DATE: March 23, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
This Week’s School Board Meeting Will Be Virtual; Public Can Access via Live Stream
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The regularly scheduled March 26 Albemarle County School Board meeting will be a virtual one, in keeping with Governor Ralph Northam’s emergency declaration that prohibits public meetings of more than 10 people at a time. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued similar guidance.
Members of the public will still be able to live stream school board meetings at
Thursday’s meeting will begin with a closed session at 6 p.m. The public portion of the meeting will begin at 6:30.
The School Board made its decision following an opinion from state Attorney General Mark Herring this past weekend that said, in part, Virginia law allows public bodies to conduct meetings electronically if “the purpose of the meeting is to address the emergency,” which includes meeting “to make decisions that must be made immediately and where failure to do so could result in irrevocable public harm.”
The opinion provides flexibility for each public body to determine those issues that are of immediate need for action. The following items are on the agenda for Thursday evening: the proposed 2020-21 budget and an update of the school division’s COVID-19 mitigation program.
“We only had two options—either postpone or cancel the meeting or meet virtually,” said School Board Chair Jonno Alcaro. “Even with the statewide closure of schools, the division still has vital community responsibilities to meet in supporting students and families and in making decisions now to prepare for the next school year. A virtual meeting allows us to conduct the necessary business of the school division while also keeping our community safer,” he said.
While the agenda will not be able to include a public comment period, Alcaro said that hearing from the public is a priority for all board members. “I urge those wishing to address the Board on any issue involving the school division to do so by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org,” Alcaro said. “Every comment we receive will be shared with all board members,” he added.