Coronavirus Archived Page

This page contains the original coronavirus content focused on information that families needed to know when schools were open (prior to March 16).

Updated: March 13, 2020

Charlottesville City Schools is working with the regional and state health department to monitor and make plans for the respiratory illness caused by Coronavirus (or COVID-19).

While our immediate risk is low, cases have been reported in Virginia, and we are making plans now to keep our staff and students safe. We hope the following Frequently Asked Questions are helpful. We are continually updating this page to respond to new information.

illustration of a "closed" signCharlottesville City Schools will be closed from at least 3/16 to 3/27 following Governor Northam’s statewide school closure to contain the coronavirus.

Illustration of an adult hand helping a child hand Want to help other families who face disruption in meals or income during this time?

Two options right now:

THANKS to so many of you who have reached out wanting to help. Charlottesville City Schools will have a meals program in place for our families in need beginning Tuesday.

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The impact of coronavirus on children appears to be very mild and limited. The health department’s guidance to us is designed to limit the spread of the virus to keep our entire community safe, especially older adults and individuals with underlying health issues.

Charlottesville City Schools Messages to Families

 

Message to Families March 15, 2020: Medicine and Musical Instrument Pick-Up

Dear families,

We recognize that Friday afternoon’s decision to close schools state-wide came suddenly. If your student has medicine or personal items that you need to pick up, you can come by the school tomorrow between 9am and 2pm. If possible, please contact your school office or principal so that we can have your item ready for you to pick up. In the case of medicine, a parent or guardian needs to be present.

In addition, band and orchestra students at Walker, Buford, and CHS can pick up their instruments outside the schools from 11-2 tomorrow.

School telephone numbers and principal emails are below.

Thanks again for your understanding in this unusual time.

Beth Cheuk
Charlottesville City Schools

  • CHS: 434-245-2410 or irizare1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Lugo-McGinnes: 434-245-2406 or dahlj1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Buford: 434-245-2411or turnerj1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Walker: 434-245-2412 or hastina1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Burnley-Moran: 434-245-2413 or korabe1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Clark: 434-245-2414 or isleyd1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Greenbrier: 434-245-2415 or cuomop1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Jackson-Via: 434-245-2416 or malonej1@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Johnson: 434-245-2417 or thompss2@charlottesvilleschools.org
  • Venable: 434-245-2418 or kershne1@charlottesvilleschools.org

Message to Families March 13, 2020

Message to Families March 13, 2020

Dear Charlottesville Staff and Families–

A few minutes ago, Governor Ralph Northam ordered that all of Virginia’s K-12 schools will close for a minimum of two weeks beginning on Monday and extending through at least March 27. We wanted to notify you of this as soon as possible because we recognize that this will require a lot of planning on both your part and ours.

We will be in touch with more information on Monday. For the time being, a few announcements:

  • The PBJ Fund and our wonderful elementary PTOs have planned sandwich deliveries to some of our neighborhoods on Monday. See our web site and social media for details.
  • We will begin food service for families in need on Tuesday. More information will come.
  • The Charlottesville Area Community Fund has opened a fund for donations to support our community in this time. Again, see our web site and social media.

Again, we will have more information for you on Monday once we meet to make plans. 

As I mentioned yesterday, this health event will cause stress and challenges. It is also an opportunity for us to support one another, just as we have done in the past. Thanks and take care!

Update to elementary families: To stay in compliance with the governor’s order, we will cancel the CLASS program on Monday 3/16. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Message to Families March 12, 2020

Message to Families March 12, 2020

Dear Charlottesville Schools Staff and Families,

I’m reaching out with important updates regarding our response to coronavirus. The most pressing item is that on Monday, March 16, there will be no school for students in Charlottesville Schools while we give our teachers and staff time to train and prepare for the possibility of extended school closures. However, the after-school program called CLASS will hold a full-day program for students already enrolled in CLASS. A flyer will go home today with CLASS families.

Now for additional updates. This is lengthy but important.

