We continue to monitor COVID-19 cases locally and regionally through the Virginia Department of Health (VDOH) and the Roanoke Health Department.
Recently, Governor Northam announced the steps needed to reopen schools, and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released their extensive guidelines to assist with the process. School openings will occur in three phases. These do not necessarily align with the state’s phase guidelines for reopening businesses.
Currently, all schools in Virginia are in Phase I, which allows limited teacher/student contact. Phase II allows students in pre-school through grade 3 (as well as English Learners and students requiring special accommodations) to return to campus while older students will be required to attend school through distance learning. It also allows summer camps to be available for children of all ages. Phase III opens schools for in-person instruction for all students with continued adherence to CDC health and safety guidelines.
Community School plans to be in compliance with the VDOE guidelines for reopening and will open as scheduled on September 1.
- We will follow operational guidance from the CDC related to social distancing, physical distancing, cleaning, disinfecting and other mitigation strategies.
- We are capping enrollment and reducing class sizes (pre-school-age 8, elementary-age 10, middle school-age 13) to provide additional space in the classrooms so that we can have students return full time without staggering attendance for classes.
- If we are in Phase II, we will welcome our younger students back to campus (pre-school through upper elementary) and work with middle school students on-line.
- In Phase III, all of our students will be able to return to campus on September 1.
In the event that state mandates require classes to move on-line, our distance learning model will offer core classes with opportunities to collaborate with classmates, separate enrichment classes, office hours with teachers, and optional classes or activities that allow students and/or families to come together virtually. We recognize that many of our families value the community building and social/emotional activities, as much as the academic structure. We will continue to provide cooperative learning projects and multi-disciplinary presentations to reinforce skills and allow students to connect with subjects in different ways.
Our plan is to return ALL of our students to campus on September 1. Although, there will be some changes, we will find new ways to embrace our philosophy and continue to value the whole child, play outdoors every day, integrate the arts and other enrichment classes, incorporate community service, connect students to buddies in other classes, and continue to support experiential learning activities.
We are excited about seeing our families back on campus in September.
Linda P. Roth