Updated: July 2, 2020
This landing page will answer your questions about Charlottesville City Schools’ closure due to coronavirus and point you to other school resources. We are continually updating this page to respond to new information. Need translation? See video below. ¿Necesitas traducción? Ver video a continuación. هل تحتاج إلى ترجمة؟ انظر الفيديو أدناه.
Charlottesville City Schools Messages to Families
July 2: Update on Fall Learning and Calendar
Dear staff and families —
Thanks to so many of you for completing our feedback survey in response to our first draft learning plan. As we noted last week, in response, we have revisited our options and are bringing forward a new draft.
What We’ve Heard
You value safety (top priority)
You want clear and consistent learning structures (ranging from learning tools to the daily schedule)
You’d like to stay connected with your school community (teachers, friends, etc.)
You’d like more face-to-face learning days if possible, especially for younger students
You’d like the flexibility to keep your child in school-supported full-time distance learning
Return to Learning Plan Available
Speaking to this top value of safety, we are finalizing our health plan, and you can find our detailed guidance document called “Return to School” here. The document doesn’t cover specifics like a school schedule, but it is our high-level plan for moving forward.
Revised Plan for Attendance and School Calendar
As we have been planning for the fall, we have stayed in contact with Albemarle County Public Schools. We know it is helpful when both school systems have similar calendars and plans.
Draft 2 of Attendance Options
Kindergarten through Grade 6*
Elementary students K through grade six would have the option to attend school face-to-face four days a week (likely Monday-Thursday) with one day of at-home learning on Friday. Or families can choose school-supported full-time online learning.
Secondary students would have the option to attend school face-to-face two days a week with three days of at-home learning. Or families can choose school-supported full-time online learning.
*We will publish details about preschool plans later.
To support these changes, we recommend delaying the start of school to September 8 (with an end date of June 11). No school holidays would be impacted, but we would shift all teacher workdays and professional learning days to the at-home learning day (likely Fridays). See draft calendar here.
The School Board will be discussing (but not voting on) these matters at the next meeting on Monday, July 6 at 5pm. You can register to attend here or you can follow along on Facebook here. They will vote on this matter mid-month, on Thursday, July 16 at 5pm.
What to Expect This Fall
To support this plan and follow CDC guidance, we will be making changes such as the following:
- Reducing the number of desks and people in a classroom (we are trying to form classrooms of 12 or fewer students for K-4, and 15 or fewer in grades 5+),
- Limiting the number of students on a bus and working with the City and volunteers to create supports for students who walk or ride bikes,
- Adjusting class schedules to limit hallway use and co-mingling of students. At the elementary level, this might mean serving meals in classrooms, having art/music in the home classroom, and more.
- Requiring practices such as face masks and handwashing in ways that are developmentally appropriate.
- Adding daily health checks for students and staff both at home prior to leaving and upon arrival at school.
- Completing enhanced cleaning each day. We have upgraded equipment, practices, and air filters to promote safety.
- Returning to more structured learning assignments and traditional grading.
We know you will have additional questions, and we will create and expand a Frequently Asked Questions section of our web site at charlottesvilleschools.org/coronavirus.
Ways you can help now
- Find alternate ways for your child to get to and from school. The fewer students on the bus, the more options we have for serving your child face-to-face.
- Consider volunteering with Safe Routes to School to help students in your neighborhood walk or ride bikes. Add your name & email to this list of possible volunteers.
- Complete your re-registration forms in PowerSchool to help us make plans for those who really do need bus transportation. Need login help? Call your school.
- Get your child caught up on vaccinations. This is especially true for rising K and 6th-grade students.
- Build a back-up network — if the virus returns in greater measure, we might need to scale back our plans or even revert to distance learning-only for some period.
