All posts by Charlottesville Schools

Message about Masking & 2021-22 COVID Communications and Data

Revised January 17, 2022

Topics on this Page:

Logins/How to Login:

NOTE: This information is for 2021-22. All information is subject to change based on new information from health experts such as the CDC and emerging best practices.

Click here to provide comments or input on our plans for safe in-person instruction and continuity of services.

Message about Masking and Other COVID Updates from Dr. Gurley and the School Board, 1/17/22

Dear staff and families –

As you may have heard, a few days ago, Governor Youngkin issued an executive order relating to masks in schools. Today we affirm that we will continue to require all students, staff, and visitors to wear masks on school grounds, school buses, and at bus stops. In doing so, we are following Virginia Senate Bill 1303, which requires schools to follow the mitigation recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “to the maximum extent practicable.” In addition, we are also following the federal requirement for masking on buses. There is no change to our current practice.

Especially at this moment during the omicron-variant surge, we reaffirm our commitment to masking and other mitigation strategies. Following the recommendations of the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health has allowed us to keep in-school transmission to a minimum. We especially appreciate the Blue Ridge Health District for their near-daily guidance.

Other COVID-related items of note:

  • This week, the CDC upgraded its mask guidance, noting that cloth masks are not as protective as N95s, KN95, or double-masking with a disposable and cloth mask. Still, their guidance calls for the “most protective mask … that fits well and that you will wear consistently.” A nosepiece and a close fit along the cheeks are recommended. As always, we have masks available for those who need them.
  • Registration for free, in-school COVID testing is ongoing. Families can choose the frequency of testing. Learn more and sign up here:  http://charlottesvilleschools.org/COVID-testing
  • Optional in-school vaccine clinics are being scheduled now in partnership with BRHD. We will keep you posted.
  • When school reopens following yesterday’s storm, please screen your child carefully for symptoms (and if unvaccinated, for exposures) before leaving home.

All of these measures – and more – are in keeping with the CDC’s guidance for schools. We are committed to the safety and education of our students and staff. Thanks to our students, families, staff, and community members for their support of our efforts to promote learning and safety. Best wishes for a meaningful Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.  and Ms. Lisa Larson-Torres
Superintendent and School Board Chair

 

Clarification about Booster Shots and Quarantine, 1/14/22

Click here to read. Updates have been made to protocols and this page.

Updates and Safety Reminders from Dr. Gurley for Returning to School, 1/9/22

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:

Image of CCS student daily health screening questions. Click for OCR PDF.
Daily Health Screening Questions for Students

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!

 

Image of girl adjusting mask nosepiece from CDCLevel Up your Masking Game!
The latest guidance says that high-quality masking over the mouth and nose is important.

  • 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

 

 

School-Based COVID TestingSay 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 Start Tomorrow
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.

Portrait with and without mask by Jai, gr 3, Clark Elementary.
Portrait can be folded to show or remove mask, courtesy Jai, gr 3, Clark Elementary

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.

Decision-Making for Possible COVID School Closures:
Letter from Dr. Gurley, 1/5/22

Dear CCS Staff and Families,

I first want to begin with saying, “We will not cut any corners to risk the health and safety of our students and staff.”  To that end, I am writing to inform you of the indicators we are monitoring as a school system to inform our decision-making related to whether an individual school continues in-person instruction or pivots to virtual instruction.

Data Points for Monitoring:

  • Staff Capacity: Currently, we monitor daily the number of staff members available in each building. Each building requires a minimum number of teachers and support staff to efficiently and effectively run the building. If the staffing drops to an inoperable level over a consecutive period at a school, the school division will re-evaluate the correct path forward. We will also specifically monitor staffing in critical areas such as instruction, nutrition, and transportation. 
  • Active Covid Cases by Schools: Located on our district webpage we track the number of cases for remote and in-person instruction. The Blue Ridge Health District will make the recommendation for reverting a class or school to online learning. They emphasize that every situation is different.
  • Overall Student Attendance Rates: CCS will closely monitor the attendance rate of students (including those who are out due to a COVID diagnosis or exposure). If we reach the point where the absentee rate becomes disruptive to student learning and school operations, we would consider a temporary reversion to virtual instruction.

Throughout this school year, our community transmission rate has been in the substantial or high range. Even so, we have successfully kept students, staff, and families safe due to the layered mitigation effort. Almost all cases reported by staff or students have been unrelated to school or school programs. 

The Code of Virginia requires each school board to offer in-person instruction to each student enrolled in the local school division. Should the integrity of our system be compromised because we are seeing cases spread at school, if we are unable to staff our classes, or instruction is disrupted by student absenteeism, we are fully prepared to temporarily pivot a school to a virtual model to support our staff and families.

January Updates and Message from Dr. Gurley, 12/29/2021

Dear Charlottesville Schools staff and families–

We hope you’ve had a good winter break. We are looking forward to welcoming students back to our schools on Tuesday, January 4. We know you have concerns regarding the rise in COVID cases and how it impacts school safety, so I’m writing now with an update about safety measures (including testing) and transportation. We are aware of new guidance from the CDC, but we will maintain our existing protocols until the Virginia Department of Health (VHD) or the Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD) recommends changes to our mitigation strategies or daily operations. The bottom line is that working closely with the BRHD, we are staying the course to continue our many COVID safety strategies, including our testing programs.

For our bus-riders, the City has told us to expect some disruption for our school bus routes for next week and in the future. We will work with the City to notify families of any bus cancellations or modifications as early as possible.

Please read on for more information about safety, testing, Tuesday’s BRHD town hall to answer COVID questions, and more.

As we move forward, please know that while the case levels are troubling, we are working to keep our schools safe. We know that vaccination reduces our risks, especially of severe illness and hospitalization. We know that very few children in our area have been hospitalized for COVID (we wish the number were zero). So far this year, almost all of our school COVID cases were transmitted in the community – outside of school or school programs. We are committed to following the guidance of health experts for practices such as masking, hand-washing, testing, and more. One of their recommendations is to keep students in school. If we all do our part, we can do this safely.

Dr. Royal A. Gurley
Superintendent

More Details: Updates for January 2022

Safety and Mitigation Measures

We had a successful fall by following VDH guidance, and we will continue to do so. These safety measures include encouraging vaccination & boosters, requiring universal masking in schools/buses, promoting hand-washing, and requiring daily health screening and staying home when sick. (Need a new copy of our daily health screener?) We also offer free school-based proactive and diagnostic testing – see more, below. Our safety plan also limits gatherings and events, and we’ll continue outside lunch, weather permitting. 

  • Maintain Current Quarantine/Isolation Practices: As we return to school on January 4, per VDH guidance, we plan to maintain our current practices. This includes maintaining a 10-day isolation for diagnosed staff and students, and a 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated people unless they participate in our test-to-stay pilot (see below). If BRHD or VDH advises us to change, we will let you know the new practices.
  • Reporting Cases and Exposures: Please continue to report COVID diagnoses and exposures, even though we are on break. You can email your principal or supervisor. This will help us prepare for a smooth opening.

Testing Programs

Since November, we have offered a variety of free school-based testing programs for students and staff. These programs resume next week (with a slightly different schedule for one week only), and we encourage everyone to sign up.

  • FREE COVID Testing Program Resumes Jan. 4: This free, COVID screening program is offered weekly for both staff and students. Registration is ongoing: learn more and sign up here. We’ll add new registrants as soon as possible. (To give our vendor the best chance to include your student this week, please sign up by Sunday evening.) As a reminder, this proactive testing program is opt-in per Virginia guidelines.
    • Different Testing Schedule for the Week of January 4: During this week, the “Friday” schools (Burnley-Moran, Venable, and Walker) will be tested on Tuesday, January 4. The other schools will follow their usual Wednesday/Thursday schedules. 
  • Diagnostic, Symptomatic Testing – Our partnership with the state also allows us to do diagnostic testing for students/staff who develop symptoms while at school. Again, you can learn more or sign up for either screening or diagnostic testing here.
  • Test to Stay Pilot Coming Soon –  CCS has been working with UVA Health and the Blue Ridge Health District to develop a pilot program for Test to Stay, a protocol to safely limit absences following exposure. We will share more information at our January 6 School Board Meeting, with a goal of starting mid-January. In the meanwhile, please follow current protocols for exposure (vaccinated people do not need to quarantine; unvaccinated people quarantine for 14 days from last exposure).
  • Community Testing Options: BRHD plans to expand area testing events to meet increased demand. Learn more about testing events here.

