Coronavirus Updates graphic

Online Learning for the First Quarter of the 2020-21 Year

Updated: July 31, 2020 

Back to School sign with covid safe text - education concept.This landing page will answer your questions about Charlottesville City Schools’ coronavirus closure  and reopening plans and point you to other school resources. We are continually updating this page to respond to new information. Need translation? See video below. ¿Necesitas traducción? Ver video a continuación. هل تحتاج إلى ترجمة؟ انظر الفيديو أدناه.

Related Resources:

Charlottesville City Schools Messages to Families

 

 

 

7/31/2020 Update on Fall Learning Plan

Dear Staff and Families:

Thursday night, the School Board voted to approve the revised calendar and an online learning plan for the first nine weeks of the fall. We — and the Board — recognize that this raises challenges and concerns for many of you, and we are working to make our offerings as supportive and meaningful as possible. We will provide additional information to you as plans become more firm.

Message to Families 7/31: Superintendent’s Recommendation for Re-Opening

7/29/2020 Letter from Superintendent: Recommendation for Re-Opening Plan

Dear staff and families–

As you know, on Thursday at 5pm, our School Board will meet*, and they will vote on our revised calendar (with a proposed start date of September 8) and our plan for how to open the school year.

As you also know, we have been wrestling with these complex decisions and have put forth a number of plans. Through our surveys, we know there is no clear consensus among families about the best path forward. 

After much thought, listening to teachers and the community, staff planning, consultation with public health experts, and more, we are recommending to the Board that Charlottesville City Schools open all-online for the first nine weeks of the year. We recommend that we revisit this decision mid-way through the first quarter to see if we can confidently resume face-to-face learning.

We know that if the Board approves this recommendation to move online for the first quarter, it will raise concerns for many of you. 

  • For those who need child care during your working hours, we have reached out to community partners to begin mapping resources.
  • For those who had a bad experience with online learning this spring, we have spent the summer researching best practices and we have already opened our professional learning class to staff so teachers can make the fall a much more positive and productive experience than our emergency learning in the spring.
  • For those who are worried about the mental wellness of your students, our fall plans incorporate social-emotional learning, community building, peer-to-peer engagement, and more. We are bringing in new resources and will soon be asking you about your family’s needs so that we can support you. Our teachers are already working on ways to make connections and build relationships with you and your students.
  • For those advocating for those students in need of meals, tech support, or other supports, we will continue and enhance the ways we have been meeting the needs of our community.

We know that as we re-evaluate quarter-by-quarter, any decision to offer a face-to-face option will raise other concerns.

  • For those wondering whether school safety protocols can successfully contain the virus, know that we will continue to watch American and international school reopenings so that we can modify our plans in accordance with best practices.
  • For those who want state or national guidelines to help us decide matters such as when to reopen or close, know that we are advocating for those tools.
  • For those who have practical questions about how to effectively resume face-to-face education while social distancing, again, we will be watching sister school divisions closely to keep learning and adjusting.
  • For households with special health risks for COVID-19, know that we will work with staff and families.

In short, we know you have concerns. We share those concerns. And for the time being, with cases rising in our nation and area, with a higher-than-recommended positivity rate in our area, and with many unanswered questions about how best to protect our staff and students, we have decided to put our efforts into online learning so we can make this first nine weeks rewarding and productive.

We are proud to be a diverse community. Sometimes we see that diversity in terms of race or ethnicity or life experiences. Today, we see that diversity in terms of our varying perspectives about how to best teach our children.

As always, diversity is a strength. Diverse opinions help us see and solve problems. Diverse strengths help us come together as one community to meet the needs of our students.

Thanks for your ongoing support and care. Thanks for continuing to partner with us for the future of our children and community.

Have a good evening, and take care.

Dr. Rosa Atkins
Superintendent

*For details on how to watch and participate in the School Board meeting on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 5 p.m., visit charlottesvilleschools.org/schoolboardmeeting

Message to Families 7/13: Draft Plan for Fall Learning and Survey

7/13/2020 Update on Fall Learning Plan, Proposed Revised Academic Calendar, and Request for Feedback: A Message from Dr. Atkins and the School Board

Dear staff and families–

We’re writing with an update and a request for additional feedback regarding our possible fall learning plans. We have heard a wide variety of opinions from our staff, families, and community, and we want to make sure we are hearing as many perspectives as possible as we work with public health experts, community partners, staff, and more to make a plan for the fall. As Dr. Atkins wrote to our staff last week, in a time such as this, there will be no perfect or risk-free plan, but together, we can find the “least imperfect” plan.

