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Status Update - July 23, 2020

Dear Families and Staff,

This evening, members of the division’s leadership team and I presented the 2020-21 School Year Planning Report to the School Board. Over the last few months, Governor Northam and the Virginia Department of Education have repeatedly shared that school divisions must be prepared to consider multiple approaches for educating our students this year. As such, our team has developed four different instructional models that can be implemented within a Flexible Framework.

Flexible Framework

  • Traditional Model: All students in school five days a week
  • Hybrid Model: All students alternate between being in school and learning at home
  • Leveled Model: Elementary students will alternate between being in school and learning at home, while secondary students will learn from home five days a week
  • Remote Model: All students learn from home

Details about each model have been posted to the division’s Return to School website.

We consider this a Flexible Framework as we may need to move between models based on COVID-19 conditions within our area, as well as within individual schools. Additionally, other factors such as staffing, transportation, and student enrollment may also prompt the need to move between models.

Start of 2020-21 School Year Recommendation

While our primary concern must be safeguarding the health and well-being of our students and staff, we must also ensure students are provided consistent, high-quality educational experiences. My team and I have spent months conducting research, reviewing community health data, listening to our stakeholders, and consulting with our local health department experts as we plan and problem-solve.

After careful consideration, I have recommended that YCSD begin the 2020-21 school year, on September 8, in a Remote Learning Model. We know that bringing together large populations of people in an indoor location increases the potential spread of the virus and the possibility of school closings. By beginning in a Remote Learning Model, we not only protect our students and staff, we also create a more stable learning environment for the start of the school year.

We know our families have varying opinions on what they want and expect from our schools in the fall. This is why we are providing public comment sessions Monday, July 27 (6 p.m.) and Tuesday, July 28 (noon). The Board will then hold a Special Meeting to take action regarding the 2020-21 school year on Thursday, July 30 at 5 p.m. The sessions and meeting will be streamed live on the division’s YouTube channel and YCSD-TV.

Public Comment Process

The School Board Rules of Procedure allow for one comment per person and may be no more than three (3) minutes in length. All comments must begin with the speaker’s name and address. As stakeholder participation will be virtual, all comments must be received prior to the Public Comment Sessions.

Video Comments: Upload recorded video via Dropbox prior to 8 a.m. Monday, July 27

*If you are unable to comment via video, voicemail messages will be incorporated in the live Public Comment Sessions as time allows.

Voicemail: Call 757-833-7127 between 8 a.m. Friday, July 24 and 8 a.m. Monday, July 27

In addition to comments, stakeholders can share questions regarding planning for the 2020-21 school year online via an Office 365 Form. This form will remain available through July 30.

Parent Choice & Commitment Forms – Options 1 and 2

As parents/guardians, you will have a choice when it comes to your child’s education for the 2020-21 school year. If you do not want your child(ren) to participate in the Flexible Framework models (Option 1), you will be able to sign up for a Virtual Academy (Option 2) that will span grades PreK through 12.

We know that making a decision for your child(ren) will be one of the most difficult choices you will make as a family. To help you in making the right choice, the division will provide a self-assessment tool and other resources prior to you notifying the division of your choice. We will also provide additional information on the division’s Return to School website and during the public comment sessions.

Instructions on how to let the division know the choice you have made regarding Options 1 and 2 will be sent to all families the evening of Monday, July 27. We recognize that you may need some time to make your decision, but it is critically important that every family submit their Parent Choice Commitment Form, for each child, by midnight, Sunday, August 2.

In Closing

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to watch tonight’s School Board Special Meeting to learn more about our plans for the 2020-21 school year. The video will be posted to the division's YouTube channel and on the Return to School website soon.

As a parent of three students enrolled in the York County School Division, I have faith in our teachers, administrators, support staff and as well as our community that we can make this a successful school year for our students. I am certain we will provide all students and families an improved experience from our emergency learning models in the spring. I remain confident that we will be able to bring all students and staff back together, safely, in our school buildings when the proper time arrives.

I ask that we continue to be partners and work together with grace and understanding in order to provide the best possible experience for the students of York County, with health and safety being our top priority.

Sincerely,

Victor Shandor, Ed.D.
Division Superintendent
York County School Division