- Sign up to help with summer meal deliveries. We need help on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Thanks so much for sharing ideas, words of encouragement, and offers for help. In the survey, you repeatedly reminded us that these are challenging days, there will be no perfect solutions, and we are in this together. Thank you for recognizing the complexity of this situation, and for partnering with us as we plan to come together in learning this fall.
Have a great holiday weekend and a wonderful Fourth of July!
Dr. Rosa S. Atkins
We’re calling with two updates, one about summer meal volunteers and the other about our fall learning plan.
Please help! We still need volunteers (age 18 and older) to help with this summer’s meal deliveries on Mondays and Wednesdays. You can find the sign-up at charlottesvilleschools.org/food or go directly to the sign-up.
DRAFT FALL LEARNING PLAN
Thanks so much for sharing your feedback about our draft learning plan and your experiences with distance learning.
In response to your feedback, we are cancelling the June 29 Board Meeting to allow staff time to consider additional options for fall learning. As a reminder, all plans must be in compliance with state and CDC guidance, which is subject to change based on local, state, or national coronavirus conditions. We are also working with Albemarle County Public Schools to coordinate our planning as much as possible.
No matter what plan we choose, bus space will be very limited. It would be helpful if you could re-register your child in PowerSchool and let us know if you can arrange for your child to arrive and depart by foot, bike, or car.
The fall learning plan will be on the agenda at the Board’s next meeting on Monday, July 6 at 5pm.
Thanks again for sharing your feedback. We’ll keep you posted. Have a good evening.
Dear Staff and Families:
Earlier this week, we shared with you Virginia’s guidance for fall learning. Under these guidelines, Charlottesville City Schools could open under any of the following phases:
Phase 1: Distance learning* only with some exceptions for special education services
Phase 2: Distance learning for most students with some face-to-face learning for students learning English, receiving special education services, or enrolled in grades preK-3
Phase 3: A combination of distance learning and limited-size face-to-face learning for all students
*Distance learning is defined as students working away from school but with guidance from teachers. Students might use printed workbooks or materials provided online through platforms such as Seesaw and Canvas.
In all three phases:
- Distance learning will remain a big part of our learning and teaching
- Some families may choose to remain in full-time distance learning while still enrolled in our schools (and will be supported by our staff)
- Following Virginia’s and the CDC’s guidance, there is no way that we can safely serve all of our students face-to-face 5 “regular” days a week.
- We would follow cleaning and distancing guidelines in schools and on buses.
Charlottesville’s Draft Plan
At the 6/11 School Board meeting, Dr. Atkins presented a draft plan for the fall, which would be a Phase 3 opening. (You can find other options that we explored here.)
Under this recommended Phase 3 plan:
- All students would go to school face-to-face 2 days a week and would engage in distance learning 3 days a week
- Students in the same family would share a schedule (for example, all the kids in one family might attend school on Tuesday and Thursday and learn from home on M-W-F)
- The schedule would remain the same each week
- Families who choose to continue full-time distance learning can do so while enrolled in our schools (and will be supported by our staff)
- If the virus worsens, we may need to return to a Phase 2 or Phase 1 situation
Feedback about this Draft Plan
We know that you will have many questions and suggestions. While we have been planning for months, we just received the state guidance a few days ago, and we are combining the state and local plans now. We will communicate more details as soon as possible and as we do so, we will try to answer your questions and consider your suggestions.
For now, it would be very helpful if you could answer a survey to give us feedback about this draft plan and answer some questions about this spring. You can find the survey here. Thanks for your patience as we find new ways to help your students learn.
Watch this video for instructions. ¿Necesita una traducción para la encuesta de fin de año? Mire este video para obtener instrucciones. هل تحتاج إلى ترجمة لمسح نهاية العام؟ شاهد هذا الفيديو للحصول على التعليمات.
Dear Staff and Families —
We’re reaching out to let you know with a few updates and staffing and the fall.
First of all, we have announced several key administrative hires. You can find the details on our website. Talented people such as Jim Henderson are retiring, but we had a strong pool of applicants and are in a very good position moving forward.
