The Shenandoah County School Board on Wednesday unanimously approved a request to move the start date for Shenandoah County Public Schools to Aug. 31.

Much of the special meeting, which lasted over three hours, included discussions about whether schools should open using the hybrid method of teaching as planned or going to all virtual learning.

There were 13 public comments heard, most of them from teachers who wanted the date pushed back and to go with all virtual learning.

Shenandoah County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Johnston suggested giving him some time to talk to each of the School Board members.

"What I would suggest is reaching out to each of you," Johnston told them. "Reach out to each of you, talk with each of you and then make a decision based on the feedback I get."

The Shenandoah County School Board voted in June to go with a hybrid model that calls for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students to be in class four days a week with virtual learning one day a week. Sixth- through 12th-grade students would do virtual learning four days a week and be in class one day a week. Any student who wants to learn virtually-only would be allowed to do so.

The start date change was the only item on the agenda. Johnston had asked for the start date to be pushed from Aug. 17 to Aug. 31 due to some of the supply chains for some hygiene and sanitation supplies being disrupted. The disruption has resulted in a back order of some supplies. Among other items, electrostatic cleaners and sneeze guards for cafeterias will not be available by Aug 17. It also gives teachers two extra weeks to get used to a new system and prepare for the upcoming school year.

Teachers will have professional days until Aug. 28. The last day of school is still scheduled for May 27.

All six School Board members – Marty Helsley, Andrew Keller, Shelby Kline, Michelle Manning, Cynthia Walsh and Chairman Karen Whetzel – attended the meeting.

The link to the meeting can be found on YouTube at

Contact Tommy Keeler Jr. at