At its meeting on July 14, the Goochland County School Board approved a reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year that was built with flexibility in mind, allowing for adjustments as needed based on conditions associated with our current global pandemic. The School Board has been committed to continued evaluation of our opening plan. A review will take place at the Board’s public meeting scheduled for Monday, August 3 at 6:00 p.m.
Since the Board’s approval of our initial opening plan, our division has continued to evaluate a variety of data and metrics, including feedback from our school community, internal school division data, data specific to Goochland County, and data from the central Virginia region. In addition to this data review, our school division has continued our collaboration and partnership with the Virginia Department of Health.
Much has changed since the Board’s approval earlier this month. Case counts in Goochland and surrounding counties continue to rise. The Virginia Department of Health data shows the Central Virginia health region, consisting of 27 localities including Goochland, is experiencing moderate community transmission. In fact, data from the Virginia Department of Health indicates that the majority of the counties that border Goochland are now experiencing either moderate or substantial community transmission of COVID-19.
On Monday night, Dr. Raley, Superintendent, will be presenting the School Board with a recommendation to adjust our school reopening plan, given the many different variables that have changed since their initial approval. His recommendation to adjust the plan originally approved by the Board is to begin our school year on August 24 with all students preschool through twelfth grade learning from a distance five days a week. His recommendation to the Board can be found here.
If this recommendation is approved, students will go through their daily schedule remotely, but in real time with their assigned teachers. Traditional, in person instruction to begin the school year would not take place as it has in the past. Dr. Raley is recommending that students with limited internet at home will be able to access distance learning from designated locations inside the school where they will have access to the school’s internet. Families who are experiencing a hardship or who may have a unique situation that requires their child to attend in person may seek permission from the building principal. With this proposal, only students who receive approval from their school principal will be permitted to come to the building each day. Families who are granted permission to send their child to school in person to access the internet at school or are granted permission for other extenuating reasons must agree to comply with the school division’s approved Phase III Health Plan.
Dr. Raley will continue to collaborate with our School Board and health officials to evaluate our instructional approach on a regular, ongoing basis. Although this recommendation, if approved, would mean that students begin our school year with remote instruction, our division remains optimistic that the data and metrics that we use to inform decisions will improve over time, allowing us to get our students back into our schools as soon as we are able. Whatever our approach, we all want our students to have an awesome school experience! We will not compromise on the standard of excellence that we have come to expect of our school division.