COVID-19: A Parent Guide for School-Aged Children
Along with many areas around the world, the Commonwealth of Virginia continues to experience an expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This virus can spread from person-to-person, and the number of diagnosed cases continues to grow. Accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available through theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) dedicated websites.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Parents should remain vigilant and observe their children for COVID-19 symptoms. If your child experiences these symptoms, do not send your child to school and contact your health care provider. Your doctor will decide if your child needs to be tested or be seen in person. Parents are encouraged to contact their doctor prior to an office visit in order to reduce viral transmission to others. For additional information on testing sites in your area, visit the Virginia COVID-19 Testing Sites.
Positively diagnosed or students exposed to COVID-19 will receive information from their health care provider regarding management of this condition.
Exposure to COVID-19
If you or your child have been in close contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19, follow VDH advice. The VDH recommends that you self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of the potential contact and monitor your health. For additional questions about staying home or monitoring your health, call 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343). If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when you are sick.
To prevent the spread in communities, the CDC recommends households protect themselves and others by social distancing, which means maintaining distance (about 6 feet) from others not in your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. If physical distancing of six feet is difficult to maintain, the CDC recommends the use of face coverings to reduce viral transmission between people. Although this can be challenging for children, the CDC offers parents tips and strategies for parents to encourage children to do so. Consider the following tips for social distancing when deciding to go out:
- Limit Contact When Running Essential Errands: Only visit stores selling household essentials in person when you absolutely need to. If possible, use drive-thru, curbside pick-up, or delivery services to limit face-to-face contact with others.
- Avoid Large Events and Gatherings: It is safest to avoid crowded places and gatherings where it may be difficult to stay at least six feet away from others who are not from your household.
- Choose Safe Personal and Social Activities: It is possible to stay socially connected with friends and family who don’t live in your home by calling, using video chat, or staying connected through social media. If meeting others in person (e.g., at small outdoor gatherings, yard or driveway gathering with a small group of friends or family members), stay at least six feet from others who are not from your household.
The American Psychological Association (APA) offersinformation about social distancing, the differences between quarantine and isolation, and ways to get the social support you need. For social distancing to be effective, parents are encouraged to limit playdates and activities to those where distance can be maintained from each other to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.
Health Mitigation During School Reopening
Now that all schools, public and private, have entered into Phase III of the Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools, the most pressing priority is ensuring that students and staff have a safe and healthy learning environment available to them when they return to in-person instruction during the 2020-2021 school year. The Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools has been updated to reflect the latest science, and the best public health guidance and recommendations available intended to reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in school settings. There is a lot of information and misinformation circulating about the transmission of COVID-19. The Virginia Depart of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) are committed to continuing to provide up to date information based on the latest research.
The Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools is aligned with the interim CDC Guidance for Schools, and serves as a recommendation for Virginia schools to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19. Public health conditions and practical limitations may inform decisions to deviate from the guidance. Resources such as the CDC Guidance for Schools may also be helpful to communities with no or minimal community transmission of COVID-19. This document reflects current guidance and recommendations intended to reduce, not eliminate, risk of transmission of COVID-19. Because COVID-19 is a novel disease, this literature is growing rapidly, and new information is emerging almost every day. This information is subject to change as more is learned about the prevention and control of COVID-19.
School Decision-Making During COVID-19
Many parents, caregivers, and guardians face new and difficult choices about how their child will return to school in the fall, such as deciding between in-person and virtual learning.
The School Decision-Making Tool for Parents from the CDC is designed to help parents, caregivers, and guardians weigh the risks and benefits of available educational options to help them make decisions about sending their child back to school. It is organized to provide parents and caregivers with:
- Information on COVID-19 and why safely reopening schools is so critical.
- Tools to:
- Help you assess your child’s and your family’s risk of COVID-19;
- Consider factors that will help you make a choice, if offered, of instructional format (e.g., virtual, in person, or a hybrid option); and
- Prepare for the school year, regardless of format.
Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers
For many families, back to school planning will look different this year than it has in previous years. Your school will have new policies in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You may also be starting the school year with virtual learning components. Whatever the situation, these Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers are intended to help plan and prepare for the upcoming school year.
Some of the changes in schools’ classroom attendance or structure may include:
- Cohorts: Dividing students and teachers into distinct groups that stay together throughout an entire school day during in-person classroom instruction. Schools may allow minimal or no interaction between cohorts (also sometimes referred to as pods).
