Project Restart FAQ

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Chesterfield County Public Schools has hosted approximately 100 meetings with family and staff members during the past several weeks. These virtual town halls, focus groups and meetings with community leaders have resulted in more than 1,000 questions submitted electronically via a shared Google Doc and approximately 10,000 questions/comments/suggestions left in social media chat rooms during live virtual meetings and received via email.

Below are inquiries related to common themes and a compilation of the most frequently asked questions received during the past three weeks. Please note that posted questions may not appear as originally asked; school division leaders have attempted to merge similar questions together for brevity. While the School Board and school division leaders sincerely appreciate the multitude of questions received, it was not feasible to respond to each individual question while still developing plans for a potential return to school.

The School Board is scheduled to meet July 20 to make an initial decision on reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year. Please note that these plans could be modified if the Commonwealth of Virginia advances into an as-of-yet-unannounced Phase 4 (restrictions loosened, possibly) or reverts back into an earlier phase (restrictions tightened).

The safety of our students and staff members remains Chesterfield County Public Schools’ primary goal. The School Board and school division leaders are working diligently to make decisions based on the best available information provided to them. This includes guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education, and Chesterfield County’s Risk Management Department among others, as well as executive orders from the Governor of Virginia.

 

OVERVIEW

When will a decision be made? Is it final?

As noted above, the School Board is scheduled to meet July 20 to make an initial decision on reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year. Please note that these plans could be modified if the Commonwealth of Virginia advances into an as-of-yet-unannounced Phase 4 (restrictions loosened, possibly) or reverts back into an earlier phase (restrictions tightened).

 

Has the county been directly consulting with credible medical professionals and experts to inform the decision to open schools? From where is the school division getting its information?

The school division is constantly reviewing guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and Chesterfield County’s Risk Management Department among others, as well as executive orders from the Governor of Virginia. We are also receiving guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is not a regulatory agency, and have received back-to-school information from other professional organizations as well.

Each of these entities and individuals has spent a lengthy amount of time studying the situation and developing recommendations. The 136-page guidance document provided by VDOE was created by educators and provides recommendations for the potential reopening of schools, while the CDC and Virginia Department of Health have provided recommendations regarding mitigation strategies that school divisions should consider.

 

Please explain why students would not return to school full time when there is no data supporting children being at risk or spreaders that would justify changing anything.

Children are far worse susceptible to and spreaders of the common flu.

The school division is constantly reviewing guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education, and Chesterfield County’s Risk Management Department among others, as well as executive orders from the Governor of Virginia. Like other school divisions throughout Virginia and across the country, Chesterfield County Public Schools likely will be in a position to follow this guidance and these recommendations in order to keep students and staff members healthy.

While numbers may be low, there is no definitive scientific statement that children are not at risk or that they are not carriers. It would be fair to acknowledge that there has been a challenge with this data, as large gatherings of young people have not been taking place where several hundred to thousands have been brought together for any extended time. The data points initially indicated that 20 and 30 year olds were less likely to catch it, and this has been dis-proven as they have congregated in larger numbers.

In addition, there are approximately 8,000 adult employees and nearly 1,000 adult substitutes to take into consideration who may be in high-risk categories.

 

Is the school division reviewing recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics?

The school division is aware of the initial AAP statement. The school division also is aware of a follow-up statement that clarified that while “children learn best when physically present in the classroom” and “returning to school is important for the healthy development and well-being of children,” public health agencies must make recommendations “based on evidence, not politics.”

“Science should drive decision-making on safely reopening schools,” the statement — made jointly with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA) and the School Superintendents Association (AASA)— reads. “We should leave it to health experts to tell us when the time is best to open up school buildings, and listen to educators and administrators to shape how we do it.”

It also is important to note, with deep respect for the organization, that AAP is not a regulatory agency in the same manner as CDC or VDH.

 

Why is the School Board holding virtual meetings to determine if school will be held in person? If it is not safe enough to meet in person for this meeting, then how is it safe to be in schools?