Secondly, Governor Northam made an announcement yesterday relating to the reopening of Virginia schools this fall. We will briefly summarize the big ideas here.
Presently, throughout the spring, the state has been in Phase 1, with continued closures but with the possibility of face-to-face work with certain students with disabilities.
The state is now entering Phase 2 in most parts of Virginia, but the state’s guidance allows for individual school divisions to opt to keep Phase 1-level programming. Consequently, we do not anticipate that we will change any of our plans for the summer.
For schools, Phase 2 will allow (but does not require) the limited reopening of services focusing on students such as English language learners, those receiving special education services, those with special learning needs, and our youngest students (preK-grade 3). Phase 2 allows for staggered small-group face-to-face gatherings that still follow social distancing measures. In this phase, most students would be served by distance learning programs. Phase 2 also allows for resuming modified sports practices.
When we reach Phase 3, schools would be allowed to offer additional in-person instruction following the limits and guidelines that the state will issue. This would likely be a staggered approach allowing students to return to school in groups, perhaps taking turns to attend school one or two days a week. This would be a hybrid approach that will combine face-to-face and distance learning. Some age groups or families may need or choose to continue full-time distance learning. Phase 3 might be in place for August. Again, the possibilities that are outlined in Phase 3 are allowed but not required; some school divisions may decide to stay at Phase 2.
Beyond Phase 3 may become our “new normal” until the risks are significantly diminished, such as when a vaccine is developed and in widespread use. Of course, at any time, we may be required to return to an earlier phase to contain the virus. Individual school divisions may choose to stay in Phase 1 or 2 even as the state gives options for opening schools.
Coming Soon: Plans for Charlottesville
These announcements were not a surprise to us, and they complement the work that our planning committees have been developing this spring. We will overlay the state’s planning documents on ours to make sure that we are in compliance and following CDC recommendations. At that point, we will start posting possible scenarios for public feedback.
Coming Soon: Survey
As we consider Phase 2 and Phase 3 scenarios for the fall, we need to hear from our staff, families, and students. We are developing a survey that will help us understand your ideas and hear your feedback. If face-to-face instruction is allowed, would you want your family to participate, or would you prefer your child to continue remote learning? What parts of remote learning do you want to keep even when we resume face-to-face instruction? Could you provide your own transportation or encourage your child to walk/bike so that we can give limited school bus spaces to students who are in need?
While individual staff and families will answer such questions differently, we hope to be able to serve everyone better based on the responses.
We are using this closure as an opportunity to reconsider all elements of school so that we will reopen better than ever — even if that reopening looks very different than the schools that closed in March.
Do Now: Re-Register Your Child for Fall
Thanks in advance for your patience and for your help with the survey. We’ll be in touch shortly with the links you’ll need. As a reminder, our fall re-registration forms are open in PowerSchool. Completing this form for each returning student is one way you can help us prepare for the fall.
Dear Charlottesville City Schools staff and families–
We hope you enjoyed spring break. As a reminder, this week, we will begin offering new instruction. K-1 families will receive a printed workbook in the mail, and other students will access the curriculum online through programs such as Canvas, Google Classroom, or Clever. If your family does not have a computer or access to the internet AND you have not contacted your school, please do so.
To address questions you may have about online learning this spring, we have posted information on our web site at charlottesvilleschools.org/
Starting Monday, we will resume the school’s food deliveries. You can find the latest information for deliveries or volunteering at charlottesvilleschools.org/
Have a good day — we’re happy to prepare your students for next year. As we begin this new phase, remember to stay safe, stay connected, and keep learning.
Dear Charlottesville staff and families,
We have a few updates about learning and about meals.