- Hybrid: A mix of virtual learning and in-class learning. Hybrid options can apply a cohort approach to the in-class education provided.
- Virtual/at-home only: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
What Parents Can Expect from Schools
The VDOE has issued guidance to Virginia school divisions regarding COVID-19 via Superintendent’s memos, emails, webinars, and links to resources. These communications are available on the VDOE’s COVID-19 and Virginia Public Schools webpage. The Virginia Department of Education has also developed a comprehensive plan that moves Virginia’s learners and educators forward. 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. Parents and families can also refer to School Reopening Frequently Asked Questions for the VDOE’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.
Health Plans Required of All Public and Private Schools
Before entering Phase III, every school in Virginia, public or private, is required to submit to the VDOE a plan outlining their strategies for mitigating public health risk of COVID-19; per an Order of Public Health Emergency from the State Health Commissioner. The Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) will receive plans submitted by private schools accredited through a VCPE Approved State Recognized Accrediting Association. All private schools must submit health plans, regardless of affiliation with VCPE.
Notification of Intent to Vary from Phased Guidance
As part of the health mitigation plan submissions in Phase III, public school divisions should notify VDOE if they intend to vary from the phase guidance by deviating from the recommended health mitigation strategies. Private schools must submit their intent to vary to VCPE.
Health, Safety and Physical Distancing Recommendations
As outlined in the Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools, school divisions should notify VDOE of their intent to deviate from the recommended health mitigation strategies in this phase through the Phase III health plan submission form. Physical distancing and other measures will remain important prevention strategies. Schools should follow all guidance from the CDC to the greatest extent possible. The CDC advises that individuals maintain six feet of distance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that schools maintain a distance of at least one meter (approximately three feet) between everyone present at school, and is monitoring ongoing research. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says spacing as close as three feet may have similar benefits if students wear cloth face coverings and do not have symptoms of illness. Physical distancing is not limited to distance between children; physical distancing between adults is a key mitigation measure. In areas where the community transmission of COVID-19 is more substantial, distancing of at least six feet will need to be strongly considered; this guidance may be subject to change as we learn more. Therefore, in school settings, schools are encouraged to aim for six feet of physical distance to the greatest extent possible; however, if six feet of distance is not feasible (inclusive of buildings and school buses), schools should implement a combination of face coverings and a minimum of three feet distance between everyone present.
Additionally, physical distance should be created between children on school buses when possible (e.g., seat children one per seat, every other row, and/or staggered, aisles and windows) limiting capacity as needed to optimize distance between passengers. If three to six feet of distance cannot be maintained, wearing of face coverings is strongly encouraged and may help reduce disease transmission. Children (such as siblings) living together may sit together on the bus, and assign seating where possible. If possible given the age of students, weather conditions, etc. consider opening windows to improve ventilation.
- In addition to physical distancing, other distancing precautions should include, but are not limited to:
- Considering restricting mixing classes/groups of students.
- Considering closing or staggering the use of communal spaces.
- Considering limiting the size of groups participating in outdoor activities/recess, with a priority on physical distancing and limiting mixing of classrooms.
- Not encouraging large school gatherings and if gatherings are necessary, limiting participation to 250 people, per the large group gathering limitation in Phase III of the Forward Virginia blueprint.
Cleaning Recommendations for the Home
Family members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface following label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, including precautions when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure there is good ventilation during use of the product. The CDC provides additional guidance on home cleaning and disinfection of households.
Child Care for Essential Personnel
Parents and families who are in search of child care for essential personnel can find more information on the Child Care Aware website.
While social distancing is important to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is also resulting in limited work for some individuals and families, which can lead to financial insecurity. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has created a Guide to Coping in Hard Times, which helps parents understand how economic difficulties can affect their families, including their sense of safety, connectedness, and hope. Project HOPE-Virginia’sResources for Families in Crisis webpage contains resources for families experiencing a housing crisis or in need of food, as well as resources for other mental health and safety needs.
