Virginia’s Phase Guidance for Reopening Prek-12 Schools
Updated November 5, 2020
Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, Virginia divisions will be monitoring local public health conditions and evaluating instructional options reflective of those conditions. In September 2020, the CDC issued guidance on Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making; which the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has incorporated into its now public-facing pandemic dashboard. It is important to note that in addition to public health metrics, the CDC emphasizes that transmission risk in any given school is also dependent on the successful implementation of school and community mitigation strategies. The VDH recommends this CDC model be used by Divisions to assess transmission risks and inform decisions about school operations and necessary mitigation strategies.
The CDC Indicators have been aligned to the Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools-This is a PDF document. previously issued. Below is a summary of how these pieces of state and federal guidance on school reopening plans should be considered by local school leaders.
The indicators serve as the starting point to make determinations on what to do in a school, but should not dictate the decisions that school districts make to best serve their individual communities.
- Risk Guidance for Virginia Schools – A Summary-This is a PDF document.
- VDH Pandemic Dashboard – Including Application of CDC Indicators to the Virginia Context
- Interim VDH Guidance for Mitigation Measures in K12 Settings-This is a PDF document.
- Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools (Updated June 6, 2020)-This is a PDF document.
- Governor Northam’s June 9, 2020 News Release on the Phase Guidance
- Recover, Redesign, Restart – A Comprehensive Guide for School Leaders-This is a PDF document.
- CDC Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making
- Other VDH K-12 Resources
- Other CDC Resources for Schools
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-This is a PDF document. 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.