Transportation

At the beginning of winter break, we distributed new, expanded bus route information to include more students. While we are excited that the City has been able to add more routes, at the same time, they are reporting that a number of their drivers are currently sick. We know that such issues will continue to arise. We will work with the City to notify families of any bus cancellations or modifications as early as possible. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Town Hall on COVID Questions

The Blue Ridge Health District is hosting a virtual community town hall meeting to answer questions about COVID on Tuesday, January 4 at 7pm. Look for a link on the BRHD Facebook page or watch on Channel 10.

In-Person Instruction

Per state law and following the consensus of local health experts, we will continue offering in-person learning five days a week. As a reminder, we will work closely with the BRHD on any decision to temporarily revert to online instruction for a classroom (or school, if needed). Keep students home if they are sick (or if they’re unvaccinated, keep them home if anyone in the household might have COVID)!  Let’s all do our part to keep our schools safe! 


 

Previous COVID Safety Information

 

Top Tools for Families

illustration of school supplies with mask and hand sanitizer plus the words "New Safety Routines and In-Person Agreement."
Click image to review new safety routines.
Image of CCS student daily health screening questions. Click for OCR PDF.
When should your child stay home? Click image to find the Daily Health Screening Questions
"What to do in common COVID situations." Click to find OCR pdf.
Click image to go to Google doc “What to do in common COVID situations,” a guide for families and staff.

Enlaces para información en español:
Acuerdo y Normas de seguridad  |  Evaluador de Salud Diaro  |  Qué hacer en situaciones de Covid


2021-22 Information

This page gives basic information related to COVID and everyday topics for in-person instruction (5 days a week). If you have additional questions, please contact your school.

  • School-based COVID testing is in place: Learn more here.
  • Optional school-based vaccine clinics are returning: stay tuned.
  • Test-to-Stay as a safe alternative to quarantine is coming: stay tuned.
  • Bus service has expanded but a wait list remains. (Click here to read  coverage of this issue). Please see detailed information in the “Transportation” section below. The City, which manages the student transportation program, continues to try to expand routes.

illustration of linguistic charactersTranslation Traducción ترجمة Tafsiri अनुवाद ترجمه

Translators and interpreters are available. Our web site can be translated with Google. Call or email your school for help. You can also text 434-953-1802.

Si tiene preguntas acerca de las escuelas de Charlottesville, llame a nuestra línea telefónica en español al 434-245-2548. Un profesor de español le devolverá la llamada. 

 

Local Health Data Using CDC Framework

We have been working with the state and local health experts to follow local COVID-19 data. See the charts and spreadsheets below for Charlottesville City Schools confirmed cases in 20-21 and 21-22. Note that we report cases even if the staff member or student was remote or not present at school during the period of contagion.

See COVID Dashboard Spreadsheet 21-22

In-Person School/Classroom Indicators

We are following three primary indicator to guide decision-making about schools and classrooms maintaining in-person or moving to virtual instruction.

  • Staffing: at this time, all schools are similar to what we were seeing before break.
  • School COVID levels/spread: COVID cases are higher than prior to break, especially since many winter break cases are being reported now and are logged on the date reported. Most new cases have not resulted in school exposures, but we continue to work with the health district to monitor specific situations.  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: Like staff absences, this rate is similar to pre-winter break.

Data Points for Monitoring Schools/Classrooms

Data Points for Monitoring Schools/Classrooms:

  • Staff Capacity: Currently, we monitor daily the number of staff members available in each building. Each building requires a minimum number of teachers and support staff to efficiently and effectively run the building. If the staffing drops to an inoperable level over a consecutive period at a school, the school division will re-evaluate the correct path forward. We will also specifically monitor staffing in critical areas such as instruction, nutrition, and transportation. 
  • Active Covid Cases by Schools: Located on our district webpage we track the number of cases for remote and in-person instruction. The Blue Ridge Health District will make the recommendation for reverting a class or school to online learning. They emphasize that every situation is different.
  • Overall Student Attendance Rates: CCS will closely monitor the attendance rate of students (including those who are out due to a COVID diagnosis or exposure). If we reach the point where the absentee rate becomes disruptive to student learning and school operations, we would consider a temporary reversion to virtual instruction.

Charlottesville Indicators

Learn about the CDC framework & thresholds for each metric

Find Charlottesville data (load page & select Charlottesville)

Illustration of health safetyMeasures to Promote Safety (Mitigation)

As part of its data metrics, the CDC recommends a number of  mitigation strategies, from masking to ventilation to school-based COVID testing. We will show the  complete list below and give an update.

Details about Safety and Mitigation Measures

Core Mitigation Measures to Support School Openings (CDC)

  1. Promoting Vaccination: We encourage vaccination of all school community members age 12+ and held school-based clinics in the spring. Students can also be vaccinated at the Back-to-School Bash on August 21. The School Board has voted to require staff to be vaccinated, or in cases such as health exemptions, be tested weekly.
  2. Masks and Face Coverings:  Per our masks/face coverings policy, all students, staff, and visitors are required to wear masks covering the mouth and nose inside school buildings and on school buses/at bus stops. For details and exceptions (such as when eating or if there is a medical or other accommodation), please see the policy.  Individuals will be asked to supply their own masks, but disposable masks will be available if an individual has forgotten to bring one. Face shields are also available for students and staff, but they are not a replacement for masks.
  3. Social Distancing to the extent possible (3 feet where possible):  Signage and floor markers will reinforce the furniture placement to encourage 3-foot separation.  Floor decals in halls and markings on sidewalks will show direction and reinforce  spacing.  Signage also communicates one-way directions in stairwells or hallways as needed.
  4. Screening Testing: We are  participating in a state program for regular COVID testing throughout this school year as an additional strategy to promote safety.  As part of the same state program, we are hoping to offer rapid diagnostic testing for individuals as needed. To sign up or learn more information, click here.
  5. Ventilation: The City is following ASHRAE recommendations to use the highest MERV-rated filters possible for all equipment, coupled with increasing ventilation.  All systems are set for maximum outdoor air at normal occupancy levels.  Any space that cannot use a MERV 13 or 14 filter will be equipped with a portable air cleaner. As weather permits, we will keep windows open. Going above and beyond standard mitigation for K-12 and universities, the City engaged an engineer from Tri-Dim to consult on the best course of action for each building/space and installed UV-C lights and/or bipolar ionization equipment  according to recommendations.
  6. Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:  Students and staff will use hand sanitizer upon arrival. Hand sanitizer is available in all classrooms, on all buses, and at all student building entrances, and some classrooms have sinks for handwashing. Schools will teach and  reinforce good hygiene practices such as handwashing,  covering coughs and sneezes, and refraining from touching surfaces when possible.  
  7. Staying home when sick and getting tested: Staff and students will be asked to screen at home daily for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors such as close contacts showing symptoms. Students will be asked to stay home and contact a healthcare professional if they are symptomatic or if they know of an exposure to COVID-19. Note: fully vaccinated students/staff (for age 18+, this means “boosted if eligible” as of 1/25) who are symptom-free may attend school when close contacts either show symptoms or have suspected/confirmed COVID-19. See guidance in the health section, below.
    CSS Student Home Screening Tool (revised July 28, 2021)
  8. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine:  To help us work with the health department for contact tracing, we will implement several measures. Student movement in school buildings and buses will be minimized and monitored, and seating will be assigned. We will fully support contact tracing and subsequently enforce recommendations for quarantine or isolation. The agreement for in-person instruction (signed with registration or re-registration forms) gives permission for Blue Ridge Health Department and Charlottesville City Schools to share contract-tracing information related to exposure or diagnosis of school community members.
  9. Cleaning and disinfection: All CCS cleaning products are on the EPA list of disinfectants for COVID-19. Custodians have been equipped and trained with foggers and electrostatic sprayers to support more rapid and effective disinfection of surfaces and entire spaces. Classrooms are equipped with spray bottles with the all-purpose disinfectant cleaner and microfiber cloths to readily address high-touch services such as desktops and door knobs.  A daily cleaning form is used by the custodial staff working with the building administrators, and a color-coded  system indicates whether rooms are: in use or not yet cleaned (red),  ready for use following standard cleaning procedures (yellow), or ready for use following extra cleaning measures (green). 