Virtual Learning Guidance
As school divisions across the Commonwealth of Virginia are planning for the re-opening of their schools for the 2020-2021 school year, most are developing plans that include some form of virtual learning, whether it be to offer only virtual instruction or a blending of in-person and virtual learning. Thus, it appears that virtual learning will be the dominant method of instruction for the foreseeable future. Therefore, a student with disabilities’ Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team must convene to discuss what is necessary to ensure that the student will receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE); to include determining if “in-person” instruction is appropriate given the individual student’s unique needs related to academic, functional, and behavior needs. Additionally, virtual instruction may be more appropriate for certain students who may be challenged with adherence to the strict social distancing and safety guidelines. As noted in the updated, as of July 1, 2020, Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools-This is a PDF document., students will only participate in “in-person” instruction if the student’s IEP Team agrees it is appropriate and the parent consents. It is also important to note that the student’s IEP Team must also determine if virtual learning will provide the student with FAPE and, if so, what special education and related services will be provided and what supports, modifications, and accommodations are necessary for the student to receive an educational benefit within the virtual environment. The parent must also provide consent for the virtual services outlined in the student’s IEP.
Planning for Virtual Learning
There is no disputing that the school closure created by the COVID-19 pandemic has placed stress upon families, educators, and students. Everyone was thrust into a virtual learning environment absent any advance notice and, as a result in many instances, no preparation. Without proper planning as we move to the reopening of schools, the stress of virtual learning will continue. Therefore, it is critical to ensure student success going forward starts with a well thought out plan that will meet the student’s needs. The information below is intended to provide families of students with disabilities with a means to identify ways in which they can work collaboratively with their student’s IEP Team to develop an IEP that will address the unique needs of the student whether receiving instruction in-person, virtually, or combination of both.
As with any relationship, the ability to work together in a collaborative manner is key to a successful outcome. That is not to say that everyone must agree with each other's opinions, thoughts, and offerings during discussions. Rather, all parties engaged in the conversation must remain respectful of one another and be willing to actively listen and respond appropriately within the conversation. IEP meetings can be intimidating, especially for parents new to the process. However, that should not deter a parent from being an active participant in the discussion that will ultimately impact on their child. Parents should reach out to inform their child’s IEP Team of their desire and ability to support their child’s ongoing learning; sharing information about resources currently available in the home and their child’s regular routines in the home.
Parental Input and Information
During the school closure, the virtual learning provided to students with disabilities was supervised and, in some instances provided, by parents. Therefore, parents have, in many instances, at their sole disposal, three months or more of educational data that they should present to the IEP Team for consideration in the development of their child’s IEP. The information that may be available might include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Resources available in the home that can be repurposed as teaching materials or manipulatives (e.g., books, toys, assistive technology, office or craft supplies, objects such as cookie pans, cotton balls, tweezers, beans, salt, food containers/lids).
- Current access to various technologies that could support home learning (e.g., computers, tablets, smart phones, internet and data plan, digital camera).
- Share what time(s) of day and type(s) of communication (e.g., virtual meeting, phone calls, email) are best for your family.
- Share how much time during the day/week your family has to devote to instruction (considering other family obligations/work, student medical needs/services, other instructional/related services, etc.).
- Share if your child is experiencing challenging behavior and the impact that virtual learning has on that behavior.
- Share your child’s current schedule and routine that is currently in place.
- Express any immediate needs that the school division can help address.
Review Student Needs and Identify Priorities
Any review of whether a student received services that provided educational benefit and needs going forward should begin with the review of the present level of performance, IEP goals and objectives, progress data, new evaluation results, and any information provided to the IEP Team from families. The IEP Team should Identify the critical skills that will best assist the student in continuing their progress and move them forward to mastery of goals. The following questions, although not all inclusive, may help you and your child’s IEP Team identify priorities.
- What IEP skills does this student most need to work on given the current learning environment?
- What skills, if strengthened now, would best position this student to continue progress on goals once traditional school resumes?
- What skills are critical for the student to maintain?
- Are there IEP skills or instructional strategies that were taught earlier in the year that can be revisited and/or revised to build performance fluency, promote generalization, and/or minimize regression?
Create and Communicate the Plan
Now that you have collaborated and shared your resources and needs and identified priorities for consideration by the IEP Team, it is time to identify the instructional delivery methods that need to be provided to meet student needs and ensure the provision of FAPE. This is most effectively accomplished through a collaborative IEP Team process with all required IEP Team members present. The IEP Team should consider a combination of methods to create an instructional program that will position the student to continue making progress going forward or to address continued or newly identified weaknesses. Any plan developed should be clearly articulated in the student’s IEP. Examples for instructional delivery options might include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Virtual learning platform assignments (e.g., watch videos, read online books, play web-based games, complete online documents).
- Video instruction (live or recorded).
