Update 2/10/21 – As WJCC Schools prepare to welcome students back to school buildings, timelines may change based on the division’s ability to implement essential health and safety strategies. For example, with more than 2,300 middle and high school students electing to learn virtually, the division has more social distancing options. Therefore, WJCC Schools is accelerating the timeline for middle and high school students to begin in-person learning.
Timeline for In-Person Learning (Middle and High School):
- February 16 – Grades 4 & 5 join K-3
- February 22 – Grades 6 and 12
- March 1 – Grades 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11
Hybrid learning includes two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning each week. On-site learning days are determined by the student’s last name
Last Name Group On-site Learning Days
A-L Blue Monday & Tuesday (Wednesday – Friday are Remote Learning Days)
M-Z Green Wednesday & Thursday (Monday, Tuesday, Friday are Remote Learning Days)
Update 1/19/21 – Dr. Herron and school leadership are working with partners from the city, county, and local hospitals to establish and support a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for our community. It is essential that we begin the process of vaccinating teachers and employees as soon as possible, beginning with those who will be the first to come in face-to-face contact with students.
Today, the total number of new cases per 100,000 within the last 14 days in James City County is 924, with a percent positivity of 14.2%. That is the highest it has ever been locally.
In the simplest possible terms: the more vaccinated people, the less the risk of spread in our community and the greater the opportunity to get back to a more “normal” daily schedule.
We don’t know how long the vaccination process will take; it could stretch into early February. Furthermore, the health department is overwhelmed with contact tracing, which, as you know, is one of the five key mitigation strategies within our school division. Currently, there are no guarantees how long it could take to complete tracing for a staff member or student who becomes ill.
Given the need for timely contact tracing, the current health metrics, and the need to get teachers at least the first dose of the vaccine, we must push back the return of students for in-person learning as follows:
What We Know and What We’ve Learned
In the 10 months since the pandemic began, we have learned so much about the coronavirus, how it spreads, and what we can do individually and collectively to help reduce illness in our community and schools.We know that the consistent use of face coverings, frequent handwashing, social distancing, and thorough cleaning practices are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19. We know that the more people who are vaccinated, the better we are as a community. And finally, by looking at data from school divisions across the nation where students are learning in-person, we know that with strict mitigation strategies in place the transmission rate in schools is lower than originally expected.
What We Need Now
Like you, teachers and school administrators want students learning in-person in classrooms and buildings where children and adults can feel safe. We anticipate that vaccines will be available to WJCC Schools staff before the end of January. In the coming weeks, we hope to see a downward trend in local COVID-19 case data after the post-holiday surge. At the same time, the division will continue working to ensure that our schools, students and staff have the resources they need to implement healthy practices in every class, at every school, every day.
Next week, all WJCC Schools staff will take part in additional health safety training. Additionally, the division’s Health Action Teams will visit schools to ensure that mitigation strategies are used correctly and consistently. They will pinpoint what we are doing well and how the division can build upon existing healthy practices.
When Will Students Return to School?
With stringent mitigation strategies in place and improving community health data, WJCC Schools is prepared to take the next step in our Return to Learn: Forward WJCC Schools plan. If community health data does not improve or if school operations cannot be supported because of the number of staff who are ill or in quarantine, the timeline may need to be adjusted for individual classes, schools, or the division as a whole.
More information visit WJCC Schools