Other CDC-Recommended Strategies in Place

  1. Adequate supplies:  As stated elsewhere, we will supply hand sanitizer, face masks (for those who arrive without them), face shields, disposable gloves, COVID-approved cleaning supplies, and more. Staff such as nurses in need of other PPE will be supplied those items.
  2. Shared objects:  As possible, we will minimize use of shared items or will create a plan for cleaning and disinfection (of touch screens, key boards, door knobs, etc).
  3. Visitors/Volunteers:  We are limiting volunteer programs and non-essential visitors. Signage reminds visitors to check to see if their business can be conducted by phone,  computer, or outside meeting.  If the principal approves a volunteer or visitor, individuals need to wear a mask, screen for symptoms, and use hand sanitizer.
  4. Water systems:  The City has been flushing water regularly to make sure that school water supplies remain safe.
  5. Physical barriers and guides: The division has ordered and installed plexi-glass barriers for areas such as reception desks and to support safe 1:1 interactions in classrooms or with specialists. Schools can acquire additional barriers according to their specific needs.
  6. Communal spaces: Most or all students will have lunch in classrooms. We will use playgrounds, but we will stagger use and schedule hand-washing before and after recess.
  7. Food service:  For most or all students in our schools, we will serve meals in classrooms. Classes are encouraged to eat outside as much as possible, and we have developed safety routines for when this is not possible. Students are still welcome to bring packed meals, but no microwave will be available. All students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating. Other safety features include a meal pre-ordering system and a touchless system using ID cards for payment. We will  provide additional wheeled waste cans  in the hallways so food waste will not remain in the classrooms.food tray icon For virtual or quarantined students, families can arrange pick-up at the school closest to them. Find complete meal information here.

Other Strategies:

  • Training:  Staff and students will need to be trained on appropriate procedures and mitigation strategies. We will use training videos prior to returning to in-person instruction. Custodial staff received special training. Additional training was also required for nursing staff as well as SPED staff who work with students to assist with medical or personal care.
  • Protocols:  We have assembled policies and protocols to guide our return to in-person instruction. All protocols are subject to change based on public health expertise and emerging best practices.
  • Outdoor Spaces: We hope to use our outdoor spaces as much as possible, particularly for classes such as gym or choir.  Classes may also go outside for lunch or suitable instruction/class meetings.

illustration of clock and scheduleDaily Routines for the New School Year

School looks different. What does that look like at lunch, recess, or more? Watch this short video for a few daily safety reminders for students:

 

 

Image of CCS student daily health screening questions. Click for OCR PDF.
Daily Health Screening Questions for Students

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!

 

Image of girl adjusting mask nosepiece from CDCLevel Up your Masking Game!
The latest guidance says that high-quality masking over the mouth and nose is important.  In January, our School Board reaffirmed mask-wearing as a key strategy moving forward toward spring.

  • 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

Details about Daily Routines

Cover of CCS COVID-19 Protocols document. Click to access Protocols document (google file).
Click image to access CCS COVID-19 Protocols document

Arrival/Daily Schedule:

When students arrive at the bus or the school, they may have their temperature screened and will hand sanitize. They can pick up a grab-and-go breakfast if they wish (breakfast and lunch are free this school year). Then students will go directly to their assigned spot in their classroom. Elementary students will largely stay in their “home” classroom, but we use outdoor spaces as much as possible, particularly for gym and recess. Generally speaking, students will eat lunch in their classrooms. At Buford and CHS, students will follow their schedules to move from class to class following signage and other procedures to encourage social distancing. School hours may be adjusted to allow for the additional cleaning time required for buses between runs.

Note: please make a plan for if your student arrives at the bus or school with a fever or COVID symptoms. See  the transportation FAQ (below) for details.

Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities:

Clubs and athletic activities may resume:

  • CHS will follow Virginia High School League (VHSL) guidelines for sports and activities. For further updates, visit gocville.org.
  • All other clubs and extracurricular activities will need to follow CCS guidelines and gain building-level approval to be sure that activities are in compliance.

Restroom Use:

High-risk touch points in restrooms (faucet knobs, flush handles, partition locks, ADA railings) will be disinfected at least mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and restrooms will be cleaned nightly. Schools will stagger bathroom breaks to minimize close contact with students from another cohort.  Handwashing is the key to safe bathroom use. Mirror clings in all restrooms will reinforce the importance and basics of proper handwashing. Schools will develop site plans for safe restroom use.

Calendar:

You can find the academic calendar for 2021-22 here. Click “other formats” for a one-page printout.

Furniture:

To the greatest degree possible, individual desks will be used and will be separated by 3′. Furniture will be arranged so that students face in the same direction.

Gym/Recess:

As much as possible, PE and recess will take place outside. We are requiring masks for staff outdoors and encouraging masks outdoors for all students at this time, with the understanding that outdoors is the best time for mask breaks when students and staff are 6ft apart or more.  (Procedures for extracurricular activities are program specific).

Students should wash hands before and after recess or gym. Outdoor playground equipment can be shared within a class, but again, since it will not be disinfected, hand-washing is important. Multiple cohorts can be outside at the same time as long as they are distanced from one another.  Any shared equipment such as balls should be disinfected between classes.

Hours:

  • Elementaries (including PreK): 8am-2:30pm
  • Buford/Walker: 8:30am-3:15pm
  • CHS: 9:05am-3:50pm
  • LMA: 9:15am-3:05pm

Early dismissal hours are:

  • Elementaries: 12noon
  • Buford/Walker: 12:45pm
  • CHS: 1:40pm
  • LMA: 11:30am

food tray iconMeals:

We are offering free breakfast/lunch for all students this school year. For most students in our schools, we will serve meals in classrooms. Classes are encouraged to eat outside as much as possible. When this is not possible, we have developed the safety routines including:

  • Minimizing talking while masks are off for eating (“mask off = voice off”)
  • Assigning seating cohorts during meals, avoiding having students face each other
  • Maintaining spacing of 3-6 feet.
  • Opening windows during mealtime

Students can still bring packed meals from home, but no microwave will be available. All students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating. Other safety features include a meal pre-ordering system and a touchless system using ID cards for payment. We will  provide additional wheeled waste cans  in the hallways so food waste will not remain in the classrooms. See more information about meals, below.

For virtual or quarantined students, families can complete a Google form to arrange next-day pick-up at the school closest to them.

Safety Drills:

Schools are still following the schedule for state-required safety drills. We will adapt these processes to accommodate social distancing.

Shared Items/Spaces:

We will limit shared items as much as possible. If shared, items should be disinfected between use when possible. Group work can still happen — students will just need to follow social distancing guidelines. Schools and teachers will use lots of visual cues and reminders. Areas where students will need to share a space or equipment will create a space-specific cleaning plan.

Transportation Info:

See next section for information about transportation.

Volunteers/Visitors:

We are limiting volunteer programs and non-essential visitors. Signage reminds visitors to check to see if their business can be conducted by phone,  computer, or outside meeting.  If the principal approves a volunteer or visitor, individuals need to wear a mask, screen for symptoms, and use hand sanitizer.

