Virginia Beach schools superintendent sends message to families about remainder of semester

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence sent the following message below to families on Thursday night as an update on the remainder of the school year.

This comes after the governor announced on Monday all K-12 schools would be closed through the end of the school year amid the spread of the coronavirus.

“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.

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

– Dr. Aaron Spence

To view the full statement from Spence and get more details on the changes, visit the website for Virginia Beach Public Schools.

Calendar Changes and Spring Break

  • The School Board voted to change the 2019-2020 school calendar and extend the third quarter through April 24. The fourth quarter will now start on April 27.
  • Monday, April 6, will be shifted to a new schedule where teachers will be participating in professional development each Monday, and students will have access to their teachers from Tuesday through Friday only for the remainder of the school year.
  • The Spring Break holiday will stay as-is.

Continuity of Learning Shift to Virtual Instruction

  • The learning plan will be in effect until April 24. This plan will transition to a virtual learning model starting on April 27.

Grading

  • For the third quarter, grades will be calculated based on a student’s grade as of March 13. 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.
  • Decisions about how grading will be handled for the fourth quarter marking period are forthcoming.

Virtual Virginia, AP and IB Testing, and Dual Enrollment

  • 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.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) has announced that their exams will be canceled.
  • 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.

Graduation Requirements

  • Seniors and their parents have questions regarding graduation requirements. VBPS will have wide flexibility to make sure that 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.
  • If your child is not on track, VBPS will do everything possible to get them where they need to be so they can graduate with the Class of 2020.
  • If you have more questions about graduation requirements, email your child’s school counselor and/or an administrator.

Milestone Events

  • Some of the major concerns are the milestone moments in seniors’ lives. Until an understanding of what guidance on large gatherings from the state and the CDC, as well as the timeframe for that, VBPS simply can’t commit to anything. Spence says it is the intention to do something for graduation that is both memorable and safe.

School Building Access

  • School and administrative buildings remain closed to the general public.
  • 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.

Medications and Treatment Supplies Pickup

  • A parent or guardian may pick up remaining medications and treatment supplies from their child’s school clinic on Tuesday and Wednesday beginning March 31 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A photo ID will be required.

Food Services

  • As long as the division is 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.
  • 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, it can be exchanged for a similar device at any of the schools currently serving as food distribution sites.
  • For more information please visit the VBPS website.

Enrollment and Kindergarten Registration

  • If you need to enroll your student for the current school year, please call the helpline at (757) 263-1111 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Resources

  • Social and emotional resources are available online.

Staying Healthy

  • VBPS encourages families 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.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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