Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020
Virginia's Return to School Plan (Updated July 6, 2020)
Governor Ralph Northam has announced a phased reopening of K-12 schools, which gradually permits in-person instruction to resume while prioritizing the health and safety of students and staff. In order to minimize the disparate impacts closures have had on students, this approach prioritizes the needs of students who have been most impacted by school building closures, and for whom in-person instruction is most beneficial. It simultaneously recognizes the disruption closures have had on all students and seeks to bring them back to the classroom as soon as is safe and practicable. Read Governor Northam's June 9, 2020 News Release for additional information including:
- Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools (UPDATED: July 6, 2020)-This is a PDF document.
- Virginia Department of Health - K-12 Resources
Notifying VDOE of Substantive Division-Level Operational Changes throughout the 2020-2021 School Year
Per an order of the Public Health Commissioner-This is a PDF document., before entering Phase II or III, every public and private school in Virginia was required to submit to the VDOE a plan outlining their strategies for mitigating public health risk of COVID-19 and complying with CDC and VDH recommendations. Additionally, every public school division was required to submit a plan for providing new instruction to all students in the 2020-2021 academic year, regardless of its operational status. These instructional plans are required to be posted on division’s website.
Now that Divisions have submitted the requisite health and instructional plans for reopening during the 2020-2021 school year, the Department of Education is streamlining the process by which updates can be made if/when public school divisions change modality.
School divisions are asked to notify the VDOE of substantive changes to their operations and instructional modalities throughout the 2020-2021 school year via a simple online form. A PDF version of the form is also available.
Notification should be submitted when the Division plans to effectuate changes in instructional modality for one or more grade levels or student groups for more than 4 weeks. Divisions will be asked to upload revised health and instructional plans as part of this submission.
This form should not be used to notify the VDOE of temporary closures related to known or suspected COVID-19 cases.
For reference, previous forms and templates for health and instructional plans are listed below:
- Phase III Health Plan Guidance/ Template Document-This is a Word document.
- Preview of the Public School Phase III Health Plan Submission Form-This is a PDF document.
- Phase III health plan submission form for public school divisions
- Phase III health plan submission form for private schools
- Preview of the Private School Phase III Health Plan Submission Form-This is a PDF document.
Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020-This is a PDF document. is a guiding document for Virginia school divisions developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in preparation for schools reopening. It addresses all facets of school operations and includes key questions, embedded links to resources, and recommendations for school leaders within the reopening parameters set forth by our Governor. Hundreds of hours have been devoted to its creation by caring and committed stakeholders who understand the critical role schools have in a healthy community. This includes the Return to School Recovery Task Force, the Accreditation Task Force and the Continuity of Learning (C4L) Task Force. The guidance provided is designed to assist school divisions in developing successful reopening plans.
Refer to School Reopening Frequently Asked Questions for the Virginia Department of Eduction’s related guidance, which is aligned with the interim CDC guidance for schools and serves as a recommendation for Virginia schools to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19.
Watch the video to learn more about the guidance document guidance combines the recommendations of four advisory committees convened by the Virginia Department of Education.
Inequitable access to technology, learning supports and resources will disproportionately impact many students, especially those who have historically been marginalized. Our commitment to mitigating these impacts and providing an equitable system of public education is unwavering. As planning begins for the reopening of schools, centering equity must be foundational to the development of a return to school plan.
The Centering Equity-This is a PDF document. section provides guidance for division and school leaders to facilitate planning that centers equity:
- Ensuring Equity-This is a PDF document. – highlights critical issues to address throughout the development of reopening plans
- Equity Strategies-This is a PDF document. – includes recommendations for consideration to ensure stakeholders and their needs are met in the planning process
- Equity Audit-This is a PDF document. – provides a decision guide that facilitates centering equity in return to school plans
Phased Reopening of Virginia's Schools
Virginia has announced a phased reopening of K12 schools, which gradually permits in-person instruction to resume while prioritizing the health and safety of students and staff. In order to minimize the disparate impacts closures have had on students, this approach prioritizes the needs of students who have been most impacted by school building closures, and for whom in-person instruction is most beneficial. It simultaneously recognizes the disruption closures have had on all students and seeks to bring them back to the classroom as soon as is safe and practicable.
The Phased Reopening of Virginia's Schools-This is a PDF document.section provides key resources for decision makers as local plans for reopening are developed including:
The phased reopening of Virginia’s schools will require divisions to conduct operations very differently to protect the health of staff and students while public health risks of COVID-19 persist. Many factors will need to be considered to ensure that each phase of reopening is successful. While school leaders have a great deal of local autonomy, their plans must comply with the specifics of the Phase Guidance for Schools.
The School Operations-This is a PDF document. section includes guiding questions for school leaders to assess relative to the facets of operational issues including:
- Health and Safety Procedures-This is a PDF document. – provides specific strategies for addressing student and staff needs, as well as, guidance relative to establishing procedures
- Information about Daily Health Screenings – Sample School Health Screening Guidance-This is a Word document., and sample Entrance Questionnaire Forms in English-This is a Word document. and Spanish-This is a Word document.