Not knowing how many students, parents and staff members might show up for an in-person meeting, it was determined that virtual meetings were the best way to remain within the Governor’s 250-person limit during Phase 3. That proved to be the case with anywhere between 250 and 1,250 people watching the meeting at any one time.

However, the July 20 School Board meeting is scheduled to be an in-person meeting, following many of the same Public Meeting Room restrictions in place for other county government meetings.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Will students and staff members be tested for COVID-19 before returning to school?

The school division does not plan to test students and staff prior to their return to school. It is not a requirement of any Executive Action or a recommendation by any regulatory agency.

Staff members have been provided with a self-assessment review that they are required to complete daily as a condition of their employment. The same self-assessment questions will be provided to families prior to the start of school. The school division will ask that each student undergo the self-assessment with a family member before leaving for school.

 

Will temperature checks be instituted before a child gets on a bus? Before a child walks into school?

At this time, the school division does not plan to take the temperature of students prior to their return to school as it is not required by any Executive Action or recommended by any regulatory agency.

However, as noted above, the school division will ask that each student undergo the self-assessment with a family member before leaving for school.

 

Will students and staff members be provided personal protective equipment (PPE)?

The school division is procuring masks for students and staff members who need one. Other PPE will be made available for certain personnel who work with vulnerable students.

 

Will all students be required to wear masks? This may be difficult for younger students.

The school division intends to follow recommendations related to social distancing and facial coverings, such as those outlined in Governor Northam’s Executive Order 63. If schools reopen for in-person learning, the school division will recommend that the School Board require students and staff to wear facial coverings.

School division leaders are developing enforcement procedures.

 

Clinics at many schools are small and there would not be enough room to maintain social distancing between sick students, those who need medical services or prescription medicines and health-care staff. How is this going to be addressed?

School-based leaders will be responsible for identifying a separate isolation area for students or staff members presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. There should be no mixing of sick students and those visiting the clinic for medicine, minor treatments or other similar reasons.

 

What happens when a teacher tests positive? Who will be notified? Who needs to be quarantined? How will families and staff be notified?

The staff member should be notified of the need to isolate at home per their health-care provider’s instructions. The staff member will be asked if they had any “close contact” with other individuals in the school setting for two days prior to the onset of their symptoms or two days prior to their testing date if no symptoms were present. “Close contact” is considered by CDC as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of a positive individual. (Cloth masks do not affect this rule. Sharing of phones and desks is also considered close contact per Chesterfield Health Department.) Any identified close contact(s) of a possible exposure will be notified.

The name and identifying information of the individual who tested positive is confidential and cannot be shared.

The school nurse will be notified and will consult with the Chesterfield Health Department’s epidemiologist for further guidance and can assist with notifications.

Building-level custodial staff of the need for cleaning of any affected classrooms/areas.

 

What happens when a student tests positive? Who will be notified? Who needs to be quarantined? How will families and staff be notified?

The student should be notified of the need to isolate at home per their health-care provider’s instructions. The student/parent will be asked if the student had any “close contact” with other individuals in the school setting for two days prior to the onset of their symptoms or two days prior to their testing date if no symptoms were present. “Close contact” is considered by CDC as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of a positive individual. (Cloth masks do not affect this rule. Sharing of phones and desks is also considered close contact per Chesterfield Health Department.) Any identified close contact(s) of a possible exposure will be notified.

The name and identifying information of the individual who tested positive is confidential and cannot be shared.

The school nurse will be notified and will consult with the Chesterfield Health Department’s epidemiologist for further guidance and can assist with notifications.

Building-level custodial staff of the need for cleaning of any affected classrooms/areas.

 

Will the school division hire contact tracers?

There are no plans to do so. While staff will work to determine “who” an individual came in contact with to alert them and take appropriate action, there will not be a specific employee hired for this capacity. We will work closely with the Chesterfield Health Department and the county government’s Risk Management team in this regard.

 

Will the school division observe social distancing recommendations? How can this be done in small classrooms?

The school division will observe the social distancing distances recommended at the time school reopens. There is currently varying guidance provided. Different rooms and areas within a building will be assessed by school leaders and level leadership directors to determine if adjustments to other areas need to be made. This is a site by site issue for review.

