Henrico, Va. March 18, 2020 — In response to the continued spread of coronavirus, and recommendations by health officials, Henrico County Public Schools will extend the closure of its school facilities through Spring Break. While the situation continues to evolve rapidly, April 14 is now the earliest possible date for a return to school. Monday, April 13, previously scheduled as a holiday for students and staff, will remain a holiday.
The move prioritizes the safety of students, staff members and the community during the COVID-19 public health crisis and was made in consultation with other school divisions in the Richmond area. Students will resume instruction remotely using digital and nondigital methods.
“We continue to keep a close eye on local, state and national health recommendations, and we can’t rule out the possibility that this information will change again,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent. “I join our great partner and friend, County Manager John Vithoulkas, in reaffirming our shared mission: we will continue to serve our community while taking the precautions necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of all our citizens, families and employees.”
Distance learning options will continue to be made available to students in digital and nondigital forms. To support online learning, vans are being stationed at four HCPS high schools to act as mobile technology hubs for students and school division staff. The hubs are designed to support virtual learning in two ways: enable up to 400 students and staff members who don’t have home internet access to get it through distribution of Wi-Fi hot-spot devices; and provide a way for HCPS-issued laptops to be repaired and exchanged. The vans are open weekdays from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. at Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Hermitage and Highland Springs high schools. For more details, go to henricoschools.us/covid19/ and click on “Mobile Tech Hubs” at left.
HCPS will add seven additional food distribution sites Thursday and another Monday, bringing to 14 the sites where students can pick up free “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches during the school division’s closure. Students can pick up school meals weekdays from 11 a.m. to noon. For more details about the sites, go to henricoschools.us/covid19/ and click on “Grab and Go School Meals” at left.
Current information about the public health closure can be found at the school division’s coronavirus webpage, henricoschools.us/covid19/. New information pertaining to HCPS has been added to our “Commonly Asked Questions” page, at henricoschools.us/covid19/commonquestions/. New information includes:
Will students still take SOL tests?
Virginia is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Education for more flexibility on SOL testing. This could mean a waiver, exempting Virginia school divisions from tests for this year.
What about SAT and ACT testing?
The College Board has canceled the May 2 SAT test sessions. The March 28 make-up session for the March 14 SAT session has also been canceled. Students who have been affected will receive refunds. The ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date for June 13, and affected students will be notified about the process for rescheduling.
The HCPS Facilities and Pupil Transportation departments have been conducting additional cleaning of buildings and buses during the closure. They will continue those efforts and will continue to assess cleaning practices.