- Facilities, Schedules and Transportation-This is a PDF document. – includes guidance on:
- developing physical and social distancing protocols;
- providing options for schedules;
- establishing procedures for cleaning and sanitation of facilities;
- managing transportation issues;
- addressing technology hardware and software matters and school nutrition needs; and
- determining parameters for before and after school programs and athletics/extracurricular activities.
- Finance and Budget-This is a PDF document.
- Communications-This is a PDF document.
- Human Resources-This is a PDF document.
VDOE has also prepared graphics illustrating 3 and 6 feet of physical distancing on buses and in classrooms.
Student & Staff Supports
In addition to prioritizing the health and safety of students and staff as school buildings reopen, the social emotional well-being of students, their families and school division staff must be a top priority for division school leaders. Division plans which provide a variety of flexible policies and supports across a range of student and staff needs are critical for successful recovery plans.
The Student and Staff Supports-This is a PDF document. section provides guidance in several areas including:
- Well-being of Staff-This is a PDF document. – provides guidance for policies and mental health supports
- Supports for Students-This is a PDF document. – highlights key factors in social and emotional learning, addressing needs of vulnerable student groups, and reviewing school discipline protocols.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has released their Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Roadmap for Reopening School-This is a PDF document. (July, 2020). This document provides resources and information to support the return to school with equity-focused SEL strategies centered on relationships and built on the existing strengths of a school community.
Governor Northam’s plan for phased reopening in Virginia’s school buildings allows gradual in-person instructional opportunities for students as public health conditions permit. As students return to school, school divisions may need to make adjustments to their school days, school calendars, and instructional delivery to meet the needs of students and requirements on building capacity and social distancing.
The Instruction-This is a PDF document. section describes considerations in a number of areas including:
- Requiring New Instruction-This is a PDF document. – describes requirements for school divisions as outlined in the Code of Virginia
- Planning and Preparing for Instruction and Assessment-This is a PDF document. – includes ideas on:
- assessing the instructional needs of students as they return to school; and
- revising curricula and pacing to address missing content.
- Teaching, Monitoring, and Reflecting-This is a PDF document. – includes ideas on:
- delivering instruction in a variety of format (face-to-face, remote, and hybrid);
- designing instruction for different content areas;
- serving special student populations; and
- teaching and learning with social distancing measures.
- Using Virtual Virginia (VVA)-This is a PDF document. – describes how VVA can be used to deliver content, either through VVA’s menu of online courses, by introducing a school division’s own content into VVA for online delivery, or downloading VVA content into the school division’s Learning Management System
- Setting up a Digital Learning Program-This is a PDF document. – offers ideas to consider when setting up a digital learning program, procuring learning devices, and implementing precautions for cyber security
- Interim COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Performing Arts Programs-This is a PDF document.
- Virginia Science Instruction Guidance for In-person and At- home Learning Environments-This is a Word document.
Parent & Family Resources
The first priority for school division consideration when returning to school following the COVID-19 school closure is to keep families and students safe. School divisions can do this by ensuring that parents have access to resources that will provide them the most up-to-date information on what the expectations are when schools are permitted to reopen.
- COVID-19: A Parent Guide for School-Age Children – A “one-stop” resource for parents to access information by bringing all of the COVID-19 resources specific to parents together in one place. Resources on the document include links to general information about COVID-19, frequently asked questions related to special education services, social and emotional/mental health, nutrition, managing behaviors at home, assisting your child with distance learning, etc. The web page is also available in Spanish: COVID-19: Una Guía para Padres de Niños en Edad Escolar.
- What Families of Students with Disabilities Need to Know-This is a PDF document.
- COVID-19 Guidelines for Military Families-This is a Word document.
- Social Emotional Wellness Considerations for Parents and Caregivers-This is a Word document.
- Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers
Waivers & Policy Changes
Governor Northam’s Executive Order Fifty-One-This is a PDF document. (EO51) declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and authorized heads of executive branch agencies to waive any state requirement or regulation on behalf of its regulatory board. Subsequently, Chapter 1283 and Chapter 1289 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly gave the Superintendent of Public Instruction the additional authority to grant temporary flexibility or waivers for certain deadlines and requirements in the Code of Virginia and Appropriation Act that could not be met for school years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 due to the state of emergency and resulting school closures.
With this authority, the Superintendent of Public Instruction provided a number of waivers and relief measures for state-level mandates that could not be resolved through existing pathways or flexibilities and where inaction would have caused irrevocable harm to students, families, and teachers. The Waivers & Policy-This is a PDF document. section describes several areas where a significant number of waivers and relief measures were granted:
Due to the impact of school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, school accreditation for the 2020-2021 academic year based on data from 2019-2020 will be waived. The accreditation rating assigned to all public schools for 2020-2021 will be “Accreditation Waived.”
The Superintendent of Public Instruction convened a School Accreditation Task Force-This is a PDF document. to recommend changes to the 2021-2022 accreditation calculations to mitigate the lack of assessment data from spring 2020. In particular, the task force was asked to consider how to account for the student growth in reading and mathematics and the English Learner progress components of the combined rate. The work of the Accreditation Task Force is intended to inform recommendations to the accreditation process for the 2021-2022 school year.