 

What will happen if the student comes to school with a fever?

Students presenting with COVID-19 symptoms will be referred to an isolation area for review by clinic staff. As determined by that assessment, the student’s family will be contacted and required to pick up the student.

 

Will there be a nurse in each school?

The school division is working diligently to meet this expectation.

 

When a vaccine is developed, will all students and staff members be required to get one before returning to school?

If the vaccination is required by law for school attendance, the school division will require it.

 

CLEANING

School-based Building Operations Supervisors (BOS) and Day Porters are equipped and trained by the Facilities Department, and are directly supervised and evaluated by the school principal and school administration team. Contract custodial crew members are hired and trained by vendors, who must provide a lead/supervisory custodian at each school.

Central Office support from the Facilities Department is provided on a regular basis by three Facilities Services Supervisors (FSS) and four Custodial Services Supervisors (CSS). These supervisors serve all the schools in specified zones; each school has an FSS and a CSS for support.

CSS will conduct quality control checks at schools to ensure our Day Porter staff are performing the work as outlined in the Facility Department’s reopening plan. CSS will perform daily Inspections with the Cleantelligent app to generate data points verifying the overall quality of building cleanliness. The BOS inspects work of the contract custodians, receives input from other school staff if offered, and records results into a Performance Tracking Sheet. The CSS audits the scores in the Performance Tracking Sheets, taking corrective action in accordance with contract requirements and CDC guidelines as appropriate. Inspection scores will help generate specific plans for individual schools, including training needs if deficiencies are noted.

The Facilities Department will provide training this summer for Day Porter and BOS staff so that they fully understand the requirement to keep our learning spaces clean and students and staff safe. This training will detail industry best practices for response to COVID-19. We will also reintroduce building schedules/zones to ensure effective cleaning during the four defined cleaning periods of the day. In partnership with several suppliers, the school division will deploy disinfecting “misters” as a part of our daily routines, allowing for appropriate kill times and increased efficiency for touchpoints.

In addition, the Facilities Department is actively enhancing its Preventative Maintenance (PM) program, including the following actions:

  • Award of Fiscal Year 2020-21 task orders to perform PMs on all HVAC systems, which will allow all summer PM inspections and repairs to be completed by the start of We are working with our contractors to ensure the inspections will address COVID-19 protection as much as possible with our current systems (i.e. more effective filters) and start the development of solutions to enhance systems where needed.
  • Flushing all schools water systems to ensure water quality for the start of
  • PM on all boiler and hot water systems and correction of all systems to ensure all schools have fully functioning hot water

Principals and BOS staff have been requested to test systems such as hot water and submit work orders for repairs in advance of school opening. The work order process for repairs continues throughout the year as systems experience wear and tear and need attention. The FSS will actively visit schools and provide support to leaders and BOS for PMs and repairs.

 

What are a Day Porter’s responsibilities related to COVID-19?

  • Disinfect all touch points and work spaces, and sanitize all eating areas a minimum of four times per
  • Restrooms should be completely disinfected from top to bottom (include sweeping and mopping with flat mop) four times per day. Check and restock soap dispensers. These tasks include restrooms and sinks in
  • Remain visible and actively addressing touchpoints and cleaning in occupied areas and ingress/egress
  • Each Porter should be assigned a specified area and avoid rotating support in multiple spaces e one in auditorium, one at the main entrance, one or two supporting high traffic areas and disinfecting common areas/restrooms.
  • Check and restock hand sanitizer stations four times

 

What cleaners will the school division use to combat COVID-19?

Custodial carts should be fully stocked to include mop bucket and pulse mop for each cart. This will ensure staff can quickly address any issues that may arise.

All chemicals listed above are stocked in schools, available in the main school division custodial closet and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to be effective with COVID-19

pandemic strain. Staff should follow guidelines as identified in the provided product information link.

 

Will the school division hire additional custodians?

No additional custodians are planned at this time. Each school/building has a building operations supervisor, day porters and contracted custodians.

