Admin

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Haga clic aquí para ver este mensaje en español

Good evening VBCPS families-

Hard to believe that our original two-week closure is about to come to an end. What we had hoped would be a brief pause in the academic year has instead turned into a complete shift in the way we all have to think about our children’s care and education during this health emergency. I know I speak for all here at VBCPS when I say that we are so humbled and grateful for your kindness, patience and encouragement as we have worked to keep students fed and engaged in their learning.

Now that Governor Ralph Northam has ordered all Virginia K-12 schools to be closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year, the uncertainty of the length of closure is over, and there’s a certain power in that knowledge. Now we know what we have to do. Of course, there are many, many questions, but now we can move forward. We must take the lessons we’ve learned these past weeks, sustain that momentum and build on it. Our job is to educate this city’s children. That has not changed. How we do it is what is rapidly evolving.

I know you’ve got questions about how that evolution will look, and I promise to keep you apprised of our decisions as we keep charting this new territory. I’ve started Deskside Chats, closed- captioned videos that we are sharing every Tuesday and Thursday on YouTube, where I tackle a few questions and provide some updates. Feel free to submit your questions here. We’re also keeping our website current at www.vbschools.com/COVID19.

Below, you will find important information, updates and reminders that I believe will be helpful to you as we head into next week.

Calendar Changes and Spring Break

Last night, the School Board voted to change the 2019-2020 school calendar and extend the third quarter through April 24 in order to give administration time to sort through plans related to instruction during this extended closure. The fourth quarter will now start April 27. The primary reason for this extension of the third quarter is to make sure that we approach instruction and grading in the fourth quarter as thoughtfully as possible and give our teachers, parents and students time to adjust to any changes.

To that end, we will be shifting Monday, April 6, to a new schedule where teachers will be participating in professional development each Monday, and students will therefore have access to their teachers from Tuesday through Friday only. This will continue for the remainder of the school year.

The Spring Break holiday will stay as is.

Continuity of Learning Shift to Virtual Instruction

Our continuity of learning plan will be in effect until April 24, so we ask you to stay the course and continue #VBAlwaysLearning as you have been over the last two weeks. This plan will transition to a virtual learning model starting April 27.

You may be wondering why we would do this. Why move to a more comprehensive virtual learning model and not just keep doing what we are doing? One of the things we absolutely must do based on federal and state guidance is continue instruction. At the state level, for the purposes of granting credits and promoting children to the next grade level, we have been given clear guidance from VDOE that students must still show mastery of learning standards in each content area. Students must demonstrate, and we must be able to document, that those objectives have been addressed through instruction.

That’s why for now it’s so important that our students continue with learning activities, no matter what grade level they are in. To be clear, all students need to continue to complete and submit coursework assigned by their teachers in order to be able to move on to the next grade level and, for high school students, to get the credits required to graduate. That is also why we also ask families to reach out if they are having difficulty doing this. Please know that we have reiterated and expect that administrators and teachers operate with flexibility and are understanding during this time. We absolutely intend to support our students and families and to ensure that students are able to move forward with their education this year and into the next.

More information on this transition to virtual learning is forthcoming.

Grading

For the third quarter, grades will be calculated based on a student’s grade as of March 13. That said, students also can improve their third quarter grade by completing missing assignments and assessments that would have normally been allowed had the quarter continued with schools open. Details on that will follow from our teachers and principals.

Decisions about how grading will be handled for the fourth quarter marking period are forthcoming.

Virtual Virginia, AP and IB Testing, and Dual Enrollment

Students who are in a Virtual Virginia online course should follow the directions given by their instructor regarding expectations for work and grading.

For students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, the College Board has announced that students will be able to take their AP exams online at home and has provided preparation materials that AP teachers have access to. It is our expectation that AP teachers continue to work with their students to prepare them for these exams. Please reach out to your AP teacher if you have questions.

international Baccalaureate (IB) has announced that their exams will be canceled. These students should adhere to the guidelines for learning and work completion being shared with all students.

Regarding dual enrollment at Tidewater Community College (TCC), if students are receiving instruction by a VBCPS teacher as part of the dual enrollment program, they should adhere to the guidelines for learning and work completion being shared with all students. However, students in dual enrollment programs who receive instruction from a TCC instructor will continue to have graded assignments that need to be completed on the timeline their TCC instructors lay out for them, per TCC requirements.

