Henrico, Va. Sept. 14, 2020 — Henrico County Public Schools students, families, teachers and staff pine for a school year that includes vibrant hallways, joyous assemblies and full in-person learning. HCPS has developed a comprehensive, data-driven process to guide decisions allowing more in-person learning. A new page at the school division’s website — https://henricoschools.us/healthupdate/ — breaks down the process, offers the latest information and a timeline for decisions, and outlines the many strategies HCPS is putting in place to ensure readiness for when students return.

A 16-person HCPS Health Committee meets every two weeks to examine the latest regional data about the coronavirus pandemic from the Virginia Department of Health, with a goal of safely expanding in-person learning. The group uses the data to determine the current “pandemic status,” characterizing the severity and transmission trends in central Virginia. The pandemic status relies on several health indicators, including conditions during a 14-day window; the incidence rate; the percentage of people testing positive; and the number of outbreaks. HCPS, in turn, uses the status to determine what instructional approach (from 1 to 4 on a continuum) the school division can safely use to conduct classes.

The Health Committee, made up of representatives from the Henrico Health District, Henrico County Public Schools, the HCPS Student Health Advisory Board and the larger community, makes regular presentations to the Henrico School Board. On Sept. 10, the group reported that regional data from the previous week resulted in a pandemic status of “Substantial/High Community Transmission.” That status is tied to HCPS’ current instructional approach, “Approach 2.” The continuum of reopening includes four instructional approaches:

  • Approach 1 (Stay-at-home order): No in-person instruction. Schools closed to the public.
  • Approach 2 (Substantial/High burden): Most students learning online with students seen in person on a limited basis. Schools are open to the public on a limited basis.
  • Approach 3 (Moderate burden): Smaller groups of students in classrooms and schools are open to the public on a limited basis.
  • Approach 4 (Low burden): Larger groups of students in classrooms (most, if not all, students back on campus) and schools are open to the public.

For a breakdown of the health data factors that determine the pandemic status, and corresponding HCPS instructional approaches, as well as presentation videos and slideshows, go to our “Health Update” page at https://henricoschools.us/healthupdate/.

Important upcoming dates for health-related presentations include:

  • Sept. 24: Health Committee update to Henrico School Board.
  • Oct. 8: Health Committee update to Henrico School Board.
  • Oct. 22 School Board meeting: Target date for committee recommendation concerning the second nine weeks (also called the second marking period) of the school year, which begins Nov. 16.