taken by the VDOE and the Board of Education.  The Virginia Board of Education is expected to issue guidance on establishing minimum standards for cultural competency training of employed and licensed educators no later than December 31, 2021.  Once this guidance has been provided, the BCPS School Board will consider the actions needed to fulfill the requirements of this legislation.  At this time, no trainings have taken place to meet this new requirement.  The current VDOE application for an initial license or a renewal of a Virginia license does not include this statutory ancillary requirement for a license.



What scientific proof do you have that forcing children to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose for 6+ hours/day is safe?  Please provide evidence that supports the physical, developmental, social, emotional, and psychological growth of children? 

Botetourt County Public Schools (BCPS) has outlined mitigation strategies in our COVID_19 Health plan that are consistent with Public Health Orders issued by the State Health Commissioner on August 12, 2021.  The plan also outlines compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH, and current guidelines from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).  Universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors in K-12 schools is required and is a part of layered mitigation efforts that are put in place to reduce the likelihood of transmission within the public school setting.  Masks are not required while students are exercising, using exercise equipment, playing some musical instruments, while drinking or eating breakfast, lunch, or snack, while sleeping (during nap time for PK students), or while outside.  Other exceptions to the masking order exist and may be appropriate for some students under certain conditions.  Parents should contact their child's school to determine if an exception or reasonable accommodation would be appropriate.

More information on the use of masks can be found at:
https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/cloth-face-covers

Additional CDC resources can be found at:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/parent-faqs.html



For what reason(s) would a religious exemption for the wearing of a face covering (mask) be denied for a student?  What accommodations or restrictions would be placed on a student with a religious exemption to a face covering?

All requests for reasonable accommodations based on a sincerely held religious belief will be considered on an individual basis.  The school administration will consider a variety of information, including the documentation provided by the parent, the current school and community transmission rates, and the health and safety needs of students and staff when determining a reasonable accommodation to the masking order



Why is the school division no longer sending out notices of confirmed positive COVID cases in the schools? 

The school division is posting the number of confirmed COVID cases on the COVID Information website.  These figures are being updated each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to keep our school community informed of confirmed cases in each school in our division.  Individual families are contacted directly by school personnel if a child has had close contact with an individual with COVID and provided with specific information regarding the exposure.  At this time, we do not have plans to notify the entire school population of each confirmed COVID case unless that family has been directly impacted.  We will continue to review this decision and make changes as necessary to our notification process. 



How is the school system handling medical or religious exemptions to the mask-wearing?

The school division will consider each request for a medical or religious mask exemption on an individual basis.  If a parent would like to request a reasonable accommodation based on a documented medical condition or sincerely held religious objection to the mask requirement, the parent may contact the school administration. The school administrator will provide the family with the form to make the request.  After submitting the form to the school administration, the request will be considered.  A decision will be made taking into account the details of the request, the supporting documentation provided, the unique needs of the student, the community and school transmission rates, along with any other relevant information provided by the school or the parent.  





With the rise in COVID cases in our area, will the schools start implementing health checks on students and faculty at the beginning of the day?


At this time, we are not implementing daily health checks at the schools but continue to require students and staff to conduct self-screenings prior to reporting to work or school each day.  BCPS will continue to consult with the health department and monitor current community and school transmission rates when making decisions with regard to any additional measures that may need to be implemented.  



What is the school board's plan in regards to the VDOE and the SEL standards?

The social and emotional well-being of our students is and will continue to be, a priority for our school division.  Although Virginia school divisions are not required to adopt the Social Emotional Guidance Standards provided but the VDOE, there will certainly be some that our school division will use.  We will make this decision based on the specific needs of our students.  Within the SEL Guidance Standards, there are resources provided to assist school divisions to instruct students in the areas of Self-AwarenessSelf-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Decision-Making.  Specific information regarding the SEL Standards can be found HERE.


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