Graduation Requirements

We understand our seniors and their parents have questions regarding graduation requirements. The good news is we will have wide flexibility to make sure that our current seniors graduate, as long as they are in the classes they already need to meet standard or advanced diploma requirements, and were on track to graduate as of March 13. That’s why it’s so important for our seniors to make sure they are working with their teachers during this third quarter to ensure their grades are on track for graduation and that they continue to demonstrate they are learning. Doing so will allow us to grant our seniors the credits needed to graduate. If your child is not on track, we will do everything possible to get them where they need to be so they can graduate with the Class of 2020.

Our seniors might also be wondering about how they fulfill all the other graduation requirements, like the financial literacy, CPR or verified credit requirements, if they haven’t already done so. While this information is still evolving, what I want you to know is that we have been given wide latitude by the state to waive these requirements and those that are required by law are likely to be addressed by the General Assembly shortly. Again, I want all our seniors to know that we are going to do everything we can do to make sure that they will still receive their diploma. Our high school staff will be working with each student and family to make sure they understand their current status and what they need to do to graduate.

If you have more questions about graduation requirements, please email your child’s school counselor and/or administrator.

Milestone Events

Some of the major concerns we are hearing about are the milestone moments in our seniors’ lives. I wish I had better answers for you about things like prom and graduation, but I don’t right now. Until we understand what guidance we might get on large gatherings from the state and the CDC, as well as the timeframe for that, we simply can’t commit to anything. I can say it is our intention to do something for graduation that is both memorable and safe. We have teams looking at options, and as soon as I hear more, we will share that information.

School Building Access

Our school and administrative buildings remain closed to the general public. However, to allow for essential school functions to continue, all schools will be open Tuesday and Wednesday beginning March 31. Parents who need to pick up their child’s personal belongings or complete enrollments and withdrawals may do so by appointment only Tuesday or Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Should you have this need, please email your principal to arrange for this. Social distancing of 6 feet will be followed during this process. Please do not bring children or come to the school if you are ill.

Medications and Treatment Supplies Pickup

A parent (or designated adult verified by note or phone call) may pick up remaining medications and treatment supplies from their child’s school clinic on the following dates: Tuesday and Wednesday beginning March 31 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A photo ID will be required. Social distancing of 6 feet will be followed during this process. Please do not bring children or come to the school if you are ill.

Food Services

As long as we are able, meals will continue to be offered to all students without charge at the school and neighborhood sites listed below. All students can receive their meals at any of the 36 schools and five neighborhoods where this service is offered.

To maintain the safety guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), meals are provided using a drive by/pickup model. They are bagged and include both a breakfast and lunch. To maintain proper social distancing, meal bags will be placed on a table at the pickup site and our servers will step back so that you can grab your bags while maintaining a safe distance.

Children must be present to receive food services. Meals will be provided on weekdays from 9 a.m. – noon.

Technology, Internet Access and Password Issues

If you are having problems with a broken Chromebook, we can exchange it for a similar device at any of the schools currently serving as food distribution sites. The complete list is also posted on our website. Please wipe the device with a disinfectant and bring the device and charger to one of those sites between 9 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday. A VBCPS employee will inventory the broken device and provide a replacement.

If students are having difficulty with their Chromebooks, or if you need options for internet connectivity, contact the Department of Technology (DoT) Help Desk at (757) 263-1111 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or fill out this form.

For those families who have already completed the form or called DoT to request assistance, please know that wireless hotspots have been ordered and are expected to be delivered in the next several days. DoT staff will contact families once these hotspots are available for distribution.

If you are having issues with your student’s password, please call the Department of Technology (DoT) Help Desk at (757) 263-1111 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for assistance.

Please note this phone number will not be answered during Spring Break.

Enrollment and Kindergarten Registration

If you need to enroll your student for the current school year, please call our help line at (757) 263-1111 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and we will get you to the right person to help you. Please note this phone number will not be answered during Spring Break. If you need to enroll your child for the 2020-21 school year, including a rising kindergarten student, please click on this LINK to begin the registration process online and a member of your child’s zoned school will follow-up with you when our schools reopen.

Resources

We continue to add information to our vbschools.com/COVID19 website, including resources around Social and Emotional Learning. Here are a couple of great reads to get you started:

Manage Anxiety and Stress

How To Prepare for Extended School Closure and Not Lose Your Mind

Staying Healthy

We encourage your family to follow the CDC guidelines for keeping safe and minimizing the spread of COVID-19. “Social distancing” means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others whenever possible. Medical questions may be directed to the VDH Hotline: 877-275-8343 (877-ASK-VDH3).

Again, thank you for your patience and flexibility, and as always, thank you for your support of Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

Aaron Spence Ed.D.
Superintendent

#VBAlwaysLearning