In addition to our current practices of cleaning, hand-washing, and reminding sick students and staff to stay home, we are taking extra steps:

  • We have cancelled field trips, events, and staff travel that would involve gatherings of more than 100 people or that would take students or staff outside of the Charlottesville area, including out-of-state and international travel. For this weekend, this includes Parent University and the ArtConnections open house along with District 13 orchestra assessments at Buford.
  • For the time being, we will hold athletic practices but cancel scrimmages. We will give teams updates as information is available.
  • We are preparing — and we ask you to prepare — for the possibility of extended school closures following health department guidance. As we prepare for this possibility, we are developing online or at-home learning plans, and we are exploring ways to get food and resources to families who rely on the school meals program due to food insecurity. Please arrange childcare now for the possibility that we may face extended school closures.
  • In addition, we request that students or staff who return from areas where coronavirus has been identified practice self-isolation per the recommendations of the CDC. For details or guidance about household members who have traveled, please see our website.

We know you will have questions, and we have updated our resource page at charlottesvilleschools.org/coronavirus.

As we take these steps, it is important to remember that children appear to be only mildly impacted by the coronavirus. The health department’s guidance to us is designed to mitigate the spread of the virus to keep our entire community safe, especially older adults and individuals with underlying health issues. These recommendations may change as we learn more from the health department and other authorities.

As our community moves forward, we know that these changes are stressful, there will be challenges, and we will get through it together. 

With appreciation,

Rosa Atkins

Message to Families March 4, 2020

Message to Families (March 4, 2020)

Dear Charlottesville Schools Families and Staff,

Charlottesville City Schools is working with the regional and state health department to monitor and make plans for the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus (or COVID-19).

According to the Center for Disease Control, the current risk of COVID-19 infection to the American public is still considered low. As of today, there are no COVID-19 cases in Virginia.

Even so, we want to be prepared and we are reinforcing everyday best practices such as hand-washing, covering coughs, and cleaning our buildings. We are also working with regional partners such as the health department to revise our preparation plans.

We have created a web page to answer more specific questions. You can find it at charlottesvilleschools.org/coronavirus.

In the meanwhile, take care and wash your hands!

Questions about Schools

How Are the Schools Preparing?

How Are the Schools Preparing?

At Charlottesville City Schools, we are reinforcing good hand-washing and cleaning practices, which are key to preventing this disease. Our cleaning practices exceed standards, and we have begun receiving additional equipment to further strengthen these practices.

In addition, we are working with regional partners such as the local health department and the City of Charlottesville.

Our goal is to maintain operations while minimizing student and staff exposure. However, we are preparing for the possibility of school closures, which would follow the health department’s guidelines.

Why Are the Schools Closing for the Day of Monday, March 16?

Why Are the Schools Closing for the Day of Monday, March 16?

The health department has urged school divisions to prepare for the possibility of an extended closure. If we have an extended closure (2 weeks or more), we will plan to offer online and at-home learning for students. (We will also plan to deliver food to some neighborhoods.)  If we can continue learning from home, we can help our students make important progress despite any interruption.

Offering continuous learning of this nature will require planning. So we will take the day of Monday, March 16 to train staff and make plans. Thanks for your understanding!

Will Schools Cancel Field Trips or Staff Travel?

Will Schools Cancel Field Trips or Staff Travel?

  • Field Trips: CCS has cancelled field trips outside of Albemarle County or interacting with 100 or more people. You will be notified if your child’s field trip is cancelled.
  • Out-of-State or International Travel CCS has suspended all CCS-sponsored out-of-state and international field trips. For details about your planned trip, check with your teacher. Please be patient as we sort through the complex issues this raises.
  • Athletic Events: For the time being, we will hold practices but cancel scrimmages. WWe will cancel games/matches from 3/16 – 3/27 and then re-evaluate.
  • Staff Conferences and Travel: Out-of-state staff travel has been cancelled, and some in-state conferences have been cancelled or postponed. Staff with questions should see their supervisor.

Will Schools Cancel Activities?

Will Schools Cancel Activities?

  • Activities and Events:
    • Activities and events with 100 or more in attendance will be modified or cancelled. In most cases, details would come from the specific school or group. We will make every effort to update our web site’s online calendar.
    • After-school activities will continue.
  • Sports
    • For the time being, we will hold practices but cancel scrimmages. We will cancel games/matches from 3/16 – 3/27 and then re-evaluate.

Will We Have an Extended School Closure?

Will We Have an Extended School Closure?