In addition to the learning plans, we are also proposing a Proposed academic calendar for the 2020-21 school year. Revised July 2, 2020. Call 245-2962 with questions.revised academic calendar with a delayed start date on September 8 (concluding on June 11) to allow us more time to plan for the reopening. This start date matches the one recently adopted by Albemarle County Public Schools.

We will briefly run through the fall learning options that we have primarily proposed or considered. All options will include the safety guidelines we discussed at the Board meeting this week, all options will return to traditional grading.

Instead of focusing on the details of each option, we’ll provide some of the pros and cons that we have considered and heard. Then on Tuesday evening, we’ll follow up with a brief  phone survey that we hope you will take. In addition, we have posted a Google  survey on our web site that goes a little deeper and gives an opportunity for comments, suggestions, and explanations. You are welcome and encouraged to take both surveys, but of course you can also choose one or the other.

Plan A: Face-to-Face – K-6 4 Days/Week

Graphic showing revised fall learning plan AThis is the plan we presented prior to the July 4 holiday, which gives K-6 students the option for 4 days/week face-to-face with teachers and peers, gives older students the option of 2 face-to-face days/week, and gives all students the option of online-only.

Pros

  • pros and cons by tezar tantular from the Noun ProjectEmphasizes face-to-face time for younger students for whom online learning is especially challenging.
  • Provides a stable weekly schedule and regular face-to-face contact with teachers and peers.
  • Historically, face-to-face school has been the “gold standard” of school experiences (with live instruction, interactions with peers, project-based learning and more).
  • Divides elementary students into small groups in their own classroom to prevent co-mingling (goal is 15 or fewer). 
  • Minimizes the need for out-of-school childcare to reduce the co-mingling of students
  • Allows face-to-face elementary teachers to focus on their small cohort without also managing an online cohort.
  • Would follow health and safety protocols and guidance from state and local health departments.
  • Gives families the option to choose face-to-face or online.
  • We have heard that a significant number of families will choose online-only. If this is the case, the face-to-face program will become more manageable to run and the in-school staff can focus on families who most need face-to-face school, while other online-only teachers can concentrate on their distance learners. 
  • The strategy of creating  small classrooms has been put in place in countries like Denmark.

Cons

  • pros and cons by tezar tantular from the Noun ProjectEven at full health, this stretches school staff thin — staff members such as reading specialists or instructional assistants could be reassigned to the role of classroom teacher to reduce class sizes. 
  • The need for subs would be a challenge.
  • School in one room with social distancing would be different — more separation, less group work, fewer hands-on activities that all students can touch 
  • Grade 7-12 teachers would be managing both their Group A and Group B cohorts.
  • Finding ways to safely incorporate “specials” such as art and music at elementary schools is a challenge.
  • Despite safety and cleaning protocols, any face-to-face solution raises the risk of schools spreading coronavirus among students, staff, and families.
  • By focusing much of our planning on face-to-face learning in August, we may lose the opportunity to prepare for an excellent start to online learning.

Plan B: Face-to-Face: All Students 2 Days/Week

graphic showing revised learning plan bThis is the plan that we presented in June, which gives all students the option of 2 days/week face-to-face with teachers and classmates and gives all students the option of online-only.

Pros

  • pros and cons by tezar tantular from the Noun ProjectProvides a stable weekly schedule and regular face-to-face contact with teachers and peers
  • Historically, face-to-face school has been the “gold standard” of school experiences (with live instruction, interactions with peers, project-based learning and more).
  • Reduces class size by having 50% of the class (cohort A) attend 2 days/week and the other 50% (cohort B) attend on the other 2; all students have 1 day/week of online or distance learning.
  • Depending on how elementary schools implement this model, this plan may not stretch school staff as thin. But at least some schools are tentatively planning to follow a similar staffing approach as in the 4 day/week plan (assigning all students to small cohorts that might be led by a specialist, instructional assistant, or other instructional staff).
  • Would follow health and safety protocols and guidance from state and local health departments.
  • Gives families the option to choose face-to-face or online.
  • If a large number of families choose online-only, the face-to-face program becomes more manageable to run and can focus on families who need face-to-face school.
  • This is a commonly adopted approach across Virginia and the US.

