On June 9, 2020 Governor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. The PreK-12 guidance is aligned with the phases outlined in the Forward Virginia blueprint and provides opportunities for school divisions to begin offering in-person instruction to specific student groups:
- Phase One: special education programs and children whose parents require child care.
- Phase Two: special education students, children whose parents require child care, preschool through third grade students, English learners, and summer camps in school buildings.
- Phase Three: all students may receive in-person instruction as can be accommodated with strict physical distancing measures in place, which may require alternative schedules that blend in-person and remote learning for some students.
- Beyond Phase Three: divisions will resume “new-normal” operations under future guidance
Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.
Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” is available at doe.virginia.gov. More information about schools and COVID-19 can be found on the VDH FAQs webpage and the DOE FAQs webpage.
Learn how to talk with children about coronavirus disease 2019:
It is important to have open and honest conversations with children about the role they play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and the changes they may expect this school year. Learn more about how to talk to children about COVID-19 here.
Considerations for decisions regarding the new school year:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidance documents to help families make decisions regarding sending their children back to school this year (more information here), and how to keep children safe and healthy while school is out (more information here). Additionally, a checklist intended to help parents, guardians, and caregivers plan and prepare for the upcoming school year is available here.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)
While children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults, VDH, CDC and other public health staff are investigating Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C) linked to COVID-19. MIS-C may cause problems with a child’s heart and other systems in the body. Signs and symptoms of MIS-C include fever, belly or gut pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, rash, red or cracked lips, red or bumpy tongue, or swollen hands and feet.
If your child has any of these signs or other symptoms of COVID-19, contact your pediatrician. If your child is showing any emergency warning signs including trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that won’t go away, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, severe belly pain, or other concerning signs, seek emergency care right away.
Learn more about public health policies that may affect school settings:
Parents, children, teachers, school nurses, staff, and administrators all play an important role in working with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to prevent COVID-19 from entering the school setting and help slow transmission of COVID-19 in our communities. Learn more about how to prepare and what to expect when working with VDH.
- VDH Algorithm for Evaluating a Child with COVID-19 Symptoms or Exposure (8/24/20)
- Contact Tracing for COVID-19 in K-12 Schools: How to Prepare and What to Expect Document (8/4/20)
- Contact Tracing for COVID-19 in K-12 Schools: How to Prepare and What to Expect Infographic (8/4/20)
- Quarantine vs Isolation Infographic (VDH)
- When to End Isolation/Quarantine (VDH)