UPDATED: K-12 schools keep feeding students



Tuesday afternoon, the Wise County school system released a statement confirming it will provide breakfast and lunch at no cost “to all children 18 and under (or through 21 if enrolled in WCPS)” beginning Wednesday.

“Children MUST be present at the bus stop or at pick up to receive the meals,” it stated. “Monday’s bag will include breakfast and lunch for 2 days and Wednesday’s bag will include breakfast and lunch for 3 days. Meals will be available for pick up Monday and Wednesday from 11:00-1:00 at the following locations: Coeburn Primary, J.W. Adams Combined, St. Paul Elementary, Union Primary, and Wise Primary. By request meals are also available on bus routes. Bus runs will start at 11:00 am on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Wednesday, March 18. Parents will be called the first day of delivery to let families know approximate arrival times. These meals will be provided during this 2 week school closure with intentions to continue if schools have extended closures. If you have any questions please call Brandi Bates at (276) 328-8017 or your local school.”


Gov. Ralph Northam Friday ordered all K-12 schools in Virginia to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to the continued spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Schools will stayed closed through Friday, March 27, at a minimum.

“Localities will maintain authority over specific staffing decisions to ensure students maintain continuity of services or learning, while protecting the public health of teachers and staff,” a governor’s office press release stated. “Virginia Department of Education officials are working closely with school divisions and the Department of Social Services to ensure students who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs are able to access those programs while schools are closed.”


Sunday, the Wise County school system posted a message on its Facebook page asking parents, guardians and students to call their school Monday “to let us know if you would like to have us provide meals for you during the school closure . . . Once this information is gathered, we will inform everyone of the arrangements.”

County schools Superintendent Greg Mullins confirmed Monday morning that a meals program will be announced as soon as the information on need is compiled.

Norton city schools announced that starting Monday, school meals would be provided free of charge to children younger than 18 during the school closure. Meals will be distributed at Burton High School. All food is to be taken and eaten offsite.

Breakfast and lunch will be served through March 27 in the Burton High parking lot. Breakfast will run from 9-10:30 a.m. and lunch will run from noon-1:30 p.m.

Normal bus runs will take place for children who don’t have a ride to the school. Meals will be delivered on this schedule:


• Roundtown (Hillbilly): Breakfast 9 a.m.; lunch noon.

• Hawthorne Apartments: Breakfast 9:15 a.m.; lunch 12:15 p.m.

• Brown apartments (Ramsey): Breakfast 9:30 a.m.; lunch 12:30 p.m.

• Sawmill Park: Breakfast 9:35 a.m.; lunch 12:35 p.m.

• Locust Avenue Park: Breakfast 9:45 a.m.; lunch 12:45 p.m.

• Green Trailer Park: Breakfast 10 a.m.; lunch 1 p.m.

• Legion Park: Breakfast 10:05 a.m.; lunch 1:05 p.m.

• Laurel Avenue and Chapman Street: Breakfast 10:15 a.m.; lunch 1:15 p.m.

• Norton Rescue Squad: Breakfast 10:30 a.m.; lunch 1:30 p.m.


• Cananche Creek Apartments: Breakfast 9 a.m.; lunch noon.

• Alexandria Circle, fire department: Breakfast 9:15 a.m.; lunch 12:15 p.m.

• Norton city park: Breakfast 9:30 a.m.; lunch 12:30 p.m.

• Dorchester: Breakfast 9:40 a.m.; lunch 12:40 p.m.

• Josephine: Breakfast 9:45 a.m.; lunch 12:45 p.m.

• Appalachia Payless parking lot: Breakfast 10 a.m.; lunch 1 p.m.

Need more information? Call the schools office, 679-2330.


In a letter on the county schools website, Mullins noted, “At this time nothing would indicate that any of our students or staff have contracted the coronavirus.”

Staff “has had numerous discussions as to how we might continue to provide instructional support in the event there is an outbreak in our area that would necessitate closing our schools for an extended period of time,” he continued. “We are working through steps to prepare for such an occurrence. Let me reiterate we have no knowledge of anyone in our school communities that has contracted the virus, we are simply preparing for a potential outbreak.”

Plans and discussions for a potential extended closure, Mullins wrote, include:

• Instructional technology resource teachers will be providing training to instructional staff pertaining to the online learning system.

• Ensuring all students have equal access to learning opportunities and required materials, including technology.

• Providing laptops to those who need one.

• Providing appropriate learning materials for students in Pre-K-2.

• Delivering instructional materials to students without access to the internet (printed materials, jump drives, etc.).

• Ensuring the online learning system can effectively support children's different learning and teaching needs, including the ability to provide differentiated instruction.

• Providing needed support for students with individualized education programs.

• Exploring the possibility of supporting families with food insecurities.

Mullins wrote that staff continue to educate people on proper hand washing techniques and other sanitary measures, and that extra staff has been added to help with nightly sanitation and deep cleaning of buildings and buses.