Our IT team has been busy helping families get computers and solve connectivity issues, and our teachers have been reaching out through phone, email, and online learning programs. If your student has not been able to connect with your teacher, please contact your school. We want to help your student continue learning. We have posted learning resources on our web site at charlottesvilleschools.org/
Spring break is April 6-10. After that, we will begin teaching new curriculum, whether online or with printed materials that will be mailed to K and 1st-grade families. We will soon post information on our web site that addresses specific questions about our spring learning plan (see outline, below). Please be patient as we continue to receive ongoing guidance from the state that impacts these plans.
For meals: We have posted the volunteer sign-up sheet for the weeks following spring break. Next week, our nutritional staff and school bus drivers will get a well-deserved break. But we encourage families in need to take advantage of services offered by groups such as Loaves and Fishes and the Charlottesville Food Justice Network. For details, see the flyer that came home with yesterday’s meals or visit charlottesvilleschools.org/
Have a good evening!
Dear Charlottesville Schools families and staff,
The Governor of Virginia has just announced the closure of Virginia schools for the remainder of the school year. The state will issue guidance about what this means for our continuity of instruction, the class of 2020, the role of schools in delivering meals to students, and many other issues. We will keep you informed as we learn more and make plans. Please take care and know that we are working together to serve our community in this unusual time.
What a week! If you’re like me, you’re still trying to process all that has happened.
In the past week, we have grappled with
- the confirmation that the virus has arrived in our state and community,
- the sudden decision to close our schools,
- the creation of a school meals delivery system that served more than 2,500 meals,
- the distribution of about 900 chromebooks to our 2nd- to 6th-grade students, and
- outlining a new framework for student engagement and learning.
I’m so proud of our teachers, principals, and staff as well as our community volunteers who have made these accomplishments possible, even as they have juggled responsibilities at home.
Let’s start with a brief update on food. Schools’ food deliveries this week are Monday and Wednesday only. Since we will be giving multiple day’s food at each visit, we recommend children bring an adult or backpack to help carry the extra food home. Delivery times/locations are the same but as we deliver more food, there may be route delays. Volunteers are needed for this week. Learn more and sign up to help at charlottesvilleschools.org/food.
Let’s take a moment to thank our nutrition team and bus drivers for their incredible work and dedication! What important work they are doing!
Now, let us turn our attention to learning. While we will await the governor’s guidance on when to re-open schools, we are making plans in case the closure extends beyond 3/27. Tomorrow the governor is expected to make an announcement.
As we think about what learning will look like in case of an extended closure, let’s keep in mind that at home, work, and “school,” we are making new routines and finding new ways to meet our basic needs. We are still working to get supports such as chromebooks and wifi to households in need. We are working to empower our teachers to succeed in a new environment even as we recognize that they are also supporting their own families at home, particularly as illness arises (coronavirus or otherwise). In other words, this is new and complicated, and we will not immediately transform our vibrant schools into fully formed distance-learning counterparts.
NEXT STEPS FOR LEARNING
Having said that, we are committed to finding new ways to connect and engage with our students. Starting later this week, teachers will be reaching out to students to make connections and to map which students need additional supports to be part of a virtual community.
As we gain confidence online and extend resources as needed, we will ramp up our distance learning offerings. Along the way, we will make mistakes and learn — exactly what we expect our students to do. Let’s be patient and encouraging with one another — just as we expect of our teachers.
GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS FOR LEARNING
Our goal during this time is to maintain the relationship between our schools and our families and to encourage students to continue — and enjoy — learning. For the time being, learning resources are offered as suggestions for your family to help provide structure, maintain a connection to our schools, and foster continuous learning. Work will not be graded. These activities are offered as a support, not a stressor. If our closure is extended beyond 3/27, we may formalize these arrangements.
You will learn more from your schools and your teachers about what this will look like for your students, but as you await contact from your teacher, we’ve created a page to give you some basics to work with at charlottesvilleschools.org/learning.
We have big questions to grapple with, such as:
- How do we meet the needs of our most vulnerable learners?
- How will we support our youngest students with at-home learning?
