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Letter from the Superintendent - November 23, 2020

Dear YCSD Families and Staff,

This evening, cabinet members and I presented updates on the division’s Return to School Plan to the School Board. This presentation reviewed student academic performance during the first quarter and action steps underway to support students, staffing and substitute levels, and current health metrics, as well as my recommendations for next steps.

Since first releasing our Return to School Plan in July, the division has been deliberative in our approach to resuming a traditional school setting. We continuously analyze and respond to health and operational metrics that prioritize a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff. I am proud of the efforts our team has made in these areas, as our mitigation strategies – physical distancing, face masks, hand washing, cleaning and contact tracing - have proven effective in the time our staff and students have been in our elementary and middle schools and our operational complexes.

However, cases are rising across the country and while York County and Virginia may not be at the level of other areas, we too are facing an upward trend. As cases increase, contact tracing and effective quarantine procedures are essential to keeping schools open. As we have evaluated the potential for a spike following the holidays and the time required to contact trace with confidence, a temporary shift to the Remote Model for all students the week following Thanksgiving (11/30-12/4) and the week after Winter Break (1/4-8) is necessary. Employees should complete the division’s Daily Health Screening and report to work onsite, as scheduled, those weeks.

Additionally, we have identified new target dates for students in grades seven through 12 to move to the Hybrid Model. Those dates, and the temporary shift to Remote Learning dates, are provided below.

November 30 Staff report 4 days in-person to prepare for shift to Hybrid;
All students temporarily learn in Remote Model​
December 7-18 Grades PreK-6, EL and self-contained resume Hybrid Model
January 4 All staff report 4 days in-person;
Students temporarily learn in Remote Model
January 11 Grades PreK-6, EL and self-contained resume Hybrid Model
Grades 7, 8, 9 or 12 could possibly begin Hybrid Model*
January 19 Grades 7, 8, 9 or 12 could possibly begin Hybrid Model*
February 1 Remaining grades could possibly begin Hybrid Model

*One or more of these grades, dependent on staffing and health metrics

While we are committed to moving forward, we must also remain flexible. We have stated numerous times that our Return to School plan is a living document and it may become necessary to move between the models. If that happens, we will work to provide as much notice to our families and staff as we can. I encourage families and staff to be prepared for that possibility.​

Finally, as we take time to rest and recharge this week, please remember to practice healthy and safe habits.

 

Sincerely,

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