 

Will hand sanitizer and masks be made available in ample supply for all classrooms?

The school division is procuring masks for students and staff members who need one. Hand sanitizer stations also are being ordered for schools. The school division continues its work to see if enough sanitizer and wipes are currently available to provide to 5,000 classrooms.

 

Will schools install more hand sanitizer and ensure the bathrooms have soap?

Each school will have hand sanitizer dispensers in hallways, and procedures are in place to closely monitor soap and paper towel dispensers in restrooms. The school division is aware that this has been a concern in the past, and has developed plans for constant monitoring.

Bathrooms will be cleaned a minimum of four times a day and common contact points will be cleaned routinely.

In addition, the Facilities team is working to see that hot water is available where it can be.

 

Will classrooms be cleaned between classes at the secondary level?

Classrooms will be cleaned after school dismisses by the contracted custodial teams, and several options under consideration include specific times for additional, more rigorous cleaning opportunities. In addition, staff members will have access to supplies for cleaning on their own. Everyone, including students, will have a role in keeping the learning environment safe.

 

How is the school division addressing ventilation systems within schools? What HVAC procedures are the school division planning to follow in order to keep the air systems in proper shape for handling the virus?

Award of Fiscal Year 2020-21 task orders to perform PMs on all HVAC systems, which will allow all summer PM inspections and repairs to be completed by the start of school. We are working with our contractors to ensure the inspections will address COVID-19 protection as much as possible with our current systems (i.e. more effective filters) and start the development of solutions to enhance systems where needed.

 

Will buses be cleaned after runs?

Yes. Buses will be cleaned after the last run in the morning and the last run in the afternoon. Specific protocols will be shared with drivers.

 

INSTRUCTION

While the school division is eager to welcome students back into school buildings, it is acknowledged that some families may not be ready to send their children back for the start of the 2020-21 school year if an in-person instructional model is selected. School division leaders also recognize that throughout the school year, the circumstances of individual families or the school division as a whole may be such that virtual learning is the only option for providing continuity of learning. Please know that should virtual learning be desired or required, CCPS is prepared to deliver a structured, comprehensive, quality learning experience for all students.

Let’s be clear on this point: What students, families and staff members experienced between mid-March and the end of the school year was not online learning. Like all school divisions, Chesterfield County Public Schools was doing all that was possible to pivot in an unexpected, unplanned for new learning landscape.

School division leaders have been working diligently to plan for a variety of instructional options in advance of the start of the 2020-21 school year. Chesterfield County Public Schools has a long-standing investment in and commitment to the infrastructure, device access, instructional resources, and sustained teacher training required for blended and online learning.

Since mid-March, the Superintendent’s leadership team has acted deliberately to “future-proof” the school division so that it is able to serve families whether students are learning from within our buildings or learning from home. The school division has increased device and Internet access, acquired key instructional applications, and is providing a multitude of professional learning opportunities for our teachers to make sure they are comfortable and confident with best practices in blended and distance learning.

Virtual learning is likely new to students and families, but it is not new to Chesterfield County Public Schools. For more than a decade, CCPSOnline, our fully online program, has provided online courses under the supervision of licensed teachers to approximately 3,000 students annually. In fact, Chesterfield County Public Schools is the only school division in Virginia that can offer our online courses for recognized credit to any student in Virginia. Prior to Covid-19, our families chose CCPSOnline for a variety of reasons, all related to the need for a flexible alternative to the traditional school experience.

Again, while online learning is likely new to students and their families, it is not new to Chesterfield County Public Schools. All of the important structures like attendance, a daily schedule, and grading apply to online learning, but they are somewhat different than students are likely familiar with. Community engagement and feedback has strongly confirmed what we already knew: The absence of these three critical components this past spring hindered the necessary transition to virtual learning. Because these three components are so important to

student success, we want to make sure that families clearly understand both our commitment and the role our families and community partners play in each.

This summer, the school division has worked to purchase enough personal learning devices so that each student, prekindergarten through senior in high school, will have their own school division-issued Chromebook. In addition, the school division has worked with the local non-profit and philanthropic communities to secure funding that will allow the division to offer qualifying students who do not have access to Internet at home the Comcast Internet Essentials program for free for the 2020-21 school year. The school division remains committed to breaking down barriers to access.

