Maintaining a Safe Learning Space

VBCPS offers our students in-person instruction, five days a week.

It’s a primary goal that we maintain a safe learning environment for our students, teachers, staff and families. That’s why we’re hoping you’ll join us as we continue to #VBSafeTogether. 

Please come back often to this webpage for the latest information on VBCPS’ commitment to safety, access to resources and guidance from national and regional health officials, and suggestions for how you can partner with us to keep our classrooms and community healthy.

Masking

Face coverings are optional for VBCPS staff, students and visitors, with the exception of those who are experiencing symptoms or are within an isolation or quarantine period.

Employees whose job duties include providing medical care or other services to students or staff who are known to have or suspected to have COVID-19 must still wear masks when performing those duties. Optional masking will not apply if a student becomes ill while in school and needs to go to the nurse’s office.

Other layers of our prevention strategy, which are reviewed and approved by the Virgina Beach Department of Public Health, include:

Encouraging vaccination
Using the self-screening tool and staying home when sick
Physical distancing where possible
Maximizing use of outdoor spaces
Increased ventilation by opening windows when possible

Masking guidance:

Vaccination

According to the CDC and VDH, vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and the most important thing we can do to keep our schools safe and open all year.

For more information on the vaccine including where to get vaccinated, visit the VDH COVID-19 vaccine webpage.

Physical Distancing

Much in the way handwashing has become routine for basic hygiene and for preventing the spread of gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory etiquette and social distancing are proven strategies for preventing the spread of respiratory diseases. So, while official restrictions on personal space have relaxed, being aware of social proximity to others is still encouraged as an ongoing habit.

School Building Visitors

We are pleased to welcome volunteers and visitors back into school buildings.

If you are interested in volunteering in our schools, please visit our Family and Community Engagement webpage.

Cleaning

VBCPS will be returning to routine cleaning protocols and using enhanced cleaning protocols only when needed in consultation with VBDPH to address specific problem areas. CDC guidance states that “in general, cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove potential virus that may be on surfaces."

Transportation

Masks are optional for students and staff while on VBCPS transportation vehicles. When weather permits, windows will be lowered for ventilation. School buses will be disinfected with a CDC-approved disinfectant after the morning and afternoon routes.

 

Food Services

VBCPS provides free breakfast and lunch meals for ALL students. Food Services is operating under the National School Lunch Program’s (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO). This program will be in effect for the entire 2021-22 school year.

Virtual students can pick up their daily meals at any school site. As was done last school year, the designated pickup site will be clearly marked. Due to limited staff and in order to keep from interfering with regular meal service, meals must be picked up between:

9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. at elementary sites,
10 a.m. - 11 a.m. at middle school sites, and
8 a.m. - 10 a.m. at high schools.
Should a parent need an alternate time, they should contact the school manager and make arrangements. Updates and current details can be found on the Office of Food Services website.

A la carte items will be available for purchase should your school decide to allow a la carte service. Payments for a la carte items can be made via the SchoolCafé online platform.

Parents should continue to submit Free and Reduced Price meal applications to maintain eligibility in our Point of Service system and to establish eligibility for other benefits for the 2021-22 school year. Most parents (95%) currently submit applications through their SchoolCafé online accounts, but new school year paper applications were sent to schools before the start of school. Applications are available online at www.schoolcafe.com

Since many parents use their benefits acceptance letter to qualify for reduced prices on afterschool care, reduced cable and/or insurance bills, etc., they must have a current school year processed application on file for an award letter to be generated.

Questions should be directed to the Office of Food Services at 263-1101 or by e-mail to [email protected].

Ventilation and Opening Windows

Ventilation and HVAC systems will continue to be maintained to ensure that they function as designed. When conditions permit, windows will be opened to help circulate air. VBCPS intends to outfit classrooms, clinics and isolation rooms in school buildings with portable air filtration units containing High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.

Screening for COVID-19, Staying Home When Sick

It’s extremely important that students and families are vigilant about screening for illness before coming to school. Any student who is ill or presents with COVID-like symptoms should stay home. 

Contact Tracing and Quarantining

Contact tracing efforts by VBDPH and our Health Services team have been modified as the approach to the virus continues to evolve. At this time, we are focusing on following up with known positive cases and with families and staff who have reached out and are seeking guidance because they have tested positive for COVID-19, are symptomatic, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19.

For guidance related to vaccinations, testing, quarantine and isolation, please visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/. 

We will continue to have isolation rooms available at all school buildings.

Monitoring Metrics

To guide decisions regarding the level of layered prevention strategies, the VDH recommends localities monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks.
There are two measures that are recommended to monitor the level of community transmission:
Virginia Beach’s total number of new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days, and the percentage of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) that are positive in the last 7 days. 

Table of metrics information for VDH guidelines 

As of August 10, 2021, Virginia Beach was in the high transmission range for the total number of new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days, and the substantial range for percent of NAATs that were positive in the past 7 days. As the year progresses, we will continue to work with the VBDPH to assess, move forward, and remove layers of mitigation when it is safe to do so. Find the Virginia Department of Health metrics here.

 

Sports and Extracurricular Offerings

Schools are permitted to field varsity, junior varsity, and middle school sports teams as well as extracurricular activities such as debate team, clubs etc. following proper safety mitigations.

Students may participate in outdoor recess and outdoor physical education activities unmasked. In both indoor and outdoor recess/PE settings, students should sanitize hands before and after using any shared equipment.

Recess and PE equipment, including playground equipment, should be sanitized daily.

Locker rooms may be used as needed.

For more information on specific extracurricular activities at the school level, please reach out to your child’s school.
 

Facility Use Requests

As part of our COVID prevention strategy to begin the 2021-2022 school year, VBCPS will not approve any further indoor facility use requests except those that occur after students and staff (custodians excluded) have exited the building.  Facility Use Requests that conflict with extracurricular activities and other partner programing (Parks and Recreation programs like KidzQuest and RISE, for example) will also be disapproved.  
 
VBCPS will honor currently approved Facility Use Requests and intends to only restrict future approvals.  As you know, we continue to monitor the spread of the virus and may reevaluate currently approved requests if there is an increased risk to schools.  Similarly, when risk has decreased to an acceptable level, this layer of prevention may be relaxed.