- General instruction – academic activities or functional skills appropriate for your child (e.g., social skills lessons, movement activities, shared book reading).
- Individualized instruction – academic activities or functional skills related to your child’s student-specific goals/objectives.
- Strategies to prevent challenging behavior (e.g., first/then board, reinforcement breaks, use of choice, simple reward systems).
- Project-based activities (e.g., cooking, baking, gardening activities that incorporate academic and functional goals).
- Family consultation (e.g., phone, text, video calls, email), including modeling and training on how to use resources and materials.
- Instruction on building self-help and independence skills.
- Strategies that address understanding assignments and use of any equipment or assistive technology materials or tools.
- Implementation of checklists, visual supports, and/or visual schedules for functional tasks (e.g., complete daily routine, household chores, hygiene tasks, and other self-care/daily-living activities).
- Vocational skill assignments, when appropriate (e.g., pick out an interview outfit, complete mock interview with family member, complete applications).
- Scheduled opportunities for school staff to touch base with the student for relationship-building and socioemotional check-ins (e.g., telephone calls, video meetings, chat, or text communication with the student).
- Video modeling of hands-on tasks expected of the student.
- Incorporate monitoring methods that align with the assignments given to the student.
- Determine what evidence, such as checklists, permanent product uploads, videos, photos, student/parent report, or audio recordings, will support task completion and progress towards IEP goals.
Plan Implementation and Progress Monitor
Now that your child’s IEP has been developed with parental input and parental consent has been provided to implement the plan, you now need to monitor its implementation and communicate with your child’s IEP Team about any concerns. You should be evaluating whether you believe that the special education and related services are being provided at the frequency, duration, and location (virtual or in-person) as indicated in the IEP. In addition to the services, of equal importance is ensuring that the supports, accommodations, and modifications are being provided. To facilitate the monitoring process parents should:
- Maintain an open and collaborative line of communication with the IEP Team using phone calls, emails, etc.
- Reach out to the IEP Team as soon as possible after identifying a concern to have it address expeditiously.
- If you have questions regarding the goal of instruction or how it is delivered, ask for clarification and support as needed.
- Request that the IEP Team reconvene to adjust instruction, supports, modifications, and accommodations as needed should you suspect that your child is not making progress.
- If virtual learning or a particular format does not seem to be working for your child, let the IEP Team know and provide evidence (e.g., video or audio recordings of your child when engaging in virtual learning, written information from others who have observed your child, or a narrative summary of your observations).
- Document all communication attempts and the results.
Learning at Home
Parents and families can support students’ thinking and learning during extended virtual learning experiences by engaging in the following activities:
- Work with your local school division or educational provider to ensure understanding of the requirements and expectations for virtual learning.
- Collaborate with your child to organize the day to include time for learning, activities, and exercise.
- Read to and with your child. Ask questions and have conversations about what you have read together.
- Promote expressive communication by encouraging your child to request, make choices, label items, answer questions, and ask questions throughout the day. This can be verbally, with pictures, or with an Augmentative and Alternative Communication system.
- Take a walk and ask about what your child is seeing and about being a good citizen.
- Encourage critical thinking through cooking together or planting a garden.
- Encourage the use of mathematics in your child’s day.
- For young children, encourage play throughout the day. Join children’s play and support and expand their interactions with their siblings.
- Explore your child’s creativity through art, music, or dance.
- Expand your child’s vocabulary and language by labeling items and describing what you are doing (e.g., Mommy is going to make lunch. I am making a sandwich.).
- Encourage independence through self-help activities or preparing a meal.
- Schedule phone calls or video calls with friends and family for relationship building.
- Write a letter to a family member or friend or community hero.
- Be mindful of screen time and have alternatives for children to play outside.
- Listen to your child about his or her feelings and fears and offer comfort, honesty, and reassurance.
- Model and label your own emotions and provide action statements to model how you appropriately react to and express emotions. Provide your child examples of how to appropriately express his emotions.
VDOE Learning From Home Resources
When children are being taught at home; especially during periods of extended virtual learning, parents have the added stress of keeping their children from being bored or losing their learning. The VDOE has developed a resource, Activities and Learning at Home Resources-This is a PDF document., to provide ideas and tips for keeping kids active, engaged, and challenged at home.
