May 2, 2021 Edition

Message from the Superintendent

This week our school division executed the second week of expanded in-person learning. I continue to be so proud of the collective efforts of our outstanding staff as well as the partnership with our families that enables us to continue moving forward.

Early this week, we celebrated our Administrative Assistants. These roles and the many special individuals that perform them are so critical to the success of our schools and school division. They provide so much support to school staff as well as to students, families, and the community! We are so grateful and appreciative of their contributions.

Below are some important and informative announcements and highlights:

  • K-12 Virtual Academy Survey for Families
    This past week we sent out a survey to families to determine which students and how many families are interested in a virtual academy for next school year. The virtual academy will be a full school day, for 5 days a week. The following programs are not available for the 2021-2022 SCPS Virtual Academy opportunity: Governor’s School, International Baccalaureate, and offerings at the Career and Technical Center. Additionally, elective offerings may be limited. Recently, we learned that VDOE will be issuing a virtual program guidance document for school divisions. We will amend our draft plan accordingly if needed. Once the plan is finalized, we will share it with the community. Click here for access to the survey.

  • COVID-19 Impact
    We are realizing an uptick in students being quarantined due to their proximity to probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Please refer to the Data Dashboard or notifications from your school for weekly updates regarding case information. This increase has and will continue to cause potential changes to student’s schedules. We thank you for your continued support and flexibility as we continue to navigate this pandemic and follow the mitigation strategies.

  • Our process regarding COVID-19 cases was outlined in our Return to Learn Addendum that was shared multiple times with families through email and social media. The plan is also posted on each school’s website. We are aware that there are options to reduce quarantine to less than 14 days. However, based on CDC guidance to follow the recommendations of the local health department and the CDC’s continued endorsement of a 14 day quarantine and recognition that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus we will continue to follow the highest standard to keep our students and staff as safe as possible and require a 14 day quarantine for those identified as close contacts.

    • Close contact means someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes in one day). An infected person can spread SARS-CoV-2 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date), until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation.

    • Exceptions to initial quarantine are for persons that have had Covid-19 in the last 3 months (90 days) or are fully vaccinated.

    • Fully vaccinated means:
      2 weeks (14 days) after the second dose in a 2-dose series, such as Pfizer or Moderna or 2 weeks (14 days) after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

  • Graduation Ceremonies for the Class of 2021
    On March 23, 2021 Governor Northam updated Executive Order - 72 on preliminary guidance for safe in-person graduations and commencements. Over the past couple of weeks, our high school principals have met to review this guidance and discuss graduation options. After reviewing survey data regarding preferences in terms of an “in-person” or “individual” graduation ceremony we are pleased to offer the following options from the feedback received for students and families to select from:

    • In-Person Graduations

      • May 22, 2021

      • In following social distancing protocols the senior class will be divided alphabetically. The first group of seniors will graduate at 8:00 a.m. with the second group graduating at 11:00 a.m.

      • Should inclement weather be a factor in the morning we will move accordingly to a later time during the day. Either 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. If weather remains a factor for the entire day, we will then move our ceremonies to Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

    • Individual Graduations

      • May 24 - 28, 2021

      • Students/Families who do not wish to participate in the in-person opportunity may select this option.

      • Graduates will be able to choose their preferred time.

      • Graduates may register through a Google Form that will be sent out from their specific high school.

  • The following information represents the percentage of respondents from the graduating class of 2021 requesting to participate in the individual graduation ceremony:

    CHHS - 22% out of 215 respondents
    CHS - 30% out of 263 respondents
    MHS - 16% out of 393 respondents
    RHS - 23% out of 389 respondents
    SHS - 21% out of 298 respondents

  • Questions relating to graduation ceremonies should be directed to the student’s high school administrator or counselor.

  • Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI) Community Meetings
    A series of four Community webinars to provide information regarding the Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative will be live-streamed starting at 6:30PM on the VDOE’s YouTube Channel. Participants are encouraged to submit questions or feedback before and during the sessions via a Google Form.
    1. Why Change Mathematics Instruction? Recording Link
    2. How Does VMPI Affect Virginia Children’s Futures? Recording Link
    3. Essential Concepts in Grades 8 - 10 April 27, 2021
    4. Advanced Pathways in Grades 11 - 12 May 25, 2021

    Recordings of each session will be available on the Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative webpage.

  • School Board Meeting, FY2022 Budget Information & Upcoming Critical Dates:

    • The School Board will meet on April 26th at 6:30 p.m. to hold a budget work session in preparation to adopt the school division FY2022 budget.

  • School Board meetings can be viewed online at Meetings are live-streamed. Recordings of each meeting may be accessed at the same link. Additionally, meetings may be viewed on cable channels: Comcast Channel 17, Cox Channel 18, and Verizon Channel 36.

  • 2021 Summer Institute Registration is Now Open

    • We are offering various learning opportunities this summer for our students to participate in. Whether for enrichment or remediation, our Summer Institute is geared toward fostering connections and skill development. Information can be found by clicking on our division web page or by simply clicking the following link:

Have a great week!


Dr. S. Scott Baker

Superintendent of Schools