If any form of a virtual learning world is chosen, the fall learning environment will look significantly different from the spring. Attendance will be taken, participation will be considered, assignments will be required and graded, assessments will be given and teacher check-ins with students will be required and monitored. Schedules would be developed at the elementary and second levels that are age appropriate, yet learning would remain flexible for families who would not have the ability to support their children during normal school hours. The school division also has been in touch with licensed daycare providers throughout Chesterfield County to determine their ability to support virtual classwork from their facilities, and has offered training on the various online platforms and applications that the school division will use.

Based on the various scenarios discussed, here are some definitions to help explain what learning opportunities might look like:

In-person learning: Students return to school for instruction within the classroom. Students are assigned to work with a classroom teacher(s). Students at the elementary level would not change classrooms, and resource classes may be held within the homeroom. Students at the secondary level, would change classes.

Hybrid plan: Students return to school for in-person within the classroom on defined days. During the days they are not present for in-person instruction, they are given assignments to reinforce the learning from the in-person days. Students are assigned to work with classroom teachers while in school, but would not have access to a teacher during the school day on days when the student is working from home. In the hybrid model, on distance learning days, students will independently work on engaging learning applications like MyOn, Lexia, and DreamBox at the elementary level to build literacy and math skills. At the secondary level, they will be working in courseware like Edgenuity and teacher-designed online work.

Virtual learning: Learning is delivered entirely online to students, with school division teachers assigned to support students through 100 percent virtual lessons. Students do not physically attend school. Beyond instruction, teachers will support student success in a multitude of ways including scheduled virtual meetings, taking attendance, and grading work. Also, the elementary

and secondary experience is different in virtual learning, due to the difference in independence and maturity levels of students.

 

What training has occurred during the summer to offer teachers support for working in a virtual environment?

The school division has offered professional learning opportunities throughout the summer related to Canvas (the school division’s online learning platform) and how to best navigate a virtual setting through social emotional learning, trauma informed care, positive behavioral intervention strategies, etc.

Additions are also added based on building specific needs by Instructional Designers to support the pivot to a virtual learning setting.

 

Is homeschooling the same thing as virtual learning?

No. Any parent of a child who will have reached the fifth birthday on or before Sept. 30 of any school year and who has not passed the 18th birthday may elect to provide home instruction in lieu of school attendance.

A parent who elects to provide home instruction must annually notify the division superintendent or his designee by Aug. 15 of this intention. Please use the Notice of Intent form included on the school division’s website.

The parent must provide a description, limited to a list of subjects to be studied during the coming school year and evidence of having met one of the following criteria:

  • have a high school diploma or higher credential
  • are a teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education
  • provide a program of study or curriculum that may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner
  • provide evidence that they are able to provide an adequate education for the child

Any parent of any school-age child who does not meet the notification requirements of any school year will be subject to the state compulsory attendance law §22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia. As required by §22.1-254.1, a parent shall submit evidence of academic progress each year by Aug. 1.

 

Will work be graded and attendance expected? This was a major impediment for families trying to coax students into doing work between mid-March and the end of the school year.

Yes. Work will be graded, attendance will be taken, assessments will be given and progress will be monitored if the school division is not in a 100 percent in-person instructional mode.

 

Will parents be given the option to choose virtual learning or will they be required to send their children to school?

A 100 percent virtual learning experience will be offered for any family that does not feel comfortable sending their child to school.

 

For the virtual learning option, can textbooks and workbooks be considered instead of Chromebooks? The concern is about too much screen time.

Students may have more traditional paper and pencil assignments from their teachers to complete when at home on their hybrid learning day.

 

If a family selects the virtual learning option, could the student be present for select parts of the day such as an outdoor evening music class or PE outdoors?

If a family decides a student will participate in 100 percent virtual learning, the student will participate in 100 percent virtual learning. There are no onsite learning opportunities planned, as the school division is not increasing its teacher workforce.