Water Fountains:

Students are encouraged to bring water bottles since water fountains will not be open. Bottle-filling stations are available.

 

Illustration of lunch tray with foodMeals

Breakfast and lunch will be free for all students during the 2021-22 year. Even so, we encourage families to apply for free/reduced meals, especially if they are new to Charlottesville City Schools. Find more information about meal protocols in “Daily Routines” (above), and find complete information about meals at charlottesvilleschools.org/food.

2021-22 Applications for Free/Reduced Meals

What’s for lunch? Find menus here — there’s a link at the bottom of every page on our website.

Virtual or quarantined students needing meal service? Virtual or quarantined students can complete this form to request a next-day pick-up meal at the school nearest you.

Request to pick-up a next-day to-go meal at a school

 

Illustration of bikers and walkersTransportation

When school opens, we’ll have very limited space on school buses. Help now by finding a new way for your child to go to and from school. For information and ideas, look through our FAQ. The City’s Safe Routes to School team has developed some walking/maps for the elementaries and Buford — look below the FAQ to see yours or print it up.

Transportation FAQ

How much space will there be on school buses?

Due to severe driver shortages complicated by the pandemic, the City of Charlottesville has fewer school bus drivers than needed, and the schools will have very limited school bus space.  Current estimates show that we will be able to serve a maximum of 200 riders per day for elementaries (combined), 200 for Buford/Walker (combined), and 200 for CHS. (During 2019-20, 2,600 students rode the bus to and from school. This year, we may have a maximum of 600 per day.)

How else can my kid get to school?

To assist families who do not receive bus transportation, the City’s Safe Routes to School program is helping to organize additional supports such as volunteers guiding groups of walkers or bike-riders to school. They have developed new maps to help (see yours below)! Learn more about Safe Routes to Schools and ways you can help! Your PTO might have a sign-up genius or another way to connect families. Or partner with friends, neighbors, and classmates to make alternative plans. Learn more about biking/walking to Cville Schools.

Any changes for car-riders?

There will be more cars in the drop-off and pick-up zones, so we have established alternate locations such as nearby parking lots where we can set up additional sites for car-riders. Stay tuned for  information from your school.  Important note: please stay in the car drop-off lane until your children have cleared any temperature checks or other screenings.

How will I know if my child can ride the bus?

If you requested bus service, your school will let you know if you are assigned a spot or if you are on a wait list. If you are unsure of your child’s status, please do not go to a bus stop. Instead, please help us by finding an alternative way for your child to get to and from school.  Thank you for your patience, and if you know of potential drivers who can help us, please send them to the City’s website!

Note: for children in 1st grade and younger, a responsible adult must accompany the student to and from the bus stop.

How will you select which students to put on the bus initially and which to put on the waitlist?

In the spring, priorities for ridership were determined among students who indicated that they could not get to school unless they had school bus transportation who:

  • Have qualifying special needs (IEP’s)
  • Are Pre-K students (transportation cannot be a barrier under state guidelines)
  • Need Tier 3 supports (this might include English language learners, etc.)
  • Siblings of priority students ride can ride as the 2nd child on a  seat

The City’s Pupil Transportation department  is actively trying to identify drivers and solutions. Thank you for your patience.

How will we keep buses safe?

Buses will be cleaned between runs. Families will screen students for symptoms at home, and prior to boarding the bus, students will wear masks and use hand sanitizer. Students may get a  temperature check or screening. For those students who get a bus assignment, we ask them to sit in their assigned seat. Siblings can sit together.

What if my child can’t ride the bus due to a fever/symptoms?

For children in 1st grade and younger, a responsible adult must be at the stop each morning. For older students, we will call families to let them know if their child was unable to board the bus or the student will ride the bus and go directly to the school’s isolation room for prompt pick-up. Please make a plan in case your child gets sent home from the bus or school due to a fever or other COVID symptoms. We will make every effort to contact families in this situation. If one child in a family shows a fever or other COVID symptoms, we will ask for all unvaccinated students in the family to return home and seek guidance from a healthcare provider.

What if my walker or bike-rider arrives at school with a fever or symptoms?

The student will be sent to the school’s isolation room, and the parents/guardians will be notified to promptly arrange for the student (and unvaccinated siblings) to return home.

Why do you have so little space on the buses and why can’t the City just hire more bus drivers?

  1. There was a national shortage of school bus drivers even before the pandemic.
  2. Many of our drivers are retirees who are at greater risk due to COVID-19; some have decided to step down for their personal safety.
  3. The process of getting trained and ready to work as a school bus driver takes a while.
  4. We are limiting students to 2 per seat.
  5. Want to join our team of bus driver or recommend a friend? Visit the City’s employment site.

Walk/Bike Maps from the City’s Safe Routes to School Team

Volunteers/Visitors:

We are limiting volunteer programs and non-essential visitors. Signage reminds visitors to check to see if their business can be conducted by phone,  computer, or outside meeting.  If the principal approves a volunteer or visitor, individuals need to wear a mask, screen for symptoms, and use hand sanitizer.

Illustration of facemaskHealth Protocols for Staff and Families

We all depend on each other to reduce risk and promote safety. Following recommendations from the CDC, we will require everyone in the school division to wear a mask while indoors at the start of the school year.

Find info below about daily screening and what to do in common COVID situations.  Click “More Information” to find more about masking, health screening, COVID communications, and other health protocols.

"What to do in common COVID situations." Click to find OCR pdf.
Click image to go to Google doc “What to do in common COVID situations,” a guide for families and staff.
Image of CCS student daily health screening questions. Click for OCR PDF.
Click image to find the PDF of the Daily Health Screening Questions for Students
Cover of CCS COVID-19 Protocols document. Click to access Protocols document (google file).
Click image to access CCS COVID-19 Protocols document

Vaccinations for COVID-19 and other Diseases:

  • If your child is age 12 or older, please check with your healthcare provider about the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here for area walk-in clinics and other information.
  • And to learn more about the state’s new (non-COVID) vaccination requirements for students in kindergarten, grade 7, and grade 12, click here. Be sure to submit documentation to your school as soon as possible.
  • Questions about your child’s vaccines? Please check with your healthcare provider or call the school.
  • To promote safety, the Charlottesville School Board has voted to require staff to be vaccinated, or in cases such as health exemptions, be tested weekly.

More Information about Health Protocols, including Masking

COVID Communications

Will schools inform families of a positive case in the classroom or school?

We will follow the same protocols that we did last spring. After notifying any individuals who may have been directly impacted by a diagnosis, we will next communicate with any elementary classrooms that have been generally impacted. After those two processes are complete, we will communicate to all school staff/families that someone who has been in the school was diagnosed with COVID and that anyone who needs to quarantine has already been contacted. As we did in the spring, we will only announce cases that might impact the school, not those among, for example, virtual-only students or staff members who had not recently visited the school. Names and personally identifiable information will not be released.

Masks and Face Coverings

What is the policy? When do students/staff need to wear them?

All adults and students are required to wear masks covering the nose and mouth when on school grounds, with the exceptions of designated times for eating or when people are outside and can be six or more feet apart. Masks will also be required on buses and at bus stops. Masks should not be see-through or have valves.  Find the full policy here.

What if someone won’t wear a mask?

We will have additional masks on hand for anyone who has forgotten or lost one. We will work to ensure that the student and family understand the importance of wearing a face covering.

What if someone can’t wear a mask?

For individuals with a documented health condition or disabilities, CCS will identify solutions on a case-by-case basis.

What if someone needs help getting cloth masks?

We know this can be a challenge. If providing a mask is a challenge for your family, please check with your teacher or school.

Can you wear the same mask daily?

Yes, if it is washed and dried after each day. Masks should be washed on a daily basis (this can be in a sink with soap and water or in a washing machine). It would also be good to keep a “spare” in the classroom or a backpack. If providing (or daily washing) masks is  a challenge for your family, again please contact your teacher or school.

What about face shields?

Face shields are not a substitute for masks, but we do have a supply for any teachers and students who wish to wear them as an additional protection.

