Dear staff and families–
We are looking forward to welcoming students and staff back to school. After reviewing current road conditions and the forecast, we expect to start school on time tomorrow. As always, please have a plan for any unexpected delays or closures announced in the morning by 5:30am. As a reminder, bus-riders will have new schedules tomorrow (see below).
I wanted to check in with a few updates and COVID safety reminders:
When Should Your Child Stay Home?
- If your students have any COVID symptoms, they should stay home until seen by a healthcare provider. A negative PCR test or a note from the healthcare provider is required for the student to return to school.
- If your children are not fully vaccinated, they should also stay home if exposed or if anyone in your household is showing possible COVID symptoms.
- We are maintaining the 14-day period for exposure and the 10-day period for diagnosis.
- Questions? Refer to our COVID situations guide or call your school.
- If in doubt, sit it out!
- For some people, that might mean wearing one KN95 (no valves)
- For others, that might mean double-masking with a paper mask and a cloth mask
- Others may wear a multiple-layered cloth mask
- There is no need to wear 2 paper masks
- A nose piece to ensure a tight fit is recommended
- As always, we will have masks at school for those who need them
- Click here for more CDC masking guidance
Say Yes to the Test!
Remember that you can sign your child up for free PCR COVID-testing at school. You choose how often (weekly, every other week, and monthly). Learn more and sign up here.
Updates on In-Person School/Classroom Indicators
- Staffing: at this time, all schools have adequate staffing in place.
- School COVID levels/spread: On our COVID dashboard, you will see a spike in the week ending 1/7, after we reminded families and staff to report cases over winter break. (Cases are shown on the date reported, not the date diagnosed.) Keep in mind that when we and the Blue Ridge Health District evaluate this indicator, the most crucial factor is not whether staff and students report COVID cases, but whether COVID is spreading at school.
- Absence rates: We will be following this information as we return to school.
Reminder: New Bus Routes
If you’ve been notified that you have a bus spot, you can find your bus information in your previous messages (a reminder was sent on Wednesday). With new routes, some new drivers, and winter roads, please expect some delays. Thanks in advance for your patience, especially for those of you who are still on the waiting list.
Make-up Days for Last Week’s Snowdays?
We will not need to make up the four snowdays from last week. We have banked hours that will cover these days.
Virginia School Principals Appreciation Week
Finally, I want to ask you to join me in celebrating our principals this week. They continue to show leadership in unprecedented ways – tracing COVID exposures, running COVID testing programs, creating virtual learning plans, and so much more. All the while, they continue to offer instructional leadership, manage large teams, attend to student needs, and so much more. Consider a note of encouragement to your principal this week, either via email or on one of our upcoming social media posts.
A Final Word
I appreciate each of you, your commitment to our schools, and your commitment to one another’s physical and emotional wellbeing. As we ask you to recommit to efforts such as vaccination (and boosters), masking, staying home when needed, and more, know that school leaders are doing our part to maintain excellent ventilation, continue best practices, and monitor our school indicators. We are committed to the safety and learning of our students and staff.
Let’s make it a great Monday!
Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.