 

If a student starts in a virtual learning scenario, when would be the earliest they could come back to school?

Because staffing allocations must be made to accommodate children who come to school and students who will learn 100 percent virtually, the school division will seek a nine-week commitment from parents if the 100 percent virtual learning opportunity is selected.

 

How will the school division accommodate students who cannot check in during a designated time? Can work be done asynchronously? Some students may have to watch siblings until parents get home and have to do work in the evening.

The 100 percent virtual option allows for students to work at their pace with teacher check-ins scheduled. The hybrid option allows students the flexibility to work according to their schedule as well.

 

Will siblings be kept on the same schedule if students are only in school 2-3 days a week?

The School Board intends to keep students in the same families on the same schedule if a hybrid model is selected. Based on research, a 50-50 split of students could have students with last names beginning A-K in the first cohort, and students with last names beginning L-Z in the second cohort. (Adjustments for blended families with different last names will be available.)

 

Will parents be able to choose what days their children attend if instruction is not offered to all students every day?

As noted above, in order to maintain appropriate class sizes that are aligned with social distancing recommendations, the school division would decide which cohorts report on which days.

 

Should there be consideration of only teaching “core” classes and eliminating

non-essential/elective requirements? This could reduce the classes that have multiple grade levels in one class, thus decreasing cross over students at the high school level.

This is not being considered, largely for two main reasons:

  • There are state graduation requirements that we must consider when determining which classes a student must
  • Teachers are licensed to teach in certain grades or in certain subject An even-odd setup, like students are familiar with, is needed to meet the number of teachers that we have available to teach core subject areas.

 

Would there still be classes at the career and technical education centers?

Yes.

 

Will elementary schools still have resource classes like art, music, physical education, etc.?

Yes. However, it is possible that these classes may be taught in the students’ homeroom to lessen travel throughout the building.

 

How will the school division comply with guidance regarding keeping students together all day instead of allowing them to change classrooms?

This is very possible at the elementary level, but it becomes more difficult at the secondary level where students in one grade level may mix with students in another grade level for various subjects. For example, a high school freshman may take ninth-grade math with other freshmen but may be in Spanish 4 with juniors.

To the extent possible, school-based schedulers will consider keeping like groups of students together.

 

How does this impact the school calendar? Will there be a change for school starting times?

At this time, there is no change to the previously approved 2020-21 school calendar. Some changes that have been discussed within the community, such as a morning and day/evening shift for students, would require additional funding that is not available.

 

Did the school division consider keeping secondary students online and working from home while using middle and high schools as sites for elementary school students, allowing for smaller class sizes?

Yes. Ultimately, we do not have enough elementary school teachers to reduce class sizes by 50 percent and operate them at the same time. In addition, the high school classroom setting is not physically conducive to an 8-year-old student.

 

Is the school division still implementing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans? Will students with IEPs be given preference for in-person instruction? Will all students with IEPs be allowed to attend five days a week?

The school division will continue to implement Individualized Education Plans for students with disabilities. We are extremely concerned about how the time away will affect our most vulnerable learners. As noted in the Project Restart presentation, for proposals/options that include face-to-face instruction, all Level 2 students with disabilities, served in a self-contained special education class, would be able to report to school daily if the IEP team determines that it is appropriate.

Once the School Board makes a decision about what learning in the fall will look like, the Special Education Department will better understand the framework that IEP teams will need to consider when determining the individual needs of students with disabilities. IEP teams, of which parents/guardians are participants, will meet to consider these needs prior to the start of the school year, as necessary.

 

Will a child with an IEP receive support while at home?

Every option in consideration by the school board allows for students with disabilities to continue to receive special education services. The services will be determined by the IEP team of which the parent/guardian is a required participant/member.

 

Will English language learners be able to attend school five days a week?

As noted in the Project Restart presentation, under the current proposals, all Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 English Language Learners would report to school every day that face-to-face school is in session.

 

Can the school division add a permanent substitute teacher at each site to build familiarity?

At this time, there are no plans to expand the initiative that has provided a full-time substitute position in certain schools that historically have had a difficult time filling substitute vacancies.