Cons

  • pros and cons by tezar tantular from the Noun ProjectCreates a large childcare burden — 3 days/week are distance learning for all students.
  • Creates the risk of students co-mingling in varying groups when they are not in school, which might heighten the spread of the virus.
  • Teachers would be managing both Cohort A and Cohort B.
  • School in one room with social distancing would be different — more separation, less group work, fewer hands-on activities that all students can touch
  • Again, finding ways to safely incorporate “specials” such as music and art at elementary schools is a challenge.
  • Despite safety and cleaning protocols, any face-to-face solution raises the risk of schools spreading coronavirus among students, staff, and families.
  • By focusing much of our planning on face-to-face learning in August, we may lose the opportunity to prepare for an excellent start to online learning.

Plan C: Online For All Students

graphic showing revised learning plan CThis would be a better version of what we entered into on an emergency basis this spring. All students would engage with teachers and peers online. Again, grading for all 3 plans would revert to traditional grading.

Pros

  • pros and cons by tezar tantular from the Noun ProjectEliminates the risk that schools would be the center of a coronavirus outbreak.
  • Allows schools and teachers to focus on training for and developing the best possible online/distance learning experience using lessons learned this spring (maximizing “live” or “synchronous” instruction, interactions with peers, project-based learning and more).
  • All teachers would have just one type of instruction to plan for and manage.
  • Allows us to watch “early adopter” countries and school divisions open face-to-face so we can learn lessons about how to reopen later in the year while safeguarding staff, students, and the community.
  • Instead of reactively shifting to online only when/if cases spike, we will be prepared.
  • Distance learning has been widespread throughout the pandemic.

Cons

  • pros and cons by tezar tantular from the Noun ProjectCreates a large child care burden (all 5 days are distance learning for all students).
  • Creates the risk of students co-mingling in varying groups when they are not in school, which might heighten the spread of germs in our community.
  • Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, by minimizing the risk of at-school spread, we might grow the risk of academic slide, social isolation, and more.
  • Families reported inconsistent returns on our spring emergency learning efforts — as a division, we will need to learn lessons and improve outcomes to develop a “new and improved” online experience (maximizing “live” or “synchronous” instruction, interactions with peers, project-based learning and more).
  • If we only offer online learning, we would need to think outside the box for building relationships, encouraging collaboration, and developing hands-on learning.
  • Families would need additional supports for tech, internet connectivity, social connections, and more.

As you can tell, there is no perfect solution, and reasonable people will advocate for different approaches. There may yet be a different plan that is superior to all these!

One way of considering this decision is not to think about the entire school year. Obviously, the coronavirus situation is ever-changing, and we will follow all state and local health recommendations that might impact our operations and shift us toward less — or more — face-to-face engagement. Just last week, Governor Northam reminded us that if the state returns to Phase 2 given our recent uptick in cases, we would not be able to offer face-to-face classes as we have planned.

So as you consider these plans, you might focus on the opening of the school year.

  • WProposed Fall Learning Plans graphic showing revised plan A, B, and C.ould you rather open with as much face-to-face time as possible (plan A or B) to help us build relationships and routines before (if necessary) shifting to online-only?
  • Or would you rather us focus all our energy on making online-only the best experience possible, knowing that if conditions remain safe for face-to-face learning, we can shift over to an in-school plan?

That’s what we’d like to hear — from parents, students, staff, guardians, community members and more. You’ll receive the phone survey around 7pm on Tuesday (7/14). The web survey is already online here. As with last time, we will also use other tools to make sure we’ve heard as many perspectives as possible. Again, feel free to do both surveys.

Thank you, and have a good day.

