On Tuesday October 13, I will be making a recommendation to the Goochland County School Board to reopen our schools for in person learning for all students. Our preschool students began in person instruction earlier this week on Monday! If approved, we will welcome our kindergarten through fifth grade students back to school on October 19 five days a week. I will also be recommending a return for sixth grade and ninth grade students on November 2 and a return for students in grades 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 on November 9.
The presentation that includes my recommendation is linked to our School Board’s agenda. Please know that, even as students return to school in person, families may still choose to continue with their current distance learning plan (either synchronous OR asynchronous) if that is what you feel is best for your child and your family.
Recommended Instructional Plan
Please take a moment to review this snapshot of my recommended elementary instructional plan. Our team has worked tirelessly to overcome many hurdles to build a structure that allows our students to attend school in person five days a week. Our team has made adjustments to staffing based on parent interest in both in person and distance learning. As a result, some of our currently certified classroom teachers will be providing distance learning. Many students will keep their current teacher; however, some students may be assigned a new classroom teacher. Most students whose families have chosen distance learning will also be assigned a new teacher. All teachers are endorsed in their new assigned responsibility and are employees of GCPS. Teacher assignments will be sent to distance learning families after approval by the Board next week.
This document includes the most significant details of my recommended middle school and high school instructional plan. I am proud of the work our entire division has done to prepare for in person learning that will provide the high quality level of instruction that our students and families expect of our school division. This recommended plan allows families choice, while maintaining our standard of excellence for both in person learners and distance learners at all grade levels. The amount of instructional time students will receive will remain the same in all scenarios.
We will follow our division’s approved Phase III health plan for all students who attend in person. These efforts include a required health screening before the children leave home, face coverings as medically and developmentally appropriate, temperature checks, and 6 feet social distancing. Our collective efforts to stay home when sick, wash our hands, and comply with these strategies will help us to provide the healthiest environment possible for our students and staff.
Through a Federal school nutrition program, ALL children can receive breakfast and lunch at no cost through December 31st. Students can still choose to pack their lunch if they would like. We encourage families to apply for free or reduced meal assistance to ensure a smooth transition as we return to our traditional meal service program following winter break. Students may also purchase snacks and other a la carte items through a touchless payment system. Parents can put funds on their student’s account using www.mypaymentsplus.com, the mypaymentsplus phone app or by calling 1-877-237-0946/ option 8. No currency will be exchanged in our school cafeterias.
Parents of our distance learners will still be able to pick up meals at their school sites during designated meal distribution times as they have throughout the Fall.
LIke many school divisions across the country, we are experiencing a bus driver shortage. We currently have 15 fewer drivers than we did when we began the school year last year. In order to provide transportation to families who have made requests, we have adjusted our arrival and dismissal at all schools beginning Monday October 19.
Current elementary learning lab students may remain in the building IF families continue to have a need. Afternoon transportation will be available. The Goochland Family YMCA will offer after school care at the Goochland Family YMCA for students in our elementary schools. For more information, please visit their website, email their team at YGRAdmin@ymcarichmond.org or call (804) 649-9622. Goochland County Parks and Recreation is also offering programming for families until 6:00 p.m. Contact Jessica Kronberg at 804-556-5854 for additional details.
The proposed staggered start and end times are as follows:
If you have not already done so, please complete this request to let us know your transportation needs. Due to limited capacity on our buses, we are asking for assistance from families to consider transporting their own child both to and from school IF they are able to.
I will follow up after the School Board meeting next week to inform you of their final action on my recommendation. In the meantime, please know that I welcome your questions, thoughts, and feedback. Please feel free to give me a call or send me an email at any time.
Yours in Service,
Jeremy J. Raley, Ed.D.