 

Will the school division provide each student with their own personal learning device for virtual learning?

Yes, the school division is procuring an additional 8,000 Chromebooks, which would allow us to provide each K-12 student with their own personal learning device. In addition, thanks to community partners, we will be able to offer the Comcast Internet Essentials plan to a limited number of families for free.

 

Is there an instructional plan should the school division need to close all schools again?

Should the need to close schools arise again, all learning would move to a virtual set up.

The school division acknowledges many lessons learned during the spring session of emergency learning. Since that opportunity, we have refined our work and are seeing dividends in the summer line Recovery of Learning program.

 

If many children will be in daycare, how does the school division suggest they “work from home” in that setting?

The school division has reached out to all state-licensed daycare providers in Chesterfield County to learn more about connectivity within their facility and to offer support in terms of training staff on the various instructional platforms that the school division will use.

 

Is a 4×4 schedule being considered at the secondary level?

No.

 

How will the recommendation that students not share supplies or items be managed?

Teachers will oversee this through effective classroom management strategies.

 

Will we be able to use whole-class resources, such as novels and textbooks, since they are considered shared? If we are not able to use these resources, what additional access will we have to online texts or programming?

CDC guidance recommends that items not be shared among students. We are working to provide a robust online learning environment with access to the various reading materials that might be needed in the event that a book is not able to be purchased for each child.

 

Will middle and high school students be able to move between classrooms?

At this time, if instruction is in-person, we do plan to allow secondary students to follow their normal schedule from classroom to classroom. Unfortunately, it is not feasible for the same students to stay in the same room all day. For example, a high school freshman may take English 9 with other freshmen but may be in Spanish 4 with high school juniors.

 

If they have to move, can the school division group them in clusters so that they are staying together most of the time and reducing exposure to other students?

In making schedules, school-based leaders will seek to minimize movement as much as possible. However, as noted above, because students have very different schedules, it is not likely that the same cluster can remain together throughout the day.

 

In the option that has Cohort 1 in class on Monday/Tuesday and Cohort 2 in class on Thursday/Friday, are teachers teaching the same lesson Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday to two different sets of students? If so, that cuts instruction time in half. I’m not advocating for all students in school at the same time, but my concern is how does the school division plan to get an entire year of school instruction into half the available time if new instruction doesn’t occur every day?

Cohort 2 students would receive the same lessons on Thursday/Friday that Cohort 1 students received on Monday/Tuesday. Each cohort would have assignments to work on while at home on the virtual learning days. Under this pattern, new learning could happen in school and be reinforced at home.

 

Will the curriculum-pacing guides be adjusted to support the time lost in the spring? Specifically for elementary students.

Curriculum specialists, in consultation with teachers, are working on modified overviews of our sequencing and pacing of topics taught in each content area. We are looking to help teachers see, through revised guidance documents, what specific learning may have been missed, that was prerequisite knowledge for the next grade level, so that key learning will be scaffolded for students. Adjusted quarterly guides will be done by the end of July or very early August. We are also altering or removing the number of days (class periods) for topics, to allow for more differentiation and personalization as we experience this return to learning.

 

Two months remain this summer before the start of school: Are teachers/instructors/staff currently in workshops and training to ensure they have proper skill sets for virtual instructions and use of tool sets?

Yes! Teachers have been accessing a variety of professional learning opportunities that include teaching in a virtual environment, learning more about Canvas, etc.

 

Will students be expected to be on target for SOLs at the beginning of school or will there be remediation/considerations taken to get students back on track?

As they do each year, teachers will work as diligently as possible to provide individual remediation to students as needed.

 

Will a courseware program like Edgenuity be an option for secondary students? The schedule presented for virtual learning (attendance between 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) making it impossible for families to complete at a time during the day that works best for them.

If a family chooses the completely virtual learning option, Edgenuity will be available to support student learning in a flexible manner.

 

Has the school division considered rotating each cohort for an entire week and closing on Fridays to allow for deep clean? This would give students the opportunity to come in for four days straight and allow working parents to follow the same rotation at work.