Other than the planning day on Monday, March 16, there are no plans to close schools at this time. We would make this decision following guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health (see below). We are preparing for the possibility of closures by planning for online and at-home learning and ways to supply families with resources such as food and wifi hotspots.

illustration of checklist with items crossed off Please make sure that you have a plan for your children if we need to close. As you make these plans, remember that people over the age of 60 — especially those with existing health conditions — are at greatest risk from coronavirus. Also consider that keeping large groups of children together is another risk factor.

illustration of a notebook with a checkmark on the coverVirginia Department of Health Guidelines for School Closures as of 3/12/2020 (subject to change)

  • There is no evidence that a “preemptive” closure is effective.
  • Following the first confirmed diagnosis of a student/staff member at a school:
    • Close the school division for 3-5 days for deep cleaning and time for the health department’s investigation
  • Following multiple confirmed diagnoses of students/staff members at a school:
    • Close the schools division for at least 2 weeks for deep cleaning and time for new cases to appear
  • Find the CDC’s guidance for schools here. Although there are no confirmed cases in Charlottesville-Albemarle, we are proactively following  the guidelines for “minimal to moderate community transmission.”

If Schools Close, Will Students Keep Learning?

If CCS does have an extended closure, how would students continue to learn?

The Virginia Department of Education is encouraging school divisions to make opportunities for students to learn from home. CCS is working on plans to ensure the continuity of learning for all students in the event of an extended closure. We are exploring both online and offline resources. (One way we are preparing for continuous learning is by having a professional learning day (no school for students) on Monday, March 16.)

At the middle and high school levels, even though schools remain open, students who have CCS-issued laptops should make sure their laptop is fully charged. Students should also bring their laptop home at the conclusion of each school day, and have access to their charger at all times.

illustration of wifi hotspotWe have a number of free wifi hotspots available for check-out to households that do not presently have wifi. These hotspots are available for check-out via school libraries at CHS, Buford, and Walker — one per household. Stay tuned for details.

Would We Close Individual Schools or the Whole School Division?

Would We Close Individual Schools or the Whole School Division?

We would close the entire school division. Due to the small nature of Charlottesville and the number of siblings we have at multiple schools, closing one location would not make sense.

What if Students/Staff Show Symptoms at School?

What if a Student or Staff Member Shows Symptoms of Respiratory Illness at School?

Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should stay home and contact their health care provider.

Students or staff who become ill during the school day should visit the school nurse for evaluation. If a fever is present,  we will contact the family and the student/staff member will go home.

  • Telephone hotline operated by the Virginia Department of Health: 877-ASK-VDH3.
  • Telephone hotline number for the local health department:  434-972-6261.

Are School Visitors and Volunteers Allowed?

Are School Visitors  and Volunteers Allowed?

We have suspended our volunteer programs (including  practicum students and interns). Student teachers will remain. 

Are There Special Protocols for New Students/Staff?

Are There Special Protocols for New Students/Staff?

Any new students or staff members  from Level 3 countries or areas highly impacted by coronavirus will be processed according to guidelines from the health department.

Questions about Students/Staff and their Families

What Should My Family Do?

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).
  • Please prepare for no school on the day of Monday, March 16. In addition, please prepare for the possibility that schools may need to close for days or weeks.  If we need to close for an extended period, we would work with our staff and our community partners to address online or at-home learning plans and connect families with resources such as food and wifi hot spots to support learning.
  • Consider your spring break travel plans carefully. If your family travels to a Level 3 country or high-impact area, you will be asked to stay home for 14 days following your return. Areas of concern  are subject to expand based on health department guidance.
  • 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.)

 CDC poster about stopping germs (see list in text)Guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health:

  • 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. 

When Should Students/Staff Stay Home?

When Should Students/Staff Stay Home?

  • Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should stay home and contact their health care provider.
  • Anyone who has a household member who BOTH is exhibiting the above symptoms AND has likely been exposed to coronavirus.

Other signs a student or staff member should stay home include:

  • There is fever of 100 degrees or more in the last 24 hours
  • There is nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea in the last 24 hours
  • Your child has red, itchy, draining eyes
  • It is a young child having trouble managing respiratory secretions
  • Your child has a contagious disease. No child with a suspected communicable disease, including pertussis, ringworm, impetigo, lice, or conjunctivitis, is permitted to remain in school. In order to return to school, the principal/nurse may require written notice that the student has received adequate treatment.

What if a Student/Staff Member May Have Been Exposed to Coronavirus?

What if a Student/Staff Member May Have Been Exposed to Coronavirus?


If a student or staff member
has recently returned from areas where coronavirus cases have been identified, they should contact the school and stay home  until it has been 14 days since they left the area. If they are symptom-free at that point, they can return to school with no limits.