The VDOE also encourages you to review resources provided by your local school division, public libraries, public media, civic and community groups, and other resources, including those found on the Department’s website like the VDOE For Families webpage. Additionally, resources, such as Activities for Kids While Schools Are Closed-This is a PDF document. and Free Audibles for Kids-This is a PDF document., can help keep children active and engaged. Tips and resources for parents and families to support learning at home are also available at the Be a Learning Hero website.
Schedules, Checklists, and Supports
TeacherVision and FamilyEducation has created At-Home Learning Resources for the COVID-19 Outbreak, designed to assist parents, caregivers, and educators in developing schedules and checklists to aid in structuring your child’s daily routines associated with virtual learning. This resource also provides free learning resources and materials, emotional support and stress management resources, daily movement and activity exercises, and reflection resources. The resources within this web site provide samples of the schedules and checklists for all grade levels between Kindergarten and eighth Grade, as well as the subject matter taught at the secondary level (i.e., Algebra, Geometry, Biology, and Chemistry).
The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute developed modules titled, Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times. The seven modules provide support strategies designed to meet the unique needs of families with children with autism. Examples and ready-made resources are included to help caregivers implement the strategies quickly and easily. The modules, while designed for children with autism, are appropriate for all other children as they provide valuable information on providing routines, developing coping skills, and minimizing challenging behavior.
Multilingual Learners and English Language Learners
The New York City Department of Education has created a resource, Multilingual Learners and English Language Learners, which is designed to assist students whose preferred language is not English. Resources include information on how to support your child’s learning at home, getting educational resources for your child while learning from home, using your electronic devices in your child’s preferred language, and getting e-books in different languages.
Students with Disabilities
Once schools reopen, the school must return to providing special education and related services to students with disabilities in accordance with the student’s IEP, or for students entitled to FAPE under Section 504, consistent with any plan developed to meet the requirements of Section 504. Additionally, after an extended closure, divisions are responsible for reviewing how the closure impacted the delivery of special education and related services to students eligible for special education services. Additional specific guidance will be provided to division-level special education directors.
- Instructional Resources Supporting Students with Disabilities
- Sustaining Inclusive Practices for Virtual Learning for Students with Disabilities
- Special Education Students After COVID-19 Key Considerations
- Virginia Department of Education Considerations for COVID Recovery Services for Students with Disabilities
Resources for Parents
Weekly Update Newsletter (GovDelivery)
The VDOE Department of Special Education and Student Services offers a weekly Engage Your Family Newsletter with information and resources especially for families of students with disabilities. To subscribe to this newsletter, go to the VDOE Subscriber Preferences webpage, and when prompted at step three, click “Information for Parents and Families.”
School Reopening Frequently Asked Questions
The VDOE continually addresses new questions from school personnel, parents, and other stakeholders that arise regarding the reopening schools through a School Reopening FAQ which is updated periodically as the need arises.
COVID-19 Family Resources
The COVID-19 Family Resources-This is a Word document. document provides a “one-stop” resource for parents to access information by bringing all of the COVID-19 resources specific to parents together in one place.
Guidance from the Department of Special Education & Student Services
The VDOE Special Education and Student Services Frequently Asked Questions document provides school divisions and stakeholders with information and solutions around the provision of services for special and student services.
The COVID-19 Guidelines for Military Families-This is a Word document. document was developed to assist school personnel on how to support military-connected students and their families during the pandemic.
Additional Resources for Families
Resources for Parents, Families and Caregivers provides additional resources for parents, families, and caregivers on an array of topics related to COVID-19 and school reopening.
The VDOE Resources for Families webpage includes information and resources for families about school enrollment, graduation requirements, school nutrition, special education, student records, and ways to stay involved in your child’s education. While the VDOE offers information and resources to families, local policies and practices may vary. Thus, families should always contact their local school or school board with concerns.
The VDOE has been awarded a waiver from the USDA to approve waivers to allow school divisions to provide meals in non-congregate settings due to COVID-19. Parents and families can find sites approved for meal service on the School Meal Finder website (this information is continually updated and additional details with their school division). Families can also text “food” or “comida” to 877-877 to learn more about food options near them.
Graduation Requirements, Credits, and Continuity of Learning
The VDOE has thoughtfully considered the impact on local school divisions and students as a result of extended school closures. Ultimately local school divisions will make decisions about exactly how learning is continued for students. The VDOE has issued Guidance on Graduation Requirements, Awarding of Credits, and Continuity of Learning that addresses students who graduated in the 2019-2020 school year, students enrolled in high school credit bearing courses graduating in 2020-2021 and after, and students in grades K-8 and students in preschool. This guidance focuses on alternative pathways to demonstrate learning and a focus on ensuring students are equitably prepared for success in subsequent courses.
