Families Letter

Good evening, VBCPS families and staff-

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The School Board of the City of Virginia Beach held a special workshop this past Tuesday to further discuss the vote they took in the early morning hours of Jan. 13 regarding an adjusted schedule for the return of Option 1 students to classrooms. Following that conversation, we are well on our way to welcoming those students back to in-person learning during the week of Feb. 1.

In this letter:

  • Board plan for Option 1 students return
  • Requests for changing options
  • General notification of cases in VBCPS buildings
  • Update on vaccinations for employees
  • VBCPS athletics update
  • Feb. 1 staff day
  • Extended deadlines for academy program applications
  • Register now: Black History Program Feb. 6
  • Work for VBCPS
  • Work for Virginia Beach Department of Public Health

Intent to return Option 1 students week of Feb. 1
As explained last week, face-to-face instruction will resume once the division reaches two key goals regarding COVID-19:

1) Meeting each of the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control recommended health and safety mitigations, which are

  • consistent and correct use of masks,
  • maximum social distancing possible,
  • effective hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette,
  • cleaning and disinfection, and
  • contact tracing with local health department.

VBCPS is currently able to meet all but the final requirement, and the VBDPH will inform us as to their ability to effectively contact trace in the community if our students return to our buildings. We are working closely with them to find resources that will bolster their contact tracing, so any school cases are not burdensome to their efforts. (Please see below about ways you might help)

2) A reduction in the percent positivity rate for the Eastern Region over seven days. As of yesterday, we have met that goal.

Therefore, assuming that we continue to be on track to achieve the first goal, students whose parents have chosen in-person instruction will return to class, based on the following schedule:

  • Week of Feb. 1 – pre-K, kindergarten, grades 1 through 6, designated special education groups
  • Week of Feb. 22 – grades 7-8, and 9-12, including ATC/TCE

While schedules will remain the same for pre-K – sixth grade students, all others will return to school on the hybrid model used earlier this year, including current ninth graders.

Requests for changing options for instruction
The second term/semester begins Feb. 2. As has been stated before, if you feel that a change in option would benefit your child, please notify your principal in writing – email is fine – as soon as possible. This will allow school staff to review all requests against seat availability in both Option 1 (in-person instruction) and Option 2 (virtual instruction). Please understand that while we will do our best to accommodate requests, not all shifts between options may be possible depending on space and staffing—and that changes may necessitate a teacher or schedule change.

All families will be notified by Wednesday, Jan. 27, of their learning environment placement for second semester/term.

Notification of COVID cases in VBCPS buildings
Please bookmark our dashboard for information regarding confirmed COVID-19 cases in our buildings. It will be updated every Monday through Friday by 4:30 p.m. and will reflect the most current data available based on contact tracing from the previous 24 hours. Weekend cases will be added by Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Individual school communities (staff, parent and guardians) will receive a general notification letter when a case is confirmed in their building and will be directed to check that dashboard for specifics regarding dates of possible exposure and quarantine.

Again, close contacts will always hear directly from the VBDPH or VBCPS health services. If you are not contacted by the health department or VBCPS health services, you are not considered to be a close contact and there is a low-to-no risk of transmission.

Update on schedule for employee vaccination
As part of Phase 1b, COVID-19 vaccinations are now being given to VBCPS employees as they become available. Please understand the school division is not responsible for the availability or administration of the vaccine. VBCPS is providing names of employees who have requested the vaccine to the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH), which is using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) for registration, scheduling, and delivery of the vaccine.

Within the group of people who will be vaccinated during Phase 1b, priority is given to those staff members who are at a greater risk of exposure to the virus due to the nature of their work. At this time, the names of every employee who has requested to receive the vaccine have been submitted to the VBDPH. These employees are being contacted by the CDC to set up appointments to receive the vaccination.

VBCPS athletics update
In consultation with VBCPS leadership and health staff, the Virginia Beach Middle School League (VBMSL) has made the difficult decision to cancel Season 2 VBMSL interscholastic activities, which include wrestling, volleyball and debate. A decision on Seasons 3 and 4 will be made later.

At this time, high school sports will continue as scheduled.

Feb. 1 is a staff day
On the VBCPS calendar, Feb. 1 is marked a staff day. This coincides with the end of the first semester/term Jan. 29 and the beginning of the second semester/term Feb. 2. While Mondays are asynchronous on the current schedule anyway, our teachers do need a day to close out grades and prepare for new courses and in-person instruction, so there will not be any student assignments Feb. 1.

Application deadline reminders
For grade 1 families, Old Donation School Full-time Intellectual Program applications are due Feb. 17.

For grade 10 families, the Environmental Studies Program applications are due Feb. 19.

Black History Program: Reflection on a Legacy: Building for the Present through Persistence, Perseverance and Pride
Black History Initiative
VBCPS students in grades 6-12, parents and guardians, staff and community members! Register now for the 2021 Black History Program, Feb. 6., from 9 a.m. to noon via Zoom. This Black history initiative is an opportunity to enlighten and prepare all participants with resources to apply the lived experience of others to their personal reflection and understanding. This program will also feature roundtable sessions focused on supporting our students, parents and local communities. The keynote speaker will be Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse.

Work for VBCPS
Safe Schools Coordinator
Join the VBCPS Safe Schools team in their mission of fostering a safe environment for all to succeed.

The selected candidate will collaborate with departments and schools to promote best practices for a safe school environment. Apply by Jan. 29!

Work for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health
As we continue to partner with the VBDPH to ensure that robust and optimum contact tracing is available to support our efforts to open schools, please note that the VBDPH is seeking qualified epidemiologists, contact tracers and case investigators. The job descriptions for each of these roles are attached to this message. Resumes and questions can be addressed to their epidemiologist, Anna Barringer, or their human resource coordinator, Charlene Turner.

Thank you for your support of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Please stay safe.