Why are we requiring  masks?

Face masks are one of the most important ways to  slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions and social distancing in public settings. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend universal masking in schools.

Handwashing and Hand Sanitizing

How will handwashing (and hand-sanitizing) be encouraged?

Staff and students will participate in handwashing/sanitizing at regular intervals, including upon arrival at school, before/after recess, and before/after lunch. Schools will have supplies of hand sanitizer and soap to allow for frequent hand-washing, and classrooms and school facilities will be disinfected regularly. We will teach the importance of (and techniques for) handwashing.

Do schools have supplies for handwashing or sanitizing?

Schools have supplies of hand sanitizer and soap to allow for frequent handwashing. Older students who wish to bring a personal bottle of sanitizer are encouraged to do so.

Will you teach students about the importance and best techniques for handwashing?

Yes, prior to and following a return to in-person instruction, we will use videos, visual reminders, and more to reinforce this important habit.

Social Distancing

How will the schools follow social distancing guidelines?

Students and staff will maintain 3 feet of social distancing in indoor and outdoor settings as much as possible. Schools will clearly mark off distances (up to 6 feet) for specific areas, such as bathroom lines or school pick-up/drop-off locations.

Classrooms will be set up to follow the health and safety guidelines in our approved plan. Classroom seating should be revised to maximize distancing between students as much as possible. Desks will be rearranged so that students are all facing the same direction, and community tables will be removed or equipped/marked for safe use.

What if students struggle with social distancing?

We will make every effort to teach this skill and reinforce its importance. We will have clear markings and reminders to support the behavior we need to see.

What about social distancing outside of school?

Families, one important way you can help us to keep school as safe as possible is to make your home or non-school routines as similar as possible to the school routines for things such as masking, social distancing, and handwashing. This will be especially important at Thanksgiving and over winter break.

Health Screenings for Staff and Students

How will you do daily health screening?

Everyone entering a building, including students and staff, must engage in a daily health screen before leaving home for school. Families and staff will sign a one-time agreement that they will agree to self-screening. Find family agreement here.

Will there be on-site health screening?

Adults and students may get a temperature check and/or in-person symptom screening before entering the building (or boarding a school bus). Students/staff with a temperature of 100.0F or above will need to go home. Students and staff should stay home if they are experiencing symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, abdominal pain, fatigue, muscle aches, and/or headache. Unvaccinated students should also stay home if close contacts are experiencing symptoms or awaiting COVID test results or have possible/confirmed COVID.

Note: please make a plan for if your student arrives at the bus or school with a fever. If your child will ride the bus, see  the transportation FAQ (below) for details. If you drive your child to school, please stay at school until the child has passed any temperature screening.

Will There be COVID-19 Testing for Staff or Students?

We are  participating in a state program for regular COVID testing throughout this school year as an additional strategy to promote safety.  As part of the same state program, we are hoping to offer rapid diagnostic testing for individuals as needed. To sign up or learn more information, click here.

Cleaning

How will we keep facilities clean?

Facilities staff will clean and disinfect nightly, and during the day for high-need areas. Staff will frequently clean touched surfaces in schools and on buses at least daily and between use as much as possible. Toys or classroom items that cannot be easily cleaned or sanitized (such as plush toys) will be removed.  For more about cleaning procedures, see Safety and Mitigation Strategies, above.

What about restrooms?

High-touch surfaces (faucet knobs, flush handles, railings) will be disinfected at least mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and all restrooms will be cleaned nightly. Handwashing is key to safety. Signage will encourage spacing, handwashing, and other safe practices. Schools will develop a site-based plan for restroom use.

PPE-Personal Protective Equipment

Has PPE (personal protective equipment) been purchased?

CCS has purchased PPE such as masks, face shields, thermometers, and gloves to help maintain a safe environment and prepare for the return to school. We’ll make sure schools receive supplies based on key information like the number of students enrolled, the number of teaching stations it has, and other details. We have a system to monitor and replenish these supplies to ensure schools have what they need to maintain a safe environment.

Will PPE (personal protective equipment) be given to staff? Students?

Additional supplies such as gowns and N95/KN95 masks will be provided for school nurses and others who may have close contact in personal care for students.

What if a Student Displays Symptoms or is Diagnosed?

"What to do in common COVID situations." Click to find OCR pdf.
Click image to go to Google doc “What to do in common COVID situations,” a guide for families and staff.

What if a student develops COVID-19 symptoms at home?

Consult with your primary care physician and report the absence at school. If someone is experiencing symptoms in your household, do not send any of your unvaccinated children to school without further guidance. If the symptoms are typical for your child, be sure to tell your doctor. Keep in mind, not everyone who displays COVID-19 symptoms has or will contract the virus.  

What if a student develops symptoms at school?

Students who develop symptoms at school will be immediately directed to a designated isolation space in the school until they can safely leave or be picked up to go home. Prompt pick-up of sick children and their unvaccinated siblings (within an hour) is part of the safety agreement that parents/guardians agree to follow when participating in in-person instruction.

Depending on the situation, the individual’s primary care provider may recommend testing for COVID-19 or give other guidance. Individuals who test positive will remain in isolation.  Students  with COVID-19 symptoms (and their unvaccinated siblings) should not return to school without guidance from their healthcare provider and/or school nurse. Please continue to report the absences; it would be helpful if families speak with the principal or school nurse with updates.

Will students have to show a negative COVID test to return to school?

No. There are many reasons that someone may show symptoms and/or an elevated temperature above 100.0F. But if a student displays COVID-19 symptoms, they should check with their healthcare provider or the school nurse for guidance.

What if a student is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Any student required to isolate at home due to illness from COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days or until there is no fever for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine (or as directed by a healthcare provider). A note from a healthcare provider will be required prior to returning to a CCS school campus.

What if a student  is exposed to COVID-19?

Fully vaccinated students (for age 18+, fully vaccinated means “boosted if eligible” as of 1/25)  who are symptom-free can attend school. Unvaccinated students who are a “close contact” of someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 will need to quarantine at home for 14 days from the date of last exposure or as directed by a healthcare provider.  For this purpose “close contact” is defined as being within 15 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 person for 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.  Please notify the principal or school nurse. 

What if a household member of a student is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Per health department guidance, fully vaccinated students (for age 18+, fully vaccinated means “boosted if eligible” as of 1/25) who are symptom-free can attend school. Any unvaccinated student who lives with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to begin quarantine and remain in this phase for two weeks following the recovery of the patient or as directed by a healthcare provider.

If a child stays home with symptoms or to quarantine following exposure, how will they continue to learn?

Students will continue to be served by their home school but in a remote capacity for the duration of the quarantine period. Please check with your teacher for guidance.

How does contract-tracing work?

Contact-tracing is a helpful way to keep the school community safe. The agreement for in-person instruction gives Charlottesville City School and the Blue Ridge Health Department permission to share information about COVID exposure and diagnoses concerning our school community members. That way, people who were exposed to a known positive case can quarantine and prevent the spread of this disease to others. It is helpful when students or staff displaying symptoms keep the school nurse or staff “in the loop” so that we can take precautions to keep everyone safe.

What will we be told if a student or staff member becomes sick?

Names and personally identifiable information will not be released, but the local health department will work with schools on the necessary next steps, including  communications to families or school staff. All such communications will be coordinated with the health department. In the spring, we announced cases that might impact the school (but we did not notify the school about cases among, for example, virtual students or staff members who had not recently visited the school.)

Is there a nurse at all schools and program sites?

Schools have full-time nurses.

How safe is the school isolation quarantine area?

Staff assigned to supervise individuals in the designated isolation quarantine area will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE – masks, gloves, gown, cap, shoe coverings), and proper disposal will be provided for the PPE.  Custodial staff responsible for cleaning the area will also be provided with appropriate PPE to address the area after any isolated individuals leave the space.  The protocol for this area in each school will include use of disinfectant spraying equipment. An isolation quarantine area cleaning checklist will be signed and dated when the protocol is completed.