–Rosa Atkins, Superintendent
–Jennifer McKeever, School Board Chair on behalf of the Charlottesville School Board

Link for Second Survey (July 13)

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Watch this video for instructions. ¿Necesita una traducción para la encuesta de fin de año? Mire este video para obtener instrucciones. هل تحتاج إلى ترجمة لمسح نهاية العام؟ شاهد هذا الفيديو للحصول على التعليمات.

7/2 Update on Fall Learning and Calendar

July 2: Update on Fall Learning and Calendar

Dear staff and families —

Thanks to so many of you for completing our feedback survey in response to our first draft learning plan. As we noted last week, in response, we have revisited our options and are bringing forward a new draft.

What We’ve Heard

icon--Safety by Milinda Courey from the Noun Project

You value safety (top priority)

 

Teacher icon - Teacher by Adrien Coquet from the Noun ProjectYou want clear and consistent learning structures (ranging from learning tools to the daily schedule)

 

Stay Connected icon - Community by Oksana Latysheva from the Noun ProjectYou’d like to stay connected with your school community    (teachers, friends, etc.)

 

Teacher icon - Teacher by Adrien Coquet from the Noun ProjectYou’d like more face-to-face learning days if possible, especially for younger students

 

icon student at computer - Computer by Adrien Coquet from the Noun ProjectYou’d like the flexibility to keep your child in school-supported full-time distance learning

 

Return to Learning Plan Available

Speaking to this top value of safety, we are finalizing our health plan, and you can find our detailed guidance document called “Return to School” here. The document doesn’t cover specifics like a school schedule, but it is our high-level plan for moving forward.

Revised Plan for Attendance and School Calendar

As we have been planning for the fall, we have stayed in contact with Albemarle County Public Schools. We know it is helpful when both school systems have similar calendars and plans.

Draft 2 of Attendance Options

Graphic showing draft learning plan for fall 2020 for elementary and secondary students. Information in graphic is below.

Kindergarten through Grade 6*

Elementary students K through grade six would have the option to attend school face-to-face four days a week (likely Monday-Thursday) with one day of at-home learning on Friday. Or families can choose school-supported full-time online learning.

Grade 7-12

Secondary students would have the option to attend school face-to-face two days a week with three days of at-home learning. Or families can choose school-supported full-time online learning.

*We will publish details about preschool plans later.

Draft revised calendar for the 2020-21 school year. Revised July 2, 2020. Call 245-2962 with questions. OCR PDF is also posed on this page.Academic Calendar 2020-21

To support these changes, we recommend delaying the start of school to September 8 (with an end date of June 11). No school holidays would be impacted, but we would shift all teacher workdays and professional learning days to the at-home learning day (likely Fridays). See draft calendar here.

Decision-Making Timeline

The School Board will be discussing (but not voting on) these matters at the next meeting on Monday, July 6 at 5pm. You can register to attend here or you can follow along on Facebook here. They will vote on this matter mid-month, on Thursday, July 16 at 5pm.

What to Expect This Fall

To support this plan and follow CDC guidance, we will be making changes such as the following:

  • Reducing the number of desks and people in a classroom (we are trying to form classrooms of 12 or fewer students for K-4, and 15 or fewer in grades 5+),
  • Limiting the number of students on a bus and working with the City and volunteers to create supports for students who walk or ride bikes,
  • Adjusting class schedules to limit hallway use and co-mingling of students. At the elementary level, this might mean serving meals in classrooms, having art/music in the home classroom, and more.
  • Requiring practices such as face masks and handwashing in ways that are developmentally appropriate.
  • Adding daily health checks for students and staff both at home prior to leaving and upon arrival at school.
  • Completing enhanced cleaning each day. We have upgraded equipment, practices, and air filters to promote safety.
  • Returning to more structured learning assignments and traditional grading.

We know you will have additional questions, and we will create and expand a Frequently Asked Questions section of our web site at charlottesvilleschools.org/coronavirus.