It is important for schools to communicate behavioral expectations for students on school premises, on school buses, and in a virtual environment. Whether students are physically present in a school or on a school bus or present in a virtual classroom, the school’s behavioral expectations apply. Because social distancing and other safety precautions will require new behaviors for students, staff, and parents, it is important for everyone to understand any new expectations in addition to the previously published expectations in codes of student conduct. Schools are responsible for clearly stating, teaching, and reinforcing behavioral expectations. Families can help students understand the behavioral expectations. Discussing and reinforcing the school’s behavioral expectations helps all students learn in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning. Be sure to ask for updated behavioral expectations and help your student(s) understand them. Reinforce and support your student(s) in meeting the expectations and take time to teach the expectations when the student expresses difficulty or demonstrates challenges in meeting them.
Bullying and Harassment
COVID-19 is not at all connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. School staff should be mindful that bullying, intimidation, or harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, or disability (including the actual disability of being infected with COVID-19 or perception of being infected) may result in a violation of state and federal civil rights laws. School divisions must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate what occurred when responding to reports of bullying or harassment. If parents and families believe their child has experienced bullying, harassment, or intimidation related to the COVID-19 outbreak, they should contact the school principal or division superintendent. Parents can help their child prevent COVID-19 related stigma and racism.
Helping Your Child to be Resilient
Children may be anxious and, as such, will look to adults for guidance on concerns about COVID-19. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provide helpful resources for parents on talking to their children about COVID-19. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. Specific guidelines include:
- Provide a consistent schedule from day-to-day.
- Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible.
- Help your child plan and prepare for different instructional delivery models.
- Incorporate daily activities that improve the emotional health of your child such as taking walks, calling a friend, exploring online educational or cultural opportunities, or creating an art project.
- Model and label your own emotions and provide your child examples of how to appropriately express his emotions.
- Teach children to use a variety of strategies to calm down when they are angry or upset.
- Practice and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices.
- Be honest and accurate while remaining calm, easing fears, and reassuring for your child.
- Limit exposure to news and media stories that may be upsetting.
- Address any mental health needs your child may exhibit.
The CDC offers additional tips for managing stress and anxiety. Additional coronavirus resources and tips for parents, children, and others are available from Prevent Child Abuse America for staying connected, engaged as a family, and managing stress and anxiety. A quick reference for parents and families in supporting their child’s social emotional wellness is available at the Social and Emotional Wellness Considerations for Parents and Caregivers-This is a PDF document. webpage.
Federal and State Testing
On March 23, 2020, Governor Northam ordered all K-12 schools in Virginia to close for the remainder of the academic year as a response to the continued spread of COVID-19. As such, the administration of the spring 2020 SOL tests, the local scoring and score entry requirements for the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program, and the administration of the ACCESS for ELs assessment for English Learners were suspended.
Registration is now open for all students with weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August. This includes a new administration on September 26. For more information and up-to-date information please visit the College Board Coronavirus Updates, as well as their parent/guardian resource page.
Registration and details regarding fall ACT test dates is available on the ACT webpage. ACT is offering digital learning and workforce resources to assist students, teachers, schools and workers impacted by COVID-19. Stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of new resources and announcements by bookmarking their COVID-19 Resource page as well as their ACT Test FAQs.
The College Board is providing information that outlines an alternative plan for AP testing review and administration.
- The College Board is providing free remote learning resources to students by AP teachers which began Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
- AP Exams were virtually administered May 11–22 (primary exam dates) and June 1–5 (makeup dates).
- The College Board recognizes that the digital divide could prevent some low-income and rural students from participating. Working with partners, they will invest so that these students have the tools and connectivity they need to review AP content online and take the exam. If your students need mobile tools or connectivity, you canreach out to them directly to let them know on the College Board website.
For more information, please visit the AP Updates for Schools Impacted by Coronavirus webpage.
The best place to find accurate, up-to-date information is the VDH COVID-19 website. The VDOE provides additional information and resources on VDOE COVID-19 Resources.
The VDH has also established a call center to address questions from the public about COVID-19 which can be accessed by calling 877-ASK-VDH3. For questions from residents about COVID-19 via email, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.