York County to shift to all-virtual learning after Thanksgiving, winter break; grades 7-12 could return in January


YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — York County Public Schools will temporarily shift to an all-virtual learning model in the week following Thanksgiving and winter break.

Those are November 30-December 4 and January 4-8.

Superintendent Dr. Victor Shandor said in a statement the move to shift learning online after breaks comes in response to an upward trend in coronavirus cases, and the potential for spikes after holiday gatherings.

“Since first releasing our Return to School Plan in July, the division has been deliberative in our approach to resuming a traditional school setting,” Shandor said. “We continuously analyze and respond to health and operational metrics that prioritize a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff. I am proud of the efforts our team has made in these areas, as our mitigation strategies – physical distancing, face masks, hand washing, cleaning and contact tracing – have proven effective in the time our staff and students have been in our elementary and middle schools and our operational complexes. However, cases are rising across the country and while York County and Virginia may not be at the level of other areas, we too are facing an upward trend. As cases increase, contact tracing and effective quarantine procedures are essential to keeping schools open.”

The division was reporting 11 active cases of coronavirus as of Monday on its COVID-19 dashboard.

Employees will still be asked to report to work on-site during these weeks, and are required to complete the division’s Daily Health Screening

While we are committed to moving forward, we must also remain flexible. We have stated numerous times that our Return to School plan is a living document and it may become necessary to move between the models,” Shandor said. “If that happens, we will work to provide as much notice to our families and staff as we can. I encourage families and staff to be prepared for that possibility.​
Finally, as we take time to rest and recharge this week, please remember to practice healthy and safe habits.”

Shandor also says grades 7-12, which are currently virtual, could possibly start in-person learning in January.

Here’s the current plan:

November 30Staff report 4 days in-person to prepare for shift to Hybrid;
All students temporarily learn in Remote Model​
December 7-18Grades PreK-6; EL and self-contained resume Hybrid Model
January 4All staff report 4 days in-person; students temporarily learn in Remote Model
January 11Grades PreK-6; EL and self-contained resume Hybrid Model
Grades 7,8,9 or 12 could possibly begin Hybrid Model*
January 19Grades 7,8, 9 or 12 could possibly begin Hybrid Model*
February 1Remaining grades could possibly begin Hybrid Model

Other school districts are weighing whether or not to switch to all-virtual learning as coronavirus cases increase. Chesapeake Schools voted Monday to keep schools open despite an uptick in cases there. Though there have been cases reported at schools throughout Hampton Roads, school officials and health experts have emphasized there’s been few direct links between reopening school and new cases.

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