Ways you can help now

  1. Find alternate ways for your child to get to and from school. The fewer students on the bus, the more options we have for serving your child face-to-face.
  2. Consider volunteering with Safe Routes to School to help students in your neighborhood walk or ride bikes. Add your name & email to this list of possible volunteers.
  3. Complete your re-registration forms in PowerSchool to help us make plans for those who really do need bus transportation. Need login help? Call your school.
  4. Get your child caught up on vaccinations. This is especially true for rising K and 6th-grade students.
  5. Build a back-up network — if the virus returns in greater measure, we might need to scale back our plans or even revert to distance learning-only for some period.
  6. Sign up to help with summer meal deliveries. We need help on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Thanks so much for sharing ideas, words of encouragement, and offers for help. In the survey, you repeatedly reminded us that these are challenging days, there will be no perfect solutions, and we are in this together. Thank you for recognizing the complexity of this situation, and for partnering with us as we plan to come together in learning this fall.

Have a great holiday weekend and a wonderful Fourth of July!

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins
Superintendent

6/25 Meal Volunteers and Update on Fall Learning

Dear families:

We’re calling with two updates, one about summer meal volunteers and the other about our fall learning plan.

SUMMER MEALS
Please help! We still need volunteers (age 18 and older) to help with this summer’s meal deliveries on Mondays and Wednesdays. You can find the sign-up at charlottesvilleschools.org/food or go directly to the sign-up.

DRAFT FALL LEARNING PLAN
Thanks so much for sharing your feedback about our draft learning plan and your experiences with distance learning.

In response to your feedback, we are cancelling the June 29 Board Meeting to allow staff time to consider additional options for fall learning. As a reminder, all plans must be in compliance with state and CDC guidance, which is subject to change based on local, state, or national coronavirus conditions. We are also working with Albemarle County Public Schools to coordinate our planning as much as possible.

No matter what plan we choose, bus space will be very limited. It would be helpful if you could re-register your child in PowerSchool and let us know if you can arrange for your child to arrive and depart by foot, bike, or car.

The fall learning plan will be on the agenda at the Board’s next meeting on Monday, July 6 at 5pm.

Thanks again for sharing your feedback. We’ll keep you posted. Have a good evening.

Message to Families 6/12: Draft Plan for Fall Learning and Survey

Dear Staff and Families:

Earlier this week, we shared with you Virginia’s guidance for fall learning. Under these guidelines, Charlottesville City Schools could open under any of the following phases:

Virginia Phases for Education Plan flyer
Click on image for printable PDF

Phase 1: Distance learning* only with some exceptions for special education services

Phase 2: Distance learning for most students with some face-to-face learning for students learning English, receiving special education services, or enrolled in grades preK-3

Phase 3: A combination of distance learning and limited-size face-to-face learning for all students


*Distance learning is defined as students working away from school but with guidance from teachers. Students might use printed workbooks or materials provided online through platforms such as Seesaw and Canvas.


In all three phases:

  • Distance learning will remain a big part of our learning and teaching
  • Some families may choose to remain in full-time distance learning while still enrolled in our schools (and will be supported by our staff)
  • Following Virginia’s and the CDC’s guidance, there is no way that we can safely serve all of our students face-to-face 5 “regular” days a week.
  • We would follow cleaning and distancing guidelines in schools and on buses.

Charlottesville’s Draft Plan

At the 6/11 School Board meeting, Dr. Atkins presented a draft plan for the fall, which would be a Phase 3 opening. (You can find other options that we explored here.)

Under this recommended Phase 3 plan:

  • All students would go to school face-to-face 2 days a week and would engage in distance learning 3 days a week
  • Students in the same family would share a schedule (for example, all the kids in one family might attend school on Tuesday and Thursday and learn from home on M-W-F)
  • The schedule would remain the same each week
  • Families who choose to continue full-time distance learning can do so while enrolled in our schools (and will be supported by our staff)
  • If the virus worsens, we may need to return to a Phase 2 or Phase 1 situation

graphic showing a sample week of hybrid learning

 

Feedback about this Draft Plan

We know that you will have many questions and suggestions. While we have been planning for months, we just received the state guidance a few days ago, and we are combining the state and local plans now. We will communicate more details as soon as possible and as we do so, we will try to answer your questions and consider your suggestions.

For now, it would be very helpful if you could answer a survey to give us feedback about this draft plan and answer some questions about this spring. You can find the survey here. Thanks for your patience as we find new ways to help your students learn.

Need translation?

Watch this video for instructions. ¿Necesita una traducción para la encuesta de fin de año? Mire este video para obtener instrucciones. هل تحتاج إلى ترجمة لمسح نهاية العام؟ شاهد هذا الفيديو للحصول على التعليمات.