Is there a chance that a class or school would need to revert to online-only instruction?

We will continue to work closely with the local health department and are following local and state data. As diagnosed cases arise, we will cooperate with the health department on contact tracing or other recommendations. Public health experts are very clear that each case is unique and that they will respond accordingly.

What if a Staff Member Displays Symptoms or is Diagnosed?

"What to do in common COVID situations." Click to find OCR pdf.
Click image to go to Google doc “What to do in common COVID situations,” a guide for families and staff.

What if a Staff Member Develops COVID-19 Symptoms at Home?

Consult with your healthcare provider and notify your supervisor. If these symptoms are common to you, be sure to mention this. Do not attend school without further guidance (even if you are vaccinated). Please keep any of your unvaccinated Charlottesville Schools students at home until your healthcare provider gives guidance. Keep in mind, not everyone who displays COVID-19 symptoms has or will contract the virus.

What if a Staff Member Develops Symptoms at School?

Staff who develop symptoms in the school setting will be immediately sent home or directed to a designated isolation space in the school until they can safely be picked up. Depending on the situation, the individual’s healthcare provider may recommend testing for COVID-19 or give other guidance. Individuals who test positive will remain in isolation.  Staff with COVID-19 symptoms (and their unvaccinated children who attend Charlottesville Schools) should not return to school without guidance from their healthcare provider. 

Will Staff Have to Show a Negative COVID Test to Return to School?

No. There are many reasons that someone might show symptoms and/or an elevated temperature above 100.0F. But if a staff member displays COVID-19 symptoms, they should check with a healthcare provider for guidance.

 What if a Staff Member is Diagnosed with COVID-19?

Any staff member required to isolate at home due to illness from COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days or until there is no fever for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine (or as directed by a healthcare provider).  Their unvaccinated household members (including any children who attend Charlottesville Schools) will need to go into quarantine.

What if a Staff Member is Exposed to COVID-19?

Fully vaccinated staff (which means boosted if eligible as of 1/25) who are symptom-free will not need to quarantine. Unvaccinated staff who are a “close contact” of someone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19  will need to quarantine at home for 14 days from the date of last exposure or according to the guidance of their healthcare provider.  For this purpose “close contact” is defined as being within 15 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 person for 15 minutes over a 24 hour period. Please contact the Director of Human Resources. 

What if a Household Member of a Staff Member is Diagnosed with COVID-19?

Per health department guidance, fully vaccinated staff (which means boosted if eligible as of 1/25) who are symptom-free will not need to quarantine.  Any unvaccinated staff member or student who lives with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to quarantine. Typically this is a two-week quarantine from the date of last exposure. Check with your healthcare provider for guidance.

What Will We Be Told if a Staff Member Gets COVID-19?

Names and personally identifiable information will not be released, but the local health department will work with schools on the necessary next steps, including  communications to families or school staff. All such communications will be coordinated with the health department. In the spring, we announced cases that might impact the school (but we did not notify the school about cases among, for example, virtual staff members who had not recently visited the school.)

Public Input on the Plan for Safe In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services for 2021-22

This web page contains all information related to our plan for a safe school year (5 days/week),  along with our planned uses for the fund from the American Rescue Plan (Act) – Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER III). Submit feedback to the Board at any time by emailing schoolboard@charlottesvilleschools.org or texting 434-953-1802.  You can also comment  at any regular School Board meeting via Zoom (or go to CHS Media Center), first Thursday of the month, 5pm.

Need translation? Text 953-1802

¿Tiene preguntas? ¿Necesita información?
¡Puede ponerse en contacto con las escuelas de Charlottesville en español!

Usted también puede conocer información importante sobre la educación de su hijo/hija. Sólo tiene que llamar al número (434) 245-2548

Need other formats or assistance? Want to comment or make a suggestion? Text 434-953-1802.

Illustration of handshakeHow Can I Help?

There are some simple steps that everyone can take to keep our community safe this fall. Or you can learn about the City’s Safe Routes to School program to find ways to help children bike or walk in the mornings or afternoons.

Ways to Help or Volunteer

Eager to see a safe and smooth school opening? Here’s how you can help:

  1. Continue to build your family’s good habits — social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing. If you or your age 12+ students haven’t been vaccinated, talk to your healthcare provider for guidance.  Do your part to reduce our COVID-19 numbers.
  2. Get flu shots for your family.
  3. Download the state’s COVIDWISE app. This app does not collect personal data, but it does help with contact tracing.
  4. Stay up-to-date with Charlottesville City Schools. Complete your child’s re-registration forms in PowerSchool. Still not getting phone calls and/or emails? Want to get texts? Please check with your school office.
  5. If your child will be learning in person, make a plan for these situations now:
    1. Transportation to and from school. There will be VERY LIMITED bus space.
    2. Sick days: If your child is sick, please help our community and keep all the unvaccinated students in your household home. Check with your doctor or school nurse for advice.
    3. Unexpected fever or symptoms at the bus or school: We may screen for fevers or signs of illness before children enter the bus or school. Please make a plan now for if your child is not allowed to board the bus or needs to go home from school.
    4. Isolation: If your unvaccinated child is exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms at any point (whether at school, when out, or at home), the unvaccinated students in your household will need to isolate for fourteen days or as directed by a healthcare provider.

Kids will be walking and biking. Want to learn more or find a way to help?

The City’s Safe Routes to School program has created maps and is helping to organize supports to help students safely walk or bike (or scoot or skip) to school. Interested in learning more or helping? Let them know!

 

Illustration of chromebookStudents Remaining in Virtual (Online-Only) Instruction

This page was designed to help students attending school in person. For those students whose applications were accepted for online-only instruction, you can learn more at charlottesvilleschools.org/virtual. The deadline for priority consideration was in mid-July.

  • To allow us to finalize preparations for a smooth start to the school year, we will close the application on Sunday, August 15 at 8pm.

If you believe your child needs and will be successful in virtual learning next year, learn more at  at charlottesvilleschools.org/virtual.

Need meal service for your virtual student? For virtual (or quarantined) students, complete this form to request a next-day pick-up meal at the school nearest you.

Request to pick-up a to-go meal at a school

Image of girl adjusting mask nosepiece from CDC

Updates and Safety Reminders from Dr. Gurley for Returning to School, 1/9

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:

Image of CCS student daily health screening questions. Click for OCR PDF.
Daily Health Screening Questions for Students

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!

 

Image of girl adjusting mask nosepiece from CDCLevel Up your Masking Game!
The latest guidance says that high-quality masking over the mouth and nose is important. 

  • 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

 

School-Based COVID TestingSay 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.

Portrait with and without mask by Jai, gr 3, Clark Elementary.
Portrait can be folded to show (or uncover) mask, courtesy Jai, gr 3, Clark Elementary

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.

School-Based COVID Testing

Sign Up for FREE School-Based COVID Testing Programs — Registration Remains Open

Revised January 10, 2022

Related Topics:

Logins/How to Login:

Opportunity to Participate in Free In-School COVID-19 Screening Testing

Good news! The state has changed our school-based COVID-19 screening testing program so that participants will have individual (not grouped) PCR tests. This testing can bring you peace of mind and helps keep our schools safe. Families and staff can still sign up for either screening testing (when healthy) or diagnostic testing (when symptoms appear at school or following exposure). We will add new registrants to the program as soon as possible.

Want to re-enroll? Complete the form again.

Sign Up Here!

 

Screening Testing for People without Symptoms

The voluntary program offers regularly scheduled individual COVID tests at school (during the school day) to identify infected people who may be symptom-free. Testing is one more layer of protection, along with wearing masks, staying home if there are any symptoms/risk factors, maintaining good ventilation, and more. Everyone is encouraged to participate. (Initially, the state planned a “group” or “pooled” testing program, but now the plan is to test everyone individually.)

