Team Chesterfield families,
The Chesterfield County School Board on Tuesday night approved a plan that will allow us to start returning elementary students to in-person instruction at the beginning of the third marking period. The Board will reconvene on Feb. 9 to review data and research ahead of a planned eventual return of middle and high school students to in-person instruction.
Chesterfield County Public Schools has taken what some might consider to be a more deliberate approach to give medical experts and public health providers time to learn more about the virus. Research now confirms schools are not COVID-19 superspreaders. Our school division’s deliberate approach has allowed for these medical findings and public health recommendations to be proven over time and successfully implemented elsewhere.
We continue to work with the local and state medical experts to develop a vaccine distribution program, and hope to have the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine available to all staff members in late January.
With medical research and public health recommendations in mind, along with proven mitigation strategies in place, we believe it is safe to return students to in-person learning now at the elementary school level and soon at the secondary level.
Below are action steps moving forward:
- The three-hour early release previously scheduled for Friday, Jan. 29, will become an asynchronous learning day for all students.
- All teachers will finalize first semester grades. Teachers at the elementary level will finalize classroom preparations for the return of students, while secondary teachers will prepare their rooms and work on third-marking period plans.
Cohort No. 1 students
- Starting Monday, Feb. 1, all Cohort 1 students (select special education students who already are eligible for in-person learning) will be eligible to attend in-person learning five days a week instead of four days a week.
Cohort Nos. 2 and 3 students
- These students are eligible to return to in-person instruction on Monday, Feb. 1.
- This group includes students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grades, Academy 360 students, and students taking career and technical education classes at CTC@Courthouse and CTC@Hull, as well as students taking CTC-identified courses at Midlothian High.
- Elementary school families who do not feel comfortable with their children returning to an in-person learning environment may select to remain in a virtual learning environment.
- The virtual learning day will be lengthened to mirror the traditional school day.
- Families must notify their child’s school if they plan to make a change in their child’s learning accommodations (switching from virtual to in person, or in person to virtual) by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The decision is binding for the rest of the semester. Schools will notify families about how they will collect this information.
Cohort No. 4 students
- These students, attending middle and high schools, will remain in a virtual learning environment when the third marking period starts on Monday, Feb. 1.
- The School Board will meet on Feb. 9 to review vaccination distribution, public health data and medical research with the goal of returning middle and high school students to in-person learning later during the third marking period.
- While no return date has been identified, when students are eligible to return to in-person instruction, the virtual option that was in place when the hybrid option was offered to middle and high school students previously again will be available.
- Daily attendance is critical to learning. All students are expected to attend class daily during the scheduled times.
- All students are expected to have their computer cameras on (at the teacher’s direction) while learning virtually.
- Google Meet allows students to use a virtual or blurred background.
- Parents may elect to waive the camera-on expectation by notifying their child’s school in writing.
As we bring students back into the school setting, we will continue to require daily self-health assessments from students and staff, enforce the Governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks, allow ample opportunity for hand washing and other proper hygiene practices, and work to create instructional environments that allow for the greatest social distancing possible (target of 6 feet, with 3 feet as necessary and as allowed under public health recommendations).
We look forward to continuing to create and provide safe, supportive and nurturing environments where students can learn how to create a better tomorrow.