Message to Families 6/10: Governor Issues Updates for Fall

Dear Staff and Families —

We’re reaching out to let you know with a few updates and staffing and the fall.

First of all, we have announced several key administrative hires. You can find the details on our website. Talented people such as Jim Henderson are retiring, but we had a strong pool of applicants and are in a very good position moving forward.

Secondly, Governor Northam made an announcement yesterday relating to the reopening of Virginia schools this fall. We will briefly summarize the big ideas here.

Virginia Phases for Education Plan flyer
Click for printable PDF

Phase 1

Presently, throughout the spring, the state has been in Phase 1, with continued closures but with the possibility of face-to-face work with certain students with disabilities.

The state is now entering Phase 2 in most parts of Virginia, but the state’s guidance allows for individual school divisions to opt to keep Phase 1-level programming. Consequently, we do not anticipate that we will change any of our plans for the summer.

Phase 2

For schools, Phase 2 will allow (but does not require) the limited reopening of services focusing on students such as English language learners, those receiving special education services, those with special learning needs, and our youngest students (preK-grade 3). Phase 2 allows for staggered small-group face-to-face gatherings that still follow social distancing measures. In this phase, most students would be served by distance learning programs. Phase 2 also allows for resuming modified sports practices.

Phase 3

When we reach Phase 3, schools would be allowed to offer additional in-person instruction following the limits and guidelines that the state will issue. This would likely be a staggered approach allowing students to return to school in groups, perhaps taking turns to attend school one or two days a week. This would be a hybrid approach that will combine face-to-face and distance learning. Some age groups or families may need or choose to continue full-time distance learning. Phase 3 might be in place for August. Again, the possibilities that are outlined in Phase 3 are allowed but not required; some school divisions may decide to stay at Phase 2.

Beyond Phase 3 may become our “new normal” until the risks are significantly diminished, such as when a vaccine is developed and in widespread use. Of course, at any time, we may be required to return to an earlier phase to contain the virus. Individual school divisions may choose to stay in Phase 1 or 2 even as the state gives options for opening schools.

Coming Soon: Plans for Charlottesville

These announcements were not a surprise to us, and they complement the work that our planning committees have been developing this spring. We will overlay the state’s planning documents on ours to make sure that we are in compliance and following CDC recommendations. At that point, we will start posting possible scenarios for public feedback.

Coming Soon: Survey

As we consider Phase 2 and Phase 3 scenarios for the fall, we need to hear from our staff, families, and students. We are developing a survey that will help us understand your ideas and hear your feedback. If face-to-face instruction is allowed, would you want your family to participate, or would you prefer your child to continue remote learning? What parts of remote learning do you want to keep even when we resume face-to-face instruction? Could you provide your own transportation or encourage your child to walk/bike so that we can give limited school bus spaces to students who are in need?

While individual staff and families will answer such questions differently, we hope to be able to serve everyone better based on the responses.

We are using this closure as an opportunity to reconsider all elements of school so that we will reopen better than ever — even if that reopening looks very different than the schools that closed in March.

Do Now: Re-Register Your Child for Fall

Thanks in advance for your patience and for your help with the survey. We’ll be in touch shortly with the links you’ll need. As a reminder, our fall re-registration forms are open in PowerSchool. Completing this form for each returning student is one way you can help us prepare for the fall.

Thank you!

Message to Families 4/12: Reminder about Teaching New Material, Meals, and More

Dear Charlottesville City Schools staff and families–

We hope you enjoyed spring break. As a reminder, this week, we will begin offering new instruction. K-1 families will receive a printed workbook in the mail, and other students will access the curriculum online through programs such as Canvas, Google Classroom, or Clever. If your family does not have a computer or access to the internet AND you have not contacted your school, please do so.

To address questions you may have about online learning this spring, we have posted information on our web site at charlottesvilleschools.org/learningFAQ. One big idea is that we are deemphasizing grading at this time and shifting to a system similar to pass-fail. We will continue to provide constructive feedback as we focus on the key skills and concepts that our students need to be ready for the fall. This video explains how this new system of grading and learning will work.

