June 24, 2020
Dear Lexington City Schools Families,
Thank you for completing the family survey distributed last week. We had over 300 responses with some excellent feedback to consider as part of our planning process. Our school division is currently considering several options for the return to school this fall while adhering to the guidelines set forth by Governor Northam, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). This guidance places a heavy emphasis on social distancing and other protective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While we are hopeful that we may be able to open schools under the Virginia Department of Education's (VDOE) Phase Guidance that allows all students to come to school every day, VDOE has advised schools to prepare to start schools in Phase III. For more detailed information on phase guidance for schools, please refer to the document linked here: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/Final-PhaseGuidance-for-Virginia-Schools-6.9.20.pdf
We are currently considering two potential reopening options consistent with the guidance in Phase III: 1) Students attend school in-person M-F on a shortened day schedule in order to allow for virtual instruction for families who opt to keep their child at home, teacher planning and preparation, and daily cleaning; OR 2) Students attend school inperson two days/week and remain at home for virtual/remote instruction three days/week. We hope this will only be a temporary plan as the state moves through the phase restrictions; however, we encourage families to consider how these potential options might impact your planning for childcare this fall. We are currently working with local childcare providers and programs to see what options families may have.
In working through the guidance document from the VDOE and considering the many complex decisions we will be faced with making in order to safely reopen schools, it became evident that our adopted calendar for the 2020-2021 school year would be difficult to follow. Lexington City Schools makes every effort to set a calendar that is similar to that of the Rockbridge County Public Schools, primarily since we share our students who attend Rockbridge County High School. RCPS approved an amended school calendar at their June 17, 2020 school board meeting.
Referring to the newly approved RCPS calendar and in keeping traditional LCS calendar features, such as fall parentteacher conferences and several holidays, a modified school calendar was approved by the Lexington City School Board at a special called meeting yesterday afternoon. The most noticeable changes include a delay in the first day of school from August 12 to August 31, as well as an extended Winter Break with students returning to school on January 11 instead of January 5, 2021. These date changes allow us to extend the preparation time at the start of each semester. We realize that this change will likely impact your family, and we wanted to give you as much notice as possible regarding the starting date for school.
Knowing that the coming school year will look different in many ways as a result of COVID-19 and the many guidelines we must follow in order to safely reopen and operate our schools, the additional days of preparation will allow time for teacher collaboration, staff training, the gathering of health and medical supplies, and the preparation of classrooms and learning spaces. As we consider the plans that will work best for our community, administrators will be working with groups of teachers, staff, parents, and school board members to help determine what school will look like when we welcome students back this fall. Any plan we consider will require working through logistics and details according to guidance from the VDH, CDC, and VDOE. We appreciate your support, patience, and flexibility as we work through planning for these unprecedented times in our schools. We will continue to keep you updated as we are able to communicate more details soon.
Rebecca J. Walters
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO VIEW THE CALENDAR
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