VBCPS - Charting the Course
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 07/29/20
News Release No. 002
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VBCPS School Board Approves
Reopening Plan Based on Health Metrics

At their July 28 meeting, the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach voted 8-3 to affirm the recommendations of the Fall 2020 Plan presented by Superintendent Dr. Aaron C. Spence as the school division continues to navigate what education will look like during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The early-morning vote followed more than seven hours of public comments and lengthy discussion that included members of the medical panel participating in a Q&A session with Board Members.

Given the current and concerning health indicators in Virginia Beach and the surrounding area, the school year will begin virtually for all students this September. However, guidelines were included in the plan for when students would begin returning to school. The plan is unique from others across the Commonwealth with its use of health metrics to determine when and how to more safely open schools.

"Our priority throughout this planning process, without question or reservation, is and will continue to be the health and safety of our students, staff and their families," said Spence in presenting the plan.

In keeping with the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), school administration sought advice from medical experts in the community who specialize in pediatrics, adult care, internal medicine, infectious diseases and emergency medicine. As detailed in the plan, the panel helped to create a color-coded set of health metrics to monitor the level of community transmission of COVID-19.

"We all are in agreement our children work best face-to-face and need to be in school. That said, I am pleased the school division has come to a decision that focuses on data-driven recommendations for when that can happen," said Spence. "This was not an easy decision but certainly affirms the careful and thoughtful planning that went into this recommendation."

The plan also provides choice for families. Parents will be asked in the coming days to select one of two options for their children. Option 1 provides in-person instruction when the health metrics indicate it's safer to do so, or parents may select Option 2 which ensures virtual instruction for their children through at least the first semester of the school year.

A Fall Registration Verification process will be shared with parents/legal guardians in the coming days through ParentVue, which will also include a verification of bus information. Families who require technology assistance or help with accessing their ParentVue account should call our Customer Support Center at 757-263-1111 (option 1).

Addressing concerns about virtual learning, Spence said that the Fall 2020 Plan is markedly different from the Emergency Learning Plan that was put in place during the previous academic year in that students will have additional live instruction, graded assignments, attendance taken and more.

"We are striving for this virtual setting to mimic, as closely as possible, a face-to-face school setting," he explained. "And, my team is not done with planning. We have many other topics to tackle in a short amount of time as we get closer to the September back-to-school date. We are thrilled we can now move forward with that work."

VBCPS is a fully-accredited school division, consisting of 55 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, 12 high schools and a number of secondary/post-secondary specialty centers. With nearly 67,000 students and roughly 14,000 employees, VBCPS is a diverse community that continues to outperform school divisions across the nation on key academic indicators.

For more information, please visit www.vbschools.com and the pages for VBCPS Fall 2020 Plan, VDH and the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health.

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Department of Media and Communications, vbcpsweb@vbschools.com

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