Starting Monday, we will resume the school’s food deliveries. You can find the latest information for deliveries or volunteering at charlottesvilleschools.org/food.
Have a good day — we’re happy to prepare your students for next year. As we begin this new phase, remember to stay safe, stay connected, and keep learning.

Message to Families 4/2: Updates about Learning and Spring Break Meals

Dear Charlottesville staff and families,

We have a few updates about learning and about meals.

Our IT team has been busy helping families get computers and solve connectivity issues, and our teachers have been reaching out through phone, email, and online learning programs. If your student has not been able to connect with your teacher, please contact your school. We want to help your student continue learning. We have posted learning resources on our web site at charlottesvilleschools.org/learning. This week features more exploratory online activities as we continue to make contact with students and families.

Spring break is April 6-10. After that, we will begin teaching new curriculum, whether online or with printed materials that will be mailed to K and 1st-grade families. We will soon post information on our web site that addresses specific questions about our spring learning plan (see outline, below). Please be patient as we continue to receive ongoing guidance from the state that impacts these plans.

For meals: We have posted the volunteer sign-up sheet for the weeks following spring break.  Next week, our nutritional staff and school bus drivers will get a well-deserved break. But we encourage families in need to take advantage of services offered by groups such as Loaves and Fishes and the Charlottesville Food Justice Network. For details, see the flyer that came home with yesterday’s meals or visit charlottesvilleschools.org/food.

Have a good evening!

Message to Families 3/23: Schools Closed for Remainder of School Year

Dear Charlottesville Schools families and staff,

The Governor of Virginia has just announced the closure of Virginia schools for the remainder of the school year. The state will issue guidance about what this means for our continuity of instruction, the class of 2020, the role of schools in delivering meals to students, and many other issues. We will keep you informed as we learn more and make plans. Please take care and know that we are working together to serve our community in this unusual time.

Message to Families 3/22: Food and Learning Updates

Dear families,

What a week! If you’re like me, you’re still trying to process all that has happened.

In the past week, we have grappled with

  • the confirmation that the virus has arrived in our state and community, 
  • the sudden decision to close our schools,
  • the creation of a school meals delivery system that served more than 2,500 meals, 
  • the distribution of about 900 chromebooks to our 2nd- to 6th-grade students, and 
  • outlining a new framework for student engagement and learning.

I’m so proud of our teachers, principals, and staff as well as our community volunteers who have made these accomplishments possible, even as they have juggled responsibilities at home.

FOOD UPDATES
Let’s start with a brief update on food. Schools’ food deliveries this week are Monday and Wednesday only. Since we will be giving multiple day’s food at each visit, we recommend children bring an adult or backpack to help carry the extra food home. Delivery times/locations are the same but as we deliver more food, there may be route delays.  Volunteers are needed for this week. Learn more and sign up to help at charlottesvilleschools.org/food.

Let’s take a moment to thank our nutrition team and bus drivers for their incredible work and dedication! What important work they are doing!

LEARNING UPDATES
Now, let us turn our attention to learning. While we will await the governor’s guidance on when to re-open schools, we are making plans in case the closure extends beyond 3/27. Tomorrow the governor is expected to make an announcement.

NEW REALITIES
As we think about what learning will look like in case of an extended closure, let’s keep in mind that at home, work, and “school,” we are making new routines and finding new ways to meet our basic needs. We are still working to get supports such as chromebooks and wifi to households in need. We are working to empower our teachers to succeed in a new environment even as we recognize that they are also supporting their own families at home, particularly as illness arises (coronavirus or otherwise). In other words, this is new and complicated, and we will not immediately transform our vibrant schools into fully formed distance-learning counterparts.

NEXT STEPS FOR LEARNING
Having said that, we are committed to finding new ways to connect and engage with our students. Starting later this week, teachers will be reaching out to students to make connections and to map which students need additional supports to be part of a virtual community.

As we gain confidence online and extend resources as needed, we will ramp up our distance learning offerings. Along the way, we will make mistakes and learn — exactly what we expect our students to do. Let’s be patient and encouraging with one another — just as we expect of our teachers.

GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS FOR LEARNING
Our goal during this time is to maintain the relationship between our schools and our families and to encourage students to continue — and enjoy — learning. For the time being, learning resources are offered as suggestions for your family to help provide structure, maintain a connection to our schools, and foster continuous learning.  Work will not be graded. These activities are offered as a support, not a stressor. If our closure is extended beyond 3/27, we may formalize these arrangements. 

You will learn more from your schools and your teachers about what this will look like for your students, but as you await contact from your teacher, we’ve created a page to give you some basics to work with at charlottesvilleschools.org/learning.

CHALLENGES AHEAD
We have big questions to grapple with, such as:

  • How do we meet the needs of our most vulnerable learners?
  • How will we support our youngest students with at-home learning?
  • How will we prepare high school seniors for graduation and life after graduation?
  • Will we be able to sustain our model for food delivery if this situation continues or worsens?
  • We have many challenges and exciting opportunities. 

The good news is, we aren’t in this alone. We are following state guidance. For instance, the state is applying for a federal waiver from state SOL testing, and the state is issuing guidelines for seniors. Aside from the state, we are working with other school divisions. And remember, Charlottesville, we are a strong community.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?
There are many ways to help.

  • Take care of yourself and your family.
  • Consider volunteering. Presently, we need food delivery volunteers — even for tomorrow. A one-stop-shop for giving and getting help is supportcville.com.
  • Consider donating. The CACF is creating a school-based fund to support our food delivery efforts — stay tuned. And already, the CACF has created a general Charlottesville Emergency fund for the needs throughout our community.
  • Be patient as we continue to learn what works. If you have suggestions or concerns, please contact us directly. Constructive feedback is welcome, and we may miss a good idea if it is posted on social media instead of emailed to a staff member. 

You are doing your best. Although not seen by the public, our custodians and IT staff are doing their best. Our teachers will soon be doing their best (and we know just how good their best is!) Our nutrition staff, bus drivers, and volunteers are doing their best. Together, we all want what is best for the young people of Charlottesville.

With appreciation,
Dr. Rosa Atkins

Questions about Schools

Are the Schools Offering Meal Service?

Are the Schools Offering Meal Service During the Summer?

Yes. In partnership with Parks & Rec, meals will be provided throughout the summer. Learn more at charlottesvilleschools.org/food.

Are the Schools Offering Online or At-Home Learning?

Are the Schools Offering Online or At-Home Learning During the Summer?

No. During the summer, our schools are preparing for a hybrid plan of instruction that includes face-to-face and distance learning in the fall. We are gathering feedback now from the community through this survey (provide link). More information will be sent to families as our plan develops.

Can I Still Get a Chromebook, Charger, or WiFi Hotspot for My Home?

Can I Still Get a Chromebook, Charger, or WiFi Hotspot for My Home? 

If your family does not have a Chromebook or charger, please contact your school.

In addition, if your family has no internet access or has a data limit that presents a barrier to online school participation, please contact your school so we can help your family find a learning solution.

Why Are the Schools Closed?

Why Are the Schools Closed?

On Friday, March 13, Governor Northam announced the closure of all Virginia K-12 schools for at least two weeks, which was later extended to the rest of the school year.  Accordingly, we have cancelled face-to-face classes and activities and are offering distance learning opportunities. On June 10, the state released guidelines for returning to school in the fall.

Have Schools Cancelled Activities?

Questions about Students/Staff and their Families

What Should My Family Do?

  • Families should maintain the preparations they take for flu and colds.  This includes washing hands with soap (or hand sanitizer) frequently,  trying not to touch your face, covering coughs, and staying home when sick. (See guidelines, below from the Virginia Department of Health).
  • Thanks for your flexibility with this closure. Thanks also for your patience as we transition to a new learning system.
  • Make sure that your contact information is up-to-date with the schools for messages (calls/emails/texts). You can edit these settings and your contact information by logging into PowerSchool. (Find instructions here.)
  • Want to help or volunteer? See below.

 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. 

How Can My Family Help?

How Can My Family Help?

There are a number of  ways you can help.

How Do I Get Messages from the School?

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?

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?

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

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

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.

Where’s the Original Version of this Page?

Where’s the Original Version of this Page?

This page has been updated to focus on information relevant during our school closure. The original page can be found here.

Other Resources: