By Heather Bell
RADFORD – Due to increased COVID-19 cases in the New River Health District, Radford High School and Dalton Intermediate Schools will keep students home on SOL testing days if those students are not testing on a particular testing day.
“As we prepare for our state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) tests beginning next week at the secondary level (grades 7-12), we acknowledge that COVID-19 cases are increasing slightly within the New River Health District,” said Radford City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Graham in a recorded message to the school community on Friday.
“As many of you know, in grades 7-12, we generally have to stage holding centers with large groups of students who do not test on particular days so those students who are testing have the space and comfort they need to achieve and succeed at high levels,” Graham said. “This is not an optimal environment in a normal year, and certainly not during a pandemic.”
SOL testing will proceed as scheduled at Radford High School and John Dalton Intermediate on May 19, 24, and 25.
“However, those two schools will temporarily transition to asynchronous virtual learning for those test dates for non-testing students only to ensure that students who are testing have ample space to safely complete their required SOL assessments in a comfortable testing environment,” Graham said. “This will also ensure that RCPS is not congregating large groups of non-testing students as they wait for the test sessions to conclude. While SOL scores are an important indicator of our students’ learning, RCPS continues to emphasize the health and safety of our students over test scores,” the superintendent said. “Your child will be notified by their school as to which days they are expected to report to the building for required testing. Otherwise, teachers will post asynchronous virtual lessons or reviews for non-testing students only to complete while learning virtually.”
The change does not affect Belle Heth or McHarg elementary schools. Those schools will continue normal school schedules.
“We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we work to complete SOL testing in a safe and healthy manner,” Graham said.