DATE: April 10, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Albemarle County School Board Adds Public Comment Opportunity to Its Agenda for Next Thursday Evening’s Virtual Board Meeting
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Beginning with their next business meeting on Thursday, April 16, the Albemarle County School Board will be providing the opportunity for members of the community to offer public comment. In response to the public health measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19 illness, including Governor Ralph Northam’s social distancing requirements, the two most recent board meetings have been virtual. Members of the community could view the meeting, but measures were not in place to accommodate their participation.
Now, members of the public will have that option. To address School Board members on any topic related to school division business or operations, speakers are asked to sign up using the “Public Comment Sign-Up” link available at www.k12albemarle.org/board. The sign-up window will open on Monday, April 13, and speakers must sign up to speak by 4 p.m. on the day prior to the meeting; in this case, by Wednesday, April 15.
Those who have signed up to speak will receive a link from the School Board Clerk on the day of the meeting. The link will allow speakers to access the virtual meeting via Zoom. If there are multiple speakers, all will enter a virtual waiting room until it is their turn. They will be able to hear meeting proceedings while they are waiting.
When it is a speaker’s turn, their access to Board members will be activated by the Clerk and they will have up to three minutes to deliver their remarks. Their access will be completed after no more than three minutes.
The Chair of the School Board, Jonno Alcaro, said this new approach is being piloted for the April 16 meeting and, based upon its operability, can be adjusted as needed for future meetings.
“I want to thank our School Board Attorney, Ross Holden, and our Clerk, Jennifer Johnston, for their planning efforts in making it possible for Board members to again hear from the public during our meetings,” Alcaro said. “Every member of our School Board values the input we receive from our constituents. We are one learning community dedicated to the same purpose, which is preparing students for lifelong success. The best decisions we make for all students come from engaging with a range of opinions and judgments that is as inclusive as possible,” he added.
In addition to signing up to address the Board at the virtual meeting, the School Board Chair said members of the community can provide written comments to him or to Vice Chair Graham Paige, either of whom can read comments during the meeting. Videos that are three minutes or less in duration also can be submitted to Mr. Alcaro or Mr. Paige for showing during the meeting. As always, comments to be entered into the minutes of the meeting can be sent to Ms. Johnston by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The April 16 agenda will be available this Monday, April 13, on our Electronic School Board site at http://esb.k12albemarle.org/ by clicking on the April 16 date on the calendar displayed in the upper-right corner of the page.
The meeting will be available to the public via the Board’s video live stream at http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/player.htm?xml/schoolboard.xml.
Recently, the School Board added three meetings to its schedule. All will be virtual and take place beginning at 2 p.m. on May 7, June 18, and July 16. They will include updates on the school division’s management plan for supporting student learning and its operations for the balance of the current school year.