  • Telephone hotline operated by the Virginia Department of Health: 877-ASK-VDH3.
  • Telephone hotline number for the local health department:  434-972-6261.

What if a Household Member May Have Been Exposed to Coronavirus?

What if a Household Member May Have Been Exposed to Coronavirus?

Example: if a parent has traveled on business to an area impacted by coronavirus.

  • If a student/staff’s household member displays symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing),  all members of the household should self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • If a household member may have been exposed, but no one in the household displays symptoms, there are no limitations for the staff member or student to attend school, although we would ask the traveler to stay away from schools for the 14 day period.  Further questions may be addressed to the health department hotline (434-972-6219).

If you have concerns that a family member or a student might have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19 either through travel or some other means, contact the local health department hotline at 434-972-6219 for further guidance.

  • Telephone hotline operated by the Virginia Department of Health: 877-ASK-VDH3.
  • Telephone hotline number for the local health department:  434-972-6261.

What about Students/Staff Who are at Higher Risk?

What about Students/Staff Who are at Higher Risk?

We recognize that some students and staff have underlying health conditions that might raise their risk. We encourage you to check with your primary care physician and school nurse so that we can be supportive.

What if My Family Travels Over Spring Break?

What if My Family Travels Over Spring Break?

Consider your spring break travel plans carefully. If your family travels to a Level 3 country or highly impacted travel area, you will be asked to stay home for 14 days following your return. This guidance is subject to expand based on guidance from the health department.

What if a Student or Staff Member is Advised to Stay Home on Quarantine?

What if a Student or Staff Member is Advised to Stay Home on Quarantine?

Schools should make every effort to help these students maintain their schoolwork. Teachers can provide assignments and study materials to allow the student to complete work from home.

Similarly, staff should stay home when sick or when placed on self-quarantine. Please report these absences as usual and maintain communication with your supervisor.

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.

You can edit these settings and update your contact information by logging into PowerSchool. (Find instructions here.)

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 (doej1@charlottesvilleschools.org). You can also find instructions about how to manage the settings.

How Do I Explain Coronavirus to My Child?

How Do I Explain Coronavirus or COVID-19 to My Child?

You can remind your child (and yourself) that:

  • COVID-19 is similar to other illnesses  that Americans experience such as the flu.
  • Children are generally experiencing mild symptoms.
  • Your family has a plan to take care (including washing hands, covering coughs, etc.).
  • Our community has a plan.

Other Questions

I’ve Heard That Some Communities Have Had Bullying and Discrimination Towards Asians. What Can We Do?

I’ve Heard That Some Communities Have Had Bullying and Discrimination Towards Asians. What Can We Do?

It’s important for students, staff, and parents to separate facts from fear. Guard against stigma by knowing the facts and only getting information from reliable sources. There are a lot of things on social media and in the news that are not rooted in science and are offensive, demeaning, and racist. Encourage everyone to keep their attention on the facts. Contact your school if you have specific concerns about bullying or bias. For questions about exclusion of students or staff who have traveled or their family members, or if someone self-reports travel or illness, contact the health district (434-972-6219 or 434-972-6261).

What About Facilities Rentals for the Schools and the Performing Arts Center?

What About Facilities Rentals for the Schools and the Performing Arts Center?

Following Sunday, March 15, we will end facility rentals until further notice. We are sorry for the inconvenience and challenge that this presents.

What Will We Be Told if a Student or Staff Member Becomes Sick?

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 any related communications to parents or school staff. All such communications should be coordinated with the health department.

How Can I Suggest a Topic or Correction for this Page?

How can I Suggest a Topic or Correction for this Page?

Email cheukb1@charlottesvilleschools.org 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.

How Can I Learn More about Coronavirus (Nationally or Locally)?

How Can I  Learn More about Coronavirus (Nationally or Locally)?

If you have questions about your child’s attendance at school, please contact the school directly.

Links and a local and state hotline are below. You can also turn to your health-care provider for specific questions or reach out to the  Thomas Jefferson Area Health District hotline at  434-972-6261.

  • Information on coronavirus from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
    • This includes information on how the disease spreads, the latest numbers of American diagnoses, and more.
  • Travel recommendations from the CDC
  • Virginia coronavirus information from the Virginia Department of Health
  • Telephone hotline operated by the Virginia Department of Health: 877-ASK-VDH3.
  • Telephone hotline number for the local health department:  434-972-6261.