Hollymead Buzz

A Newsletter for Parents

October 16, 2020

Thoughts as we move to Stage 3

Dear Hollymead Families,

As we move toward stage 3, we will be doing a lot of preparation in order to make the transition for students as smooth as possible.

With all that said, I'd like to recognize our students for their brilliance, confidence and resilience. I see it time and again on Zoom and on their SeeSaw assignments. They are creative with their ideas, and are showing up ready to engage, even thought the format was foreign to them just a short time ago. Their ability to take meaning and relationships from virtual school is a testament to all the things that make working with children so rewarding.

I know that every family has to make a choice about hybrid or virtual, but we will work with all children and put them in a place to be successful, no matter the format. I appreciate you and your students.

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

Return to School Town Hall

We had a productive discussion on what Stage 3 will look like at Hollymead. Please remember that if you haven't finished your survey yet, please do so today. If you need another link, you can contact Chris Gilman at cgilman@k12albemarle.org.

Some of the Frequent Topics from Wednesday's town hall:

Will the virtual schedule be the same?

It will be very much the same. We are planning to offer AM/PM. The days will still have a synchronous and asynchronous component. We will still use SeeSaw and Zoom. Some students will be coming into the school for support with virtual learning, and the buses will now arrive at 7:40 and depart at 2:30, so we may adjust beginning/end times to accommodate.

What will be included in an in-person day for Hybrid?

The day will consist of a morning meeting, language arts block, math instruction, science and social studies, at least 3 recess breaks, lunch, and a closing meeting.

What will the at home day look like for Hybrid?

We will be sending a planning sheet home with every student, so the work to be completed is clear. There will be a morning check in with a teaching assistant, the work on the planner, and 2-3 specials classes on those days.

Will after school be offered?

EDEP is not going to run in stage 3. There is an exploration of outside vendors. I will keep you updated.


Lunches will be delivered to classrooms. All students are eligible for free lunch. They may also bring lunch. Lunch deliveries on the school bus through the neighborhood will still occur. Siblings are still eligible.


Teachers have been asked to indicate their preferences for hybrid/virtual at the same time as students. We won't know which teachers are assigned where, until we get information from students. So please fill out your survey. We will make every effort to maximize the number of students who stay with their teacher.

Are we getting teachers who are not Hollymead Teachers?

There is no program or policy implementation, or practice that will make this happen. We are expecting some additional student registrations, and if numbers don't break evenly, we may have to hire a teacher or two, so it's possible we will have new faculty members, but we won't be sending Hollymead students to teachers at other buildings.

How will we know which days?

We will assign days based on current groupings/teachers and space in the classroom on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday.

What if we change our mind?

If you change your mind before Monday 10/19, email us, and we will change your response. Once classes are put together we are going to keep them that way until 11/30, when we will begin taking requests to switch. It can then take up to 2 weeks to have everything in place. We will then take requests and fill them on an as space allows basis.

What if a Hybrid student is sick, traveling, or quarantined, can they join the virtual class?

If a hybrid student has COVID or is being quarantined for exposure, then we will place them temporarily in the virtual class if that is the parent's wish. For routine daily sicknesses, or travel, we will just send work and resources home, as we normally would.

What safety measures are you taking?

We are practicing distancing, temperature taking, hand washing/sanitizing, disinfecting, and air purifying strategies. I will include a link to a video below for even better information.

When should I write an email?

Please email us if you would prefer to stay with your teacher no matter what (you don't care virtual or hybrid), you need specific days of the week, or you would like us to know about a pod that you are still using for virtual or hybrid. This situation is obviously more complicated then everyone virtual, but we are going to do our best to meet requests. Also email with any other questions you have.

Spirit Week

We will be having Spirit week the Week of October 26th. Be on the lookout for more info from your teachers in SeeSaw.

Monday - Maker Monday - We will share things we've made at home.

Tuesday - Team Spirit Tuesday - Wear your favorite team's colors/clothing.

Wednesday - Wear a mask Wednesday! - We will all wear masks on screen - we will send some home to decorate!

Thursday - Book Character Dress Up Day

Supplies for Learning

We will be distributing supplies from time to time, usually on Fridays. Your teachers will post messages on SeeSaw if there are supplies for you to pick up for your student's classes. We are working to make sure that we get the most out of virtual learning, while also not requiring a weekly pickup. We will aim to have materials ready for several weeks at a time.

