Message from Superintendent Merv Daugherty #
I’m sorry our school year has begun with so many challenges. I know more than anything, we all want kids to be back in the classroom safely and back to a more normal school experience. Families and staff want to have a regular routine again. We are working to address our challenges with those thoughts in mind.
I also want to say thank you. We appreciate all you have done, and continue to do, to make the process smoother and better for our Chesterfield students. We have all heard that it takes a village, and our village is strong. I am proud to be part of a community that cares so deeply about kids and their success.
I have been receiving lots of questions about important topics, and I wanted to share some information on those items.
CCPS continues working to recruit bus drivers, and several potential drivers are currently moving through the hiring process of interviews, background checks and training. Late summer applicants continue to work toward earning their CDL to join our team. We’ve also received an increase in applications this week, and we are reaching out to qualified applicants.
While this is hopeful, challenges remain in the day-to-day logistics of getting our kids to school in a timely fashion. Many schools are working to increase efficiencies, where they can, to student drop-off and pick-up procedures. We are also looking at each school’s current traffic patterns to identify helpful changes in the coming weeks to improve traffic and reduce the time families spend in line when transporting children to and from school.
We recognize that transportation issues cause a ripple effect and create stress for everyone – our families, teachers, bus drivers and employees. Our bus drivers are working long hours and driving multiple routes to get students to and from school. Our families have turned out strong as well, helping to get kids back into classrooms for in-person learning. Our teachers and school staff have gone above and beyond during this difficult time. We sincerely appreciate everyone who is working so hard to do what is best for our kids.
To check the location and expected arrival time of your child’s bus, download the My Stop app. We know some parents have experienced issues with the app this week, but this remains the best way to get real-time information about buses.
We are pleased to see our students and staff wearing masks and following mitigation measures. Even with masks, it is easy to see the joy of students and teachers who are finally able to come together again in the classroom. There is no doubt that everyone has grown weary with the pandemic, but we must remain vigilant to keep our kids safe and in school this year.
It is important that students and staff complete the daily health assessment before coming to school each day, and we must continue following the safety protocols that are in place. We do not want COVID-19 to disrupt our school year. Find the health assessment forms here.
We have a COVID-19 guidance page on the CCPS division website where you can find the latest information related to COVID-19 and Chesterfield Schools. The page includes:
- Message sent Aug. 12 to staff and families
- Aug. 10 School Board presentation including mitigation strategy information
- Student health assessment form (English and Spanish)
- Employee health assessment form
- Employee health assessment FAQ
- What happens when there is a COVID-19 diagnosis at school – FAQ
- Mask exemption procedure
- Link to list of positive COVID-19 cases in Chesterfield County Public Schools
- Virginia Department of Health case information
Virtual Learning Academy
Many parents have asked about the status of available slots at the Virtual Learning Academy. CCPS offered a choice between online and in-person structures for families this year, but many have elected to alter initial plans and this has led to a waiting list for VLA.
It is recommended that families on the waiting list continue to stay connected to their home schools while the VLA staffing capacities and enrollment requests continue to be assessed.
There are no other immediate virtual alternatives at this time, but if seats become available, families will be notified.
Thank you again for your continued support. We will keep you updated as we have more information to share.
Updated COVID-19 guidance on division website #
A quick reference guide showing what happens when a positive COVID-19 test is identified and an updated FAQ with information pertaining to processes and questions surrounding a positive test has been added to the COVID-19 guidance page on the division website.
How to get school messages via text message #
Schools send info to parents by phone, email and text. Parents who want to receive texts (and who are not already receiving texts) need to take these two steps:
- First, make sure your contact information — including your cell number — is up-to-date in ParentVUE.
- Next, text Y to 67587 to opt in to texts. (Standard message and data rates may apply. For help, text HELP to 67587. To opt out, text STOP to 67587.)
Log in to make sure your info is current in ParentVUE/StudentVUE. Our website has detailed information, including a helpful overview that shows how to log in. Instructions are also included on updating the ParentVUE and StudentVUE mobile apps. Using ParentVUE, parents are also asked to check/update your home address, any alternative addresses and how students travel to and from school. All families are asked to update this information, even if your student will attend school virtually during the 2021-22 school year. Additionally, if your child would like to be called by a nickname, you can include that information in ParentVUE as well. If you need help accessing ParentVUE or updating your home address, contact your child’s school.
Adolescent immunizations #
The adolescent immunization clinic scheduled Aug. 30 at the Rockwood Vaccination Center will no longer be held. If your child still needs Tdap, Meningococcal and HPV vaccines, please contact your child’s health-care provider or visit health clinics such as Walmart, CVS MinuteClinics, Better Health Med or Patient First. If you are looking for a COVID-19 vaccination, the Chesterfield Health District is providing vaccines at the Rockwood Vaccination Center, located at 10161 Hull Street Road (former Big Lots), to those 12 and older on these days during September:
- 3-7 p.m. Mondays
- 3-7 p.m. Tuesdays
- 3-7 p.m. Thursdays
- 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays
Now you can binge-watch the complete set of back-to-school videos! #
Over the past month, we released video interviews with Superintendent Merv Daugherty, School Board members and other top leaders discussing how Chesterfield County Public Schools prepared to open for the 2021-22 year. Here are links to all of the videos:
- School Board Chair Ryan Harter
- School Board Vice Chair Ann Coker
- School Board member Kathryn Haines
- School Board member Dorothy Heffron
- School Board member Debbie Bailey
- Chief Academic Officer Sharon Pope
- Chief of Schools Lisa High
- Chief Technology Officer Tim Tillman
- Chief Finance Officer Bob Meister
- Chief of Human Resources and Employee Services Kim Hough
- Chief Communications and Community Engagement
Officer Shawn Smith
- Chief Operations Officer Josh Davis
Note: All of the interviews but one were recorded before Aug. 10 when COVID-19 mask requirements were reinstated.
