By Taylor Boyd
The Patrick County Board of Supervisors heard an update about the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) 7.4-mile expansion project along the Lover’s Leap area of U.S. 58 at its Feb. 7 meeting.
VDOT resident engineer Lisa Price-Hughes said the project hopefully will start sometime in March, following months of delays. A disposal area will be set up near Virginia 8 for the removed topsoil, dirt, and gravel to be housed during the project.
In the Vesta area, Price-Hughes said affected property owners have or will be contacted by VDOT officials about land surveying.
“We want to do the surveys while the leaves are off the trees and it’s easier to see everything,” she said, adding property owners will need to give permission for VDOT to survey their land.
In other matters, the board:
*Voted to allow Brandon Simmons, of the Dan River District, to participate in the meeting via Zoom.
*Approved the meeting minutes as amended.
*Approved the bills, claims, and appropriations with a noted exception that will be discussed at the next meeting.
*Heard from Patrick County Schools Acting Superintendent Jason Wood regarding the division’s potential budget and updated COVID-19 guidance and the Patrick County High School’s (PCHS) Fall Standards of Learning (SOL) scores.
Wood said the division has updated its COVID protocols based on the recent changes from Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order #2 and guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
Wood said universal masking is recommend, but not required, while in schools. Masks will continue to be required on school buses due to federal requirements.
“Parents who wish to opt their child out of masking in schools may do so by sending a note to their child’s schools,” he said.
Staff members will still be required to wear masks or face shields to school as educational facilities are still considered to be “a high-volume traffic area,” Wood said, and added that staff members also are encouraged to increase physical distance when in gatherings.
If students or staff members who are not fully vaccinated have ongoing household exposure to a positive case, they must quarantine for 10 days assuming the positive case is improving by day five. This allows for five days for the positive case’s isolation and five days for self-quarantine.
Contacts with COVID-19 that occur within the same household must wear a mask for an additional five days upon returning to school regardless of mask exemption status.
Wood said the number of positive cases and quarantines in the schools are also decreasing following the post-holiday surge in January. As of Feb. 2, there were 60 confirmed cases and 93 quarantines with most of them occurring at PCHS and Stuart Elementary School.
Wood said the Fall 2021 PCHS SOL results showed that the division is improving to meet pre-pandemic scores. The pass rate in Math was 95.2 percent, and 73.45 percent in History, while in Science, the pass rate was 81.25 percent and 84.47 percent in English.
*Tabled a discussion of a possible noise ordinance.
*Approved a Declaration of Local State of Emergency, with funds not to exceed $5,000 from the county’s contingency fund.
*Approved the Patrick County Emergency Services Policy with amendments.
*Approved the ARPA Funds Committee recommendations, with the exception of one request.
*Approved a VDOT and PSA permit resolution.
*Approved work zone training for Mark Vernon, the Public Service Authority (PSA) Director.
*Scheduled a public hearing for a redistricting update for March 14 at 6:15 p.m.
*Scheduled a public hearing for a PCPS budget request for March 14.
*Heard the County Administrator’s report.
*Heard the Supervisors Committee reports.
*Nominated Roger Hayden for the Dan River District seat on the Department of Social Services board.
*Nominated Jane Fulk to be the member at large on the Planning Commission.
*Appointed Scottie Cassell to the Western Virginia Emergency Medical Services (WVEMS) Board.