- How will we prepare high school seniors for graduation and life after graduation?
- Will we be able to sustain our model for food delivery if this situation continues or worsens?
- We have many challenges and exciting opportunities.
The good news is, we aren’t in this alone. We are following state guidance. For instance, the state is applying for a federal waiver from state SOL testing, and the state is issuing guidelines for seniors. Aside from the state, we are working with other school divisions. And remember, Charlottesville, we are a strong community.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
There are many ways to help.
- Take care of yourself and your family.
- Consider volunteering. Presently, we need food delivery volunteers — even for tomorrow. A one-stop-shop for giving and getting help is supportcville.com.
- Consider donating. The CACF is creating a school-based fund to support our food delivery efforts — stay tuned. And already, the CACF has created a general Charlottesville Emergency fund for the needs throughout our community.
- Be patient as we continue to learn what works. If you have suggestions or concerns, please contact us directly. Constructive feedback is welcome, and we may miss a good idea if it is posted on social media instead of emailed to a staff member.
You are doing your best. Although not seen by the public, our custodians and IT staff are doing their best. Our teachers will soon be doing their best (and we know just how good their best is!) Our nutrition staff, bus drivers, and volunteers are doing their best. Together, we all want what is best for the young people of Charlottesville.
Dr. Rosa Atkins
Questions about Schools
Are the Schools Offering Meal Service During the Summer?
Yes. In partnership with Parks & Rec, meals will be provided throughout the summer. Learn more at charlottesvilleschools.org/food.
Are the Schools Offering Online or At-Home Learning During the Summer?
No. During the summer, our schools are preparing for a hybrid plan of instruction that includes face-to-face and distance learning in the fall. We are gathering feedback now from the community through this survey (provide link). More information will be sent to families as our plan develops.
Can I Still Get a Chromebook, Charger, or WiFi Hotspot for My Home?
If your family does not have a Chromebook or charger, please contact your school.
In addition, if your family has no internet access or has a data limit that presents a barrier to online school participation, please contact your school so we can help your family find a learning solution.
Why Are the Schools Closed?
On Friday, March 13, Governor Northam announced the closure of all Virginia K-12 schools for at least two weeks, which was later extended to the rest of the school year. Accordingly, we have cancelled face-to-face classes and activities and are offering distance learning opportunities. On June 10, the state released guidelines for returning to school in the fall.
Questions about Students/Staff and their Families
What Should My Family Do?
- Families should maintain the preparations they take for flu and colds. This includes washing hands with soap (or hand sanitizer) frequently, trying not to touch your face, covering coughs, and staying home when sick. (See guidelines, below from the Virginia Department of Health).
- Thanks for your flexibility with this closure. Thanks also for your patience as we transition to a new learning system.
- Make sure that your contact information is up-to-date with the schools for messages (calls/emails/texts). You can edit these settings and your contact information by logging into PowerSchool. (Find instructions here.)
- Want to help or volunteer? See below.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Take flu antivirals if prescribed by your health care provider if you have the flu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Ensure that your own family has a plan. The CDC has a guide.
How Can My Family Help?
There are a number of ways you can help.
How Do I Get Messages from the School?
All families should be enrolled in School Messenger, which delivers messages via telephone, email, and text according to the settings of the parent/guardian.
For staff: Staff can also log in to customize how they receive updates. To sign up or to retrieve your password, use your work email (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also find instructions about how to manage the settings.
What About Facilities Rentals for the Schools and the Performing Arts Center?
After Sunday, March 15, we will end facility rentals until further notice. We are sorry for the inconvenience and challenge that this presents.
How can I Suggest a Topic or Correction for this Page?
Email email@example.com with suggestions for this page. We want this page to be useful.
For specific questions about your situation, call your the your primary care provider, the health department at 434-972-6261, or your school.
Where’s the Original Version of this Page?
This page has been updated to focus on information relevant during our school closure. The original page can be found here.