The School Board held a regularly scheduled work session Thursday, and I’m writing to update you again on two important topics that were discussed during the meeting (Desplazar el cursor hacia abajo para leer este mensaje en español):
- Health Committee Update
- Redistricting (school attendance boundaries)
Health Committee Update
The Board received its regular update from the HCPS Health Committee, which has been monitoring regional health data related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee discussed the three core Virginia Department of Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention school metrics:
- The first metric, the number of new cases per 100,000 persons for the last 14 days, is now at the red or highest risk level.
- The second metric, percent positivity for the last 14 days, is at the yellow or moderate risk level.
- The third core metric, which is our ability to use risk-mitigation strategies such as Personal Protective Equipment, physical distancing, mask-wearing, etc. is at a green or lowest risk level.
Those three core metrics together, as recommended by VDH/CDC, are the primary factors used by the health committee to determine recommendations for in-person learning. (For more on what the data mean, visit our presentation slideshow.)
What does this mean for our plan to expand opportunities for in-person learning starting on Nov. 30?
There have been numerous questions about what it would take for HCPS to consider delaying our expanded in-person learning, and a possible reduction or halting of the current limited in-person learning. If both the percentage of positive tests during a 14-day period reaches the Higher or Highest Risk Level, and the number of new cases per 100,000 during a 14-day period stays at the Higher or Highest Risk Level, the following would occur:
- The HCPS Health Committee would meet to review the latest data and possibly make a new recommendation to me as superintendent.
- The committee would consider whether there are any large-scale outbreaks, such as in a long-term care facility, that may be impacting the data.
- The committee would also review HCPS case data to determine if any increase in the number of cases is based on school-based spread or if it continues to be community-based spread.
- If one of the core indicators is at the Highest Risk Level and another core indicator is at the Higher or Highest Risk Level, and upon review of large-scale outbreaks, the HCPS Health Committee would likely recommend changes to the timeline for expanding our in-person learning.
In short, we’re monitoring the data closely, and our health committee will quickly make a new recommendation if necessary. Any delay or change in our plans will be communicated by me, and I will keep you informed every step of the way.
For now, our plan remains the same. However, as we have stated previously, we will continue to monitor these trends and adjust the plan if necessary. Use this link to review the Nov. 12 presentation slides and watch a video of the Health Committee’s Nov. 12 update to the School Board.
There is an update to one of our redistricting proposals. As a refresher, back in September the Board asked HCPS staff to discontinue what was previously known as “comprehensive (countywide) redistricting” and instead address three smaller redistricting needs. Those proposals are/were:
- Effectively utilizing the additional capacity of a newly expanding Holladay Elementary School in the Brookland District.
- Addressing overcapacity issues at Colonial Trail and Rivers Edge elementary schools in the Three Chopt District.
- **Reexamining the feeder elementary schools for the way students are assigned to Quioccasin Middle School in the Tuckahoe District.
**NEW: At Thursday’s meeting, Board members gave consensus to postpone the proposal related to the way students are assigned to Quioccasin Middle School until fall 2021, when it would again be revisited for further public discussion.
For more information, and to provide written feedback on the two remaining proposals related to Holladay, Colonial Trail and Rivers Edge elementary schools, use the feedback form on our redistricting page: https://henricoschools.us/redistricting/
That’s all for now. Thank you for staying informed, and I’m grateful for your support of Henrico County Public Schools!
Amy E. Cashwell, Ed. D.
Henrico County Public Schools