Library Checkout

We are very excited about starting library circulation next week. Checking out books from the library will be different this year. The Hollymead library will be using a system of picking up and dropping off books on Fridays from 10:30 to 2:30 at the front of school. This system is similar to one used by the public library.

How many books may students check out and how long may they check them out for?

Each student will be allowed to check out five books at a time and the books will be checked out for one month. Please be considerate and return your old library books so that other students may read them.

How will the students select books?

Students will select books by using our library catalog. You can find it by going to the Hollymead library webpage and clicking on the Follett Destiny Library System icon. Once you are in the catalog, you will need to log in using your school username and password. After that you can search for the books that you want to check out. You will notice a hold symbol in the corner of the book cover icons. When you click on that hold symbol, the book will automatically be placed on hold for you and a notification will be sent to the librarian. The hold message may include a date that you should ignore.

You may also email the titles of the books that you want to the librarian to check out for you. It is important to place your books on hold or email the librarian before Thursday at 2:30.

How will the students know if their selections were available and checked out to them?

The librarian will check out your selected library books and place them in a bag with your name on it. She will email you to confirm that your book selections were available and checked out to you. She will also tell you the date of when the books may be picked up. Library book pick-up and drop-off will be held every Friday from 10:30 to 2:30 in the front of school.

How will we return the library books?

We will also be collecting those on Fridays from 10:30 to 2:30. Remember to return your old library books so you may check out new ones.

Will the library circulation system always work this way?

In the future, we may need to make adjustments to this library circulation system depending on the demand for library books and other factors like the weather. We will send out updates as appropriate.

What if I need help or have questions?

If you have questions or need help, you may email me at jcrone@k12albemarle.org. You may also come to the Library Help Time Zoom sessions. They are held Monday through Thursday from 11:00 to 11:30 and from 2:30 to 3:00. Check Seesaw for the links.

From the School Counselor:

With students spending more time on the computer during virtual learning, I wanted to share a few ideas on how to help them reset so they can focus. I know many of us parents are also working and cannot always break when the kids are on break. You could have students select an activity at the beginning of the day so they have the materials they need or a plan in place to use when it is break time. Making a choice board or writing them down and placing in a bag to select one each day can help keep it fun. If you need more ideas or support please reach out!

What to do during Shorter Class Breaks

1. Go outside and blow bubbles

2. Dance Party- Play a song you like and dance

3. Create an obstacle course in the yard or basement - Get creative - switch activities weekly

  • Station 1 - 20 jumping jacks

  • Station 2- 10 Mountain climbers

  • Station 3- Walk a tightrope (walk a line drawn, taped or place a strap or rope on the floor)

  • Station 4- Criss Cross Toss (toss a ball or scarf from one hand to another- using one hand to toss the other to catch) Repeat 5x with each hand

  • Station 5- Stretch break - slowly reach up as high as you can with feet flat on the ground as you breath in. Then reach down and touch your toes slowly as you breath out. Repeat this 5 times.

4. Dribble a ball or toss a ball - Try to bounce the ball from one hand to the other. Crossing from one hand to the other.

5. Stand outside and breath. Using the 5 senses try and find - 5 things you can see , 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and one thing that would have a taste.

5 Things to try during a longer breaks

1. Go for a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood

2. Read

3. Try one of these online activities to get your body moving https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1iql-xlADbkMT9sA8JqqrTacpAy-xF69dX2_CTbbqt8A/present

4. Practice a screen free hobby (art, music, sport )

5. Build with legos or blocks

Here are a few other resources with suggestions:



Hollymead Virtual Student Learning Handbook

Here is the official handbook supplement to cover virtual learning. It is the same at each school, and hope it provides some clarity. It may be modified as we learn and grow through this experience.

Seesaw and Zoom

Seesaw and Zoom will be the critical tools for virtual learning. Teachers have been working so hard to improve the Seesaw experience from the spring, and we expect that the daily interaction of students and teachers over Zoom to be critical in making this Fall a success. Please see the links below that the Department of Technology has created for Seesaw and Zoom to help you at home.


Zoom for IPADS

Zoom for Computers (school laptops in particular)

If there are technology hardware or software issues with your device, please call the school, or ACPS technology support directly at 434-975-9444 and we can work to get a repair ticket started for you.

Student Meals - 2020-21

Last week, there was information sent out about the school lunch program. Please see that information here:


To register, please follow this link: