December 2020 News and Highlights

December 2020 News & Highlights header

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Staff and Families:

At Thursday night’s Board meeting, during the discussion of plans for offering in-person instruction, several revised plans and timelines were discussed. These new plans address both the rising COVID numbers in our area and feedback from the Board and community that they would like to maintain the structure and success of our virtual model, especially at Buford and CHS (where a hybrid model had initially been proposed). These revised plans are also informed by community input from families who would be willing to remain online if it would enable the schools to safely offer in-person instruction for those who most need it.

Return to Learn square graphicBriefly, the updated plans call for:

  • A return to in-person instruction for those preK-grade 2 students who selected it, with a tentative return date of January 19.
  • A return to in-person instruction would be offered for students in grades 3-12 who are most in need (for example, ESL students, special education students, or students who have been struggling with attendance, engagement, socially-emotional well-being, or other.  This plan is tentatively scheduled to begin January 19 (grades 3-6) and February 1 (grades 7-12).
  • At Buford and CHS, the plans for in-person instruction have now been redesigned to maintain the current structures for virtual learning. For example, at CHS, in-person students would receive in-person support during teachers’ morning office hours. (Office hours will also remain available for virtual students).
  • As COVID numbers improve, we would look at the possibility of returning more students to in-person learning. Again, as another example at CHS, one possibility is to use Fridays to offer events for students whose classes benefit from hands-on activities such as urban gardening, engineering, or fine arts.
  • Finally, to allow teachers to set up their classrooms and prepare to shift modes, each school would have one fully asynchronous week during January (timed at the principal’s discretion).
  • Schools will be in touch with families of students in grades 3-12 to give clarity about whether students would have an immediate option for in-person learning. For any families of preK-grade 2 students who need to make a change in their selection based on these revised plans, please contact your school. 

The Board unanimously approved these updated plans. Even so, at the Board’s next meeting on January 7, Board members will review area health data and may revise these timelines accordingly. To learn more about these plans, you can review the slides presented at the Board meeting or watch the Board meeting video.

Additionally, here is related news coverage for your reference.

As we head into winter break, I want to wish you all Season’s Greetings for safe and joyful holidays.

Happy Holidays,

Dr. Rosa Atkins


Winter Break Food Resources for Families

Winter Break food resources graphic

During winter break, December 21, 2020 through January 1, 2021, Charlottesville City Schools nutrition staff will be taking a break from their usual meal preparation and distribution efforts.

In their place, Cultivate Charlottesville, along with a multitude of community partners, will be providing food access resources for families throughout the break. Please visit to find the best food options for your family. Coming up on Monday, December 21, student meals will be distributed at various sites.  Our website also includes a number of City of Charlottesville Food Resources (English).

winter holiday student meal delivery on Monday, December 21

COVID-19 Testing Sites

COVID-19 Testing Sites graphic

The Virginia Health Department is hosting free COVID-19 testing sites hosted by TJHD and other community agencies. Note: These sites are offering free COVID PCR testing (nasal swab). TJHD and UVA are not offering antibody testing at community test sites.  Please visit the VHD website for more details on testing and a complete list of testing sites available. Questions? Call TJHD’s COVID-19 hotline at 434-972-6261 (staffed M-F 8am-4:30pm) or email at

Second Response to Essential Needs Extravaganza Event provides necessities to community

Volunteer distributes bags of items at Response to Essential Needs event.

Our Cville Schools community came together for our second Response to Essential Needs Drive Through Extravaganza in December at CHS. Thanks to the Chris Long Foundation and the United Way of Greater Charlottesville for your generous support. We were able to provide necessities like hygiene items, clothing, coats, and books to families and students in need.


Holiday Cheer from the CHS Fine Arts programs

Need some help getting into the holiday spirit? Watch and listen to a few festive performances from our talented CHS students!


Three students win STEM camp scholarships and laptops

STEM camp scholarship and laptop winners

Two local companies, Innovative Software Solutions and WillowTree, partnered for a fundraiser to provide STEM summer camp scholarships and brand new laptops to three CHS Engineering students.  Congratulations to the deserving recipients: Hope George, Miriam Sadat, and Aniyah Moore!  Engineering teacher Matt Shields accompanied reps from the two companies to deliver the surprise to the girls’ homes.

See the news coverage here.


News You Can Use: Blue Ridge Health Department Updates

TJHD flyer for celebrating safely this holiday season (English)

TJHD celebrating safely flyer (Spanish)

icon of calendar Calendar by MRK from the Noun ProjectUpcoming Dates:

  • Winter Break, December 21, 2020 – January 1, 2021 – Happy Holidays!
  • School Board Meeting, January 7, 5pm
  • School Health Advisory Board Meeting (SHAB), January 12, 4pm
  • Models for School Security: A Public Conversation, January 12, 6pm
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 18, no school
  • Last Day of Second Quarter, January 29

Follow School Calendars

School Board Updates graphicSchool Board Updates

At the December 17  School Board meeting, the Board voted to approve the revised plans for returning to in-person instruction contingent upon a review of health data on January 7. In addition, the Board is in the process of developing a 2021-22 budget.

Follow School Board


In Case You Missed It

Day of Play Recap


Charlottesville City Schools held its first ever division-wide Day of Play for city schools staff, students, and their families on December 5. We had more than 400 videos and photos submitted from those who participated.

Thanks to the generous support of the Public Education Fund of Charlottesville-Albemarle (PEFCA), we awarded 28 lucky winners with raffle prizes valued at $2500!  For a complete list of winners, visit

Also, many thanks to the volunteers and staff who donated their time and expertise to create the activities. A special thank you goes to staff members Jessica Brantley, Paula Culver-Dickinson, and Linda Humphries for their roles in planning and executing this fun event for all.

Happy Holidays to all of our Charlottesville City Schools staff, students, and families!