Diagnostic Testing

We also partner with the state to offer voluntary diagnostic testing in cases of symptoms/exposure. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about diagnostic testing for exposed/symptomatic people. The permission form gives the option of agreeing to one or both of the testing programs.

More Information

  • To learn more, scroll down to read our Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Registration is ongoing; if you enroll after Monday of each week, you’ll be enrolled for the following week.
  • Click to see weekly schedule.
  • Our vendor is NEXT Molecular.
  • The program is opt-in, per state guidelines. This is a state-run program.
  • Thanks to our partners on this project, the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Health. And thanks to our other partners – our students, families, and staff!

Sign Up Here!

illustration of linguistic charactersTranslation Traducción ترجمة Tafsiri अनुवाद ترجمه

Translators and interpreters are available. Our web site and the sign-up form can be translated with Google. Call or email your school for help. You can also text 434-953-1802.

Si tiene preguntas acerca de las escuelas de Charlottesville, llame a nuestra línea telefónica en español al 434-245-2548. Un profesor de español le devolverá la llamada. 


Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do I sign up?

Complete this form. We hope everyone – vaccinated and unvaccinated people — will sign up for screening testing, but we will only test those staff and students who complete the consent form, per state guidelines. Need a paper copy of the permission form? Contact or visit your school. The form allows you to sign up for the regularly scheduled screening testing and/or the diagnostic testing in case of symptoms/exposure.

Does the test hurt?

This is a shallow swab, not the deep nasal swab. One state employee noted, “The swab is less invasive than a child picking their nose.” (And this is the only time you will see the phrase “picking their nose” in a Cville Schools publication, we hope.)

How does screening testing work, generally speaking?

Our partners, Next Molecular, will visit each school at the same time each week (see planned schedule, below). Schools will send participants to the vendors to have a shallow nose swab. Results should be reported to families (and the health department) within 24-48 hours. Participants will be tested weekly unless you request a less frequent schedule by telling your school nurse or noting it on the form. Because this testing is conducted on symptom-free people, they can continue attending school while waiting on results (unless they develop symptoms).

Can I learn more about how screening testing works?

Vendors provided by the Virginia Department of Health will conduct individual PCR testing during school hours on a set schedule. Our vendor, Next Molecular,  will provide trained staff to swab the front of the student’s nose. This is a non-invasive shallow swab.  Participants will be tested weekly unless you request a less frequent schedule by telling your school nurse or noting it on the form. One principle of the program is that students or staff can change their mind about being tested, even if they or their family previously gave permission.

Where will testing take place?

Testing will take place at school during regular school hours (see schedule, below). We have established well ventilated testing areas. Screened testing will take place once per week, but you can set a different schedule when you complete the permission form.  Registration will remain open for those who choose to join later.

What’s the weekly schedule?

Our initial weekly schedule will be as follows. Please note that we might revise this schedule as needed:

Wednesdays

  • Burnley-Moran Elementary, 7:30-10:00
  • Charlottesville High School, 10:30-1:30 (students should stop by testing table in A Commons during lunch)

Thursdays

  • Clark Elementary, 7:30-9:00
  • Jackson-Via Elementary, 9:30-11:00
  • Johnson Elementary, 11:15-12:30
  • Buford Middle School, 1:30-2:45

Fridays

  • Venable Elementary plus Lugo McGinness Academy, 7:30-9:30
  • Greenbrier Elementary, 10:00-12:00
  • Walker Upper Elementary School, 12:30-2:45

When will I receive results? Who is notified?

Each time your student is tested, for a negative (no COVID) result, you’ll receive an email within 24-48 hours. If your student tests positive, you’ll get a phone call before the group email goes out.

If a screening test is positive, the result will be reported to the family, the school, the BRHD, and the Virginia Department of Health.

Can my student remain in school while they wait on their screening test result?

Because this testing is conducted on symptom-free people, they can continue attending school while waiting on results (unless they develop symptoms). If a positive test result comes back while the child is in school, we will contact the family to arrange prompt pick-up.

When will screening testing start?

We started during the week of November 3-5.  Registration remains open.

How is screening testing helpful?

Screening testing is one strategy recommended by the CDC to control the spread of COVID. Screening testing helps us identify symptom-free people who could potentially spread the virus. For some people, proactive testing is also a relief, a periodic check to know that you or your child doesn’t have COVID. Remember, screening testing is only one strategy — we will continue to mask, require daily screening for symptoms/risk factors, keep our upgraded ventilation systems in good working order, follow protocols, and more.

How often does a student or staff member get tested?

You set the frequency when you complete the sign-up form (weekly, every other week, once a month) — and participants can always decline a weekly test, as well.  

What about diagnostic testing?

In addition to screening testing, we are partnering with the state to offer free diagnostic testing for people who start showing symptoms at school or for vaccinated people who have been exposed.

The COVID testing permission form gives the option of agreeing to either the screening or the diagnostic testing programs. Both programs are funded by a partnership with the Virginia Departments of Health and Education.

What about diagnostic testing for people who start symptoms at school?

Free diagnostic testing may be offered to those who develop symptoms during the school day. Family permission would be verified prior to testing. Depending on program guidelines, we would offer either the 15-minute rapid antigen test called BinaxNOW or a mail-in PCR kit called “Let’s Get Checked,” both of which also use a shallow nasal swab. While the BinaxNOW test is fast and useful, it is not as accurate as a PCR test, and symptomatic people testing negative on the rapid test should still follow up with a healthcare provider for guidance.

Remember, if your student feels ill or has symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the school day, keep your student home and check with a healthcare provider. When a sick child goes to school, this puts others in our school community at risk.

What about diagnostic testing for people who have been exposed?

Free diagnostic testing may be offered to vaccinated people who have been exposed 5-7 days after exposure, per CDC guidelines. Family permission would be verified prior to testing.

A final word

The information in this guide is subject to change based on emerging best practices, the capacity of our vendor, or guidance from local, state, and national medical experts.

Sign Up Here!

image of a snowflake

School Closing and Snow Day Information

image of a snowflakeCreate your “Snow-Day Plan” Early

Decisions on schedule changes are made after careful study of the best information available from weather services and Charlottesville Public Works. Safety is our first concern.

When do we decide?

  • Morning announcements will be made by 5:30 a.m. whenever possible.  Sometimes we can announce a decision the evening before.
  • Early-release decisions will be made by 10:30 a.m. whenever possible.

Where we announce school closings:

When schools are closed for the day:

  • All activities are cancelled unless otherwise indicated.

When schools are opened late:

  • Offices will open on a delayed schedule.
  • Morning field trips are cancelled.
  • Early-morning (zero period) classes at Buford and CHS are cancelled.

When schools are closed early due to worsening weather:

  • Students will be fed lunch before being put on buses, if possible.
  • All activities are cancelled unless otherwise indicated.

 

Buford Band Nov 2021

November 2021 News and Highlights

A Word from Dr. Gurley

Dr. Royal GurleyDear families,

If you know me, I believe that I must say the most important thing first. What’s the most important thing to me? Building trust in our partnership to keep your children safe, learning, and growing.

What’s the most important thing to you? From my conversations with families, I have learned that “Knowing key dates and calendar changes in a timely manner” ranks among high importance. For your planning purposes, I have included key information about the school calendar:

    • Changes to THIS SPRING’s calendar (Jan-April 2022): Schools across the country are making changes to this year’s calendar in response to staff and student needs during the pandemic. See below for the changes or learn more here.
      • 1/21/22 will become a full day in school for students
      • 2/21/22: All schools and offices will be closed (President’s Day)
      • 3/18/22 will become a teacher workday (student holiday)
      • 4/1/22 will become a teacher workday (student holiday)

 

    • Draft Calendar for 2022-2023Survey about NEXT YEAR’s school calendar (fall 2022-2023): We have developed this draft calendar in partnership with Albemarle County Public Schools. Now we want to hear from you — complete our survey!

 

  • Reminder: Thanksgiving Break is Wednesday-Friday, November 24-26.

Thank you, and know that as we look ahead to the holiday, we are thankful for you!

Sincerely,
Dr. Royal Gurley

Upcoming “Response to Essential Needs” events are this Saturday 11/20 and 12/4 at CHS from 11-1. These drive-thru events give away family essentials, including coats on 12/4. Learn more here. And check out this video from partner and Super Bowl winner Chris Long with a word of appreciation to our families — we appreciate our families during Family Engagement Month and all year long.

I Got My COVID Vaccine Logo2 WAYS TO BOOST SAFETY — FREE COVID TESTING & VACCINES
Now that our students age 5-11 are eligible for the COVID vaccine, we have been partnering with Blue Ridge Health District to host and promote vaccine clinics. Our next clinic is Friday, and the one after that is 11/23. Sign up for vaccines here! We also offer free, opt-in, individual PCR COVID testing as a proactive measure. You set the frequency of testing (as often as weekly). Sign up for testing here!  And remember, once students are fully vaccinated (2 weeks after 2nd dose) they do not need to quarantine following exposure.

Handwritten letter from Dr. Gurley to Jackson-ViaKIDS ACROSS THE CITY WROTE DR. GURLEY. HE WROTE BACK.
When Dr. Gurley arrived in Charlottesville and started visiting schools, he received hundreds of cards, signs, and letters, including the question, “Why do you want such a big job?” Now, Dr. Gurley has written back with all the deets, including favorite subject (math) and favorite animal (his dog Cooper).  As for his “why”? “The answer is YOU! I want to make sure you have every opportunity to learn, make friends, and be healthy so that you can be the leaders of tomorrow!

Walker Preschool DesignWHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCHOOL RECONFIGURATION
As you likely know, the City and the Schools have approved further planning for a long-overdue renovation of Buford Middle School (to serve grades 6-8), convert Walker into a City-wide preschool center, and return 5th-graders to their elementary schools. Work is beginning now to flesh out the plans.

Get the big picture in this two-part series by Katherine Knott in the Daily Progress:  Part 1 (Middle School)  |  Part 2 (Preschool)

Image about substitute teaching in Cville Schools.KNOW A POTENTIAL SUBSTITUTE? RATE IS NOW $20/HOUR.
To address the substitute teaching shortage being felt locally and nationally, the School Board voted to raise the pay for substitute teachers to $20/hour. We are also using our college networks to recruit students at places like PVCC and UVA. Want to be part of the solution? Consider applying or passing along the information to someone who would be a good fit! Find more information at charlottesvilleschools.org/substitute 

School BusBUS UPDATE (THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE)
The City of Charlottesville continues to seek solutions to expand the number of students who can ride the bus to and from school. The wait list has shrunk from about 1000 to less than 700. The City is hoping to expand routes again (perhaps modestly) in January. If you know of potential drivers, please direct them to the City of Charlottesville’s application.

Equity/Diversity/Inclusion/Belonging IllustrationTHESE KEY EQUITY DOCUMENTS WILL GUIDE OUR WORK — TAKE A LOOK AND SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK.
Our division-wide equity committee has drafted two key documents to guide our work moving forward, and they’d like your feedback. The first is their recommendations for our data dashboard; the second is a plan to align our work with the state’s “Inclusive Excellence” framework so that partners across the state can work toward common goals. Take a look and let us know how it can be better using this quick feedback form.

More Looks at Cville Schools

Congratulations to our Buford and CHS students who have excelled this fall! CHS boys cross country were regional champs and, along with Caroline Jaffe (upper left), competed at states. Buford runners Elaina Pierce and Jacoby Lynch (upper right) competed at middle school NATIONALS and placed 7th and 37th! CHS placed first in Jefferson District VHSL competition. At the Virginia Theatre Association virtual state conference, CHS’s submission earned superior, Buford earned excellent, and two actors won individual awards, Buford’s Leo Abrahamson and CHS’s Cole Lyman (who was also honored at the VHSL competition).

Buford Band at Highland

So good to see students performing again — here’s the Buford Band at Highland’s Veterans Day ceremony. Notice the special masks (and there are instrument covers, too).

Greenbrier students: iSTEM activity

These Greenbrier 2nd-graders have designed games that use magnets as part of the games’ mechanics thanks to Cville Schools’ iSTEM program. To see more, follow on Twitter at @CCS_iSTEM.

Find more info and events on on our website, social media, or our Google calendars!

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Puzzle pieces: diversity, equity, belonging, inclusion

Feedback on Equity Framework and Data Dashboard

Puzzle pieces: diversity, equity, belonging, inclusion

Our division-wide equity committee has created some key equity documents to guide our work moving forward. They’d like to hear your feedback!

Data Dashboard Recommendations

This data dashboard describes how progress and key measures would be reported.

Inclusive Excellence Framework

This draft document embeds the schools’ work and goals within the larger “Inclusive Excellence” framework that the state of Virginia uses. In this way, we and organizations across the state can make coordinated efforts toward shared goals.

Give Feedback

We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts on either (or both) documents here.

Go to Feedback Form

Flyer for REN Drive-Thru event on 12/4 See webpage for info. Call 245-2400 with questions.

Upcoming REN Events in December

Flyer for REN Drive-Thru event on 12/4 See webpage for info. Call 245-2400 with questions.Charlottesville City Schools’ Family Engagement Team invites you to a  Response to Essential Needs (REN) Drive-Thru Event on December 4!

  • Saturday, December 4 from 11-1pm at CHS — Come pick up a winter coat and other supplies (and if your child got vaxxed at CHS on 11/13, they’ll get their 2nd dose).

Thanks so much to the YMCA, the United Way, the Blue Ridge Health District, and the Chris Long Foundation for sponsoring this events! Check out Chris Long’s video thanking our families, below!

  • Questions? Email  familyengagement@charlottesvilleschools.org

Updates to 21-22 Academic Calendar

On November 4, the School Board approved the following modifications to this year’s academic calendar. These changes are in keeping with school divisions across the country.

Approved Changes to the SY 21-22 Calendar

1/21/2022

Will become a full day in school for students.

2/21/2022

All schools and offices will be closed. (President’s Day)

3/18/2022 

Will become a Teacher Work Day (student holiday).

4/01/2022

Will become Teacher Work Day (student holiday).

Our Google Academic Calendar has now been changed (you can subscribe to it!).  You can find a PDF of the revised calendar here.

Revised Academic Calendar for 21-22. Posted as a PDF on the page and Google Academic Calendar is updated. Call 245-2400 with questions.

About These Changes

These changes are in keeping with efforts across the country to support instructional staff during a challenging year with extra work due to COVID protocols, shortages in areas such as substitute teachers, and more. Aside from these calendar changes, we are also supporting staff by raising pay to attract more substitute teachers, giving flexibility to do most professional learning from home or remotely, and more.

As Dr. Gurley explained in a staff email:

Greetings #TeamCCS,

As always, I believe that I must say the most important thing first. I am eternally grateful that you show up each and every day to ensure the success of all of our children. We work in an industry where people have choices and you choose Charlottesville City Schools daily.

Now more than ever, school personnel have been tasked with more and more while having to balance the demands of your work and family. Recently, I asked a group of educators what is one thing you wish you had more of and they each replied, “time”.

From my time in the building as a classroom teacher and administrator, I can tell you that the longest stretch mentally for teachers was the time after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to spring break. Typically during this period, there are no planned days off and fatigue is common among many employees. In an effort to support our Culture of Care, I made the following recommendations to the School Board to provide you additional time to plan for your students, time to spend with your family, and time to provide yourself with care.

It is my hope that making these changes now will provide our staff, families, and community partners the opportunity to make adjustments, particularly as it relates to child care. Additionally, I hope our staff will find that the modifications made to the calendar will provide you more unencumbered time to focus on planning and self-care. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can contact me directly via email or at the district office (434) 245-2400. Lastly, I am thankful to the School Board for approving my recommendations as they equally value your contributions to CCS! #LeadWithLove

Best Regards,

Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.