Curbside meal pickup #
Starting Aug. 24, curbside service for school meals is changing: Five days of breakfasts and lunches for children under the age of 18 will be distributed curbside 3:30-4:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Bon Air Elementary, Crenshaw Elementary, Matoaca Elementary, Carver Middle, Elizabeth Davis Middle, Falling Creek Middle, Manchester Middle, Providence Middle, Salem Church Middle, Bird High, Cosby High, Thomas Dale High, Meadowbrook High, Monacan High and [email protected].
Children do not have to be present for pickup. Questions? Call Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services at 804-743-3717. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Free breakfasts and lunches for all #
USDA has extended national waivers for all students to continue receiving free breakfast and lunch daily during the 2021-22 school year. Meals will be available curbside for students learning in a virtual environment. Face-to-face elementary and middle school students who bring their lunch from home to school can add a fruit, a vegetable and a milk free. Face-to-face high school students who bring their lunch from home may choose from these free options:
- add a fruit, two vegetables and a milk
- add two fruits, a vegetable and a milk
- add two fruits, two vegetables and a milk
The waivers allow Food and Nutrition Services to provide meals to students at no charge without parents submitting an application. However, if a student has an approved meal application on file, then other benefits outside the school system are available to families in need, such as P-EBT food assistance, reduced or waived internet fees and waived school and testing fees. To receive these benefits, submit an application online for free or reduced-price meals. If you do not have internet access using a smartphone, tablet or computer, then contact Food and Nutrition Services at 804-743-3722. A new application must be submitted each school year; only one application per household is needed. Parents will be notified of the status of their application by email or letter, so be sure your student’s school has the correct email and mailing address on file.
Important dates on Chesterfield school calendars #
The 2021-22 school year calendar includes these upcoming dates:
- Sept. 3 is a student and staff holiday.
- Sept. 6 is a student and staff holiday.
- Sept. 16 is a student and staff holiday.
The calendar for Bellwood Elementary and Falling Creek Elementary (our year-round schools) includes these upcoming dates:
- Sept. 3 is a student and staff holiday.
- Sept. 6 is a student and staff holiday.
- Sept. 16 is a student and staff holiday.
- Sept. 17 is a three-hour early release for students and teacher workday.
- Sept. 20-Oct. 1 is an intersession break (academic/enrichment programming).
Openings on School Board advisory committees #
Advisory committees established by the Chesterfield County School Board are one way community members connect with their local schools. Advisory committee members are appointed from each of the county’s five magisterial districts and include parents, teachers, staff members, students and others interested in helping Chesterfield County Public Schools achieve its vision of creating a better tomorrow. Advisory committee members must reside in the district they represent. Special Education Advisory Committee members must have a child currently receiving special education services. Please apply online by Sept. 1 if you are eligible and interested in these openings:
- Bermuda District seat on Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (partial term ending June 30, 2022)
- Matoaca District seat on Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (partial term ending June 30, 2023)
- Bermuda District seat on Special Education Advisory Committee (partial term ending June 30, 2022)
- Dale District seat on Special Education Advisory Committee (partial term ending June 30, 2023)
- Midlothian District seats on Special Education Advisory Committee (partial terms ending June 30, 2022, and June 30, 2023)
Under Virginia’s open government requirements, meetings are generally required to be held in person. The current meeting schedule is available here. If you are unable to meet in person, please note that in your application under “availability for meeting attendance.”
Get set to Tech It Out! #
Each Tuesday in September, we’ll share tech resources to help families understand and manage the digital landscape that students inhabit in Chesterfield County Public Schools. Tech It Out explains technology so families can support their students. We’ll share links in this newsletter and on the school system’s social media channels:
COVID-19 vaccine connections #
COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to all. VaccineFinder.org works with partners such as clinics, pharmacies and health departments to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services for pre-approved age groups.
An anonymous COVID-19 text notification system provides Chesterfield County residents with updates from the Chesterfield Health District and county government. Residents can text CfieldCOVID to 888777 to sign up for text notifications to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine in Chesterfield. This system does not collect personal data, and subscribers can opt out at any time. Click here for more information.
Free or discounted Lyfts to vaccinations are available through the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. For more information, visit yourunitedway.org/news/rideunited/.
September dates #
- September is Attendance Awareness Month.
- September is National School Success Month.
- Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.
- Sept. 5-11 is Suicide Prevention Week.
- Sept. 6 is Labor Day.
- Sept. 11 is the anniversary of 9/11.
- Sept. 12 is Grandparents’ Day.
- Sept. 12-18 is National Arts in Education Week.
- Sept. 17 is Constitution Day.
- Sept. 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day.
- Sept. 21 is IT Pro Day.
- Sept. 22 is the fall equinox.
- Sept. 28 is National Voter Registration Day.
- Sept. 29 is World School Milk Day.