Hollymead Buzz

A Newsletter for Parents

September 6, 2021

A Strong Start

Dear Hollymead Families,

We have had a great opening of school. The other day, while walking the hallways and classrooms, we remarked how much learning was going on. It has taken a great deal of teamwork and flexibility from our entire community to make it happen. The students have been great about wearing masks, keeping distanced, and learning a lot of new routines. The teachers have adapted curriculum and lessons to handle distancing, and have mastered new transition procedures to help students wash hands so frequently. thank you to all the parents who have sent in so many supplies, including tents to make lunch a little bit cooler. Our teaching assistants and support staff have stepped in to fill every possible gap in coverage, procedure, lunch schedule quirk, or staff absence. The learning at Hollymead has benefited from each person in our community, and it is simply an amazing thing of which to be a part.

We have some important updates below, and are looking forward to connecting soon. It is going to be a great year!

Please contact me if for any questions or concerns. You can reach me by phone, 434 973-8301; by email at cdommer@k12albemarle.org; or in person at school.

Craig Dommer

Principal, Hollymead Elementary School

Introducing some new staff!

We have had four new staff members join our team since the first day of school. Ms. Sydney Daniel, and Mrs. Kellie Shannon are new teaching assistants. They have jumped right into the fray, and are doing an awesome job.

Ms. Cheryl Cottrell will be our social emotional learning coach this year. It is an added staff position to help students and teachers deal with any challenges that come with the return to school during this pandemic. She is spending the next couple of weeks attending guidance lessons with Mrs. Kopley, our school counselor, to get to know the students.

Mrs. Ashleigh Wright is going to be our school nurse beginning this week. Eileen Gomez served as the COVID coordinator last year, and in the Spring it was thought she could return as a school nurse. However, with the new variants, and the surge in cases - a full-time coordinator has become necessary again. Mrs. Wright is a Hollymead parent, former Hollymead student, and an experienced critical care nurse. We are so very lucky to have such a skilled nurse in the position, and we look forward to having her on board.

We are still hiring and looking to fill a couple of last positions. We will keep you updated.

Back to School Night

All of the elementary schools in ACPS have decided to hold back to school night virtually. With cases rising in the area, as well as in school, we are trying to protect full-time instruction as much as possible, and feel this night can be accomplished virtually.

We will have a taped welcome from Mr. Dommer and Mrs. Provines, followed by live Zooms by classroom teachers, administrators, and specialists. Back to School Night will by Thursday, September 23rd, and we will have a more detailed schedule published in about 2 weeks.

Forms! Forms! Forms!

At open house, or after the first day of school you will receive an envelope of forms, including:

Dismissal Forms

Emergency Forms

Family Life Forms

Please make sure to return those to the school as soon as possible.

Thank you!

Arrival and Dismissal

School arrival begins at 7:40 and ends at 7:55 when all students are expected to be in their classrooms.

We will use three entrances and exits this year.

  • Walkers will enter and be dismissed from the door by the auditorium.
  • Bus drop off will be in the bus loop.
  • Car drop off will be along the front.

In order to promote distancing, please wait for a staff member to open your car door, but again, we will not be taking temperatures.

No parents will be allowed to accompany children to class this year.

At 7:40 we will begin opening car doors, opening the side door for walkers, and unloading the buses. If you arrive after 7:55 please walk your student to the front door and ring the bell.

In order to speed up drop off - please have your student ready with mask on, and unbuckled from their car seat, before a staff member comes to open your car door. That helps quite a bit.


Car pickup will begin at 2:25 (2:10 the first three days).

Walkers will be dismissed at 2:35 (2:25 the first three days)

ALL KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS MUST BE MET AT THE BUS STOP OR AT THE SIDE ENTRANCE IF THEY ARE WALKERS. Thank you for your support to make arrival and dismissal run smoothly.

A reminder that we will be allowing e-mails and phone calls to change dismissal plans. E-MAILS ARE BEST and you should send the e-mail to hesattendance@k12albemarle.org before 1pm. If you need to make a phone call- please call 973-8301.

School Lunch

All student breakfasts and lunches are free this year.

We will eat outside on all nice weather days.

When we are inside, each class will be assigned an area of the cafeteria. We will be using both the cafeteria and the auditorium, and classrooms. Lunches are arranged so there are never more than 65 kids in the lunchroom at once, which is less than half of our old capacity, in double the space.

We will seat only 1 student at a table. Half of each class will eat in their rooms at least 6 feet apart.

We are also doubling the number of supervising adults to make sure we are able to enforce distance.

We will clean and sanitize tables in between groups.

Medication at School

We want to make parents aware of the main points of Albemarle County School Board Policy JGCD-E regarding student medication at school, which is included in the Parent-Student Handbook.

Here are the highlights:

· Whenever possible, medication should be scheduled outside of school hours.

· If prescription medicine must be dispensed during school hours, a medication form (see the Student-Parent Handbook) MUST be filled out and signed by a parent/guardian and the prescribing physician. Forms are available in the school office.

· Parents/Guardians may complete the medication form for school personnel to administer non-prescription medication during school hours if necessary.

· No more than one month’s supply of a prescribed medication shall be stored at school.

· Medications are housed in a locked cabinet in the clinic and administered by the nurse or a designated staff member.

· Medication cannot be dispensed to a child without the appropriate form.

If you have any questions, you may contact our nurse, Eileen Gomez at 973-8301 or egomez@k12albemarle.org.

The Buzz

We will be sending this newsletter out on Thursdays to correspond with Thursday folders about every 2-4 weeks. If you've signed up for the electronic notification system through Albemarle County, then you will receive it. If you haven't here is the link with more information!