This option was reviewed; however, school-based staff had concerns about not being able to work directly with students for a week.

 

Will there be field trips, sports, dances, concerts and all the regular things in school?

At this time, out-of-school field trips are not planned. However, with budget cuts during the past 10-plus years, teachers have become very adept at planning and implementing virtual field trips.

School division leaders are monitoring guidance from the Virginia High School League, which provides oversight of high school sports and some extracurricular opportunities. A VHSL decision regarding fall sports is expected in July or August.

 

OPERATIONS

 

How will children get to school? How will social distancing guidelines be implemented ON BUSES?

As in the past, transportation will be provided for any student needing it.

After a decision is made and if schools open to some form of in-person instruction, the school division will ask parents to provide details about whether their children will ride a bus, be taken to school or drive to school themselves. This will help the school division plan for daily bus ridership.

At this time, the guidance that has been received is that the school division can accommodate one child per seat. (Siblings can sit together in the same seat.) This will allow for approximately 26 riders per bus, which is approximately 33 to 50 percent of a daily ridership.

The school division plans to require masks be worn on school buses.

 

Will lunch be served? Will it be eaten in the cafeteria?

Lunch will be served. At this time, the preliminary plan is to follow guidance provided with regard to avoiding large gatherings of students and have students eat in their classroom.

 

How will food allergies be addressed if children eat in the classroom?

School nurses, school administrators and teachers will work to appropriately separate students with life-threatening food allergies as they have done in the past in cafeterias.

 

What happens to children who need lunch but are not in school every day?

The Food and Nutrition Services team will provide five lunches to any student who participates in the federal free or reduced lunch program. The team is still finalizing details about what that would look like.

 

Will virtual learners be able to participate in Google Meets with school counselors?

Yes. Exact times would depend on school counselors’ schedules. This would also be something that would be considered on days when schools are closed for cleaning.

 

Will parents be able to volunteer in their child’s school or eat lunch with them?

At this time, the school division does not anticipate allowing volunteers or visitors past the front office unless it is a vendor scheduled to make a delivery.

 

FAMILY SUPPORT

If a family is willing to sign a waiver to send their children to school if an all-virtual learning environment is chosen, will the school division accept this waiver and educate those children in school?

No waivers will be accepted. If the decision is made to provide virtual learning for all students, that decision will be for all students.

 

If in-person instruction is not possible/allowed, what should families do with their children while they are not in school? Families cannot necessarily stay home to watch their children. Working single-parent families do not have anyone who can stay at home. Grandparents are in an at-risk category because of age and should not be watching these children.

As they do during winter time, families should begin to consider alternate arrangements for their children. Unfortunately, the school division is unable to provide daycare support for students of working families. That is consistent with previous pre-pandemic positions related to before- and after-school care.

School division leaders realize that any change from the previous norm can cause disruptions to families’ lives, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience. Please keep in mind that neither schools, the school division nor families created this situation that we are in. However, we are working diligently to minimize disruptions while creating a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment for our students and staff members.

 

Is there an option to have essential personnel and first responders’ children attend five days a week? Some parents can work from home, but these parents cannot.

There is not currently an option under consideration that would allow for students of essential personnel and first responders to attend school every day.

 

This is a financial burden for many parents who will incur lost wages. Some will need to pay for childcare that was not budgeted. To the school division’s knowledge, is the county/state/federal government planning on supplementing income due to lost work?

To the best of our knowledge, there is no plan for any level of government to reimburse families for income due to lost work if schools across the country do not fully reopen.

 

Are co-curricular opportunities (arts, athletics, etc.) being considered in all plans. How will after-school activities be taken into account if students are not present on campus each day? Will they be allowed to return to campus to participate?

To the extent possible, the school division plans to mirror a normal daily schedule for students. This would include any after-school opportunities that exist with these courses/clubs, assuming the social distancing and other health-related guidance can be followed.

School division leaders are monitoring guidance from the Virginia High School League, which provides oversight of high school sports and some extracurricular opportunities. A VHSL decision regarding fall sports is expected in July or August.


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