On Oct. 22, the School Board voted to phase in expanded in-person learning options and enhanced safety protocols, after hearing recommendations from the HCPS Health Committee and Superintendent Amy Cashwell, as well as staff and public comments. The in-person option will be phased in beginning with younger elementary students starting Nov. 30 and concluding with high school students in February. HCPS families will also have the option to continue using a fully virtual approach for students. Students choosing the in-person option will be in school buildings four days a week and learn virtually from home on Wednesdays.

Implementation of the phased-in approach will be dependent on continued analysis of health and safety data and the recommendation of public health experts.

School day

The five-day schedule for fully virtual students will continue (with an abbreviated schedule on Wednesdays.) Students choosing the in-person option will attend school four days a week, and will learn virtually on Wednesdays to allow for additional deep cleaning of schools as well as teacher planning: 

In-person students will be in school buildings four days per week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Virtual “Wellness Wednesdays” will be characterized by:

  • Additional deep cleaning of schools
  • Two hours of teacher-led virtual learning.
  • Additional independent student learning time.
  • Academic and social/emotional support.
  • Teacher planning and professional learning time.

Risk-mitigation measures

HCPS will adopt a number of risk-mitigation protocols recommended by the HCPS Health Committee:

  • Using 6-foot distancing for classroom seating.
  • Maintaining “cohort” groupings of students as much as possible.
  • Creating one-way traffic patterns in school hallways.
  • Adjusting the secondary master schedule to stagger and extend transition times.
  • Continue a host of specific safety improvements underway, including staff training, cleaning, use of masks, three-sided protective guards for all desks, HVAC air flushing and other measures.
School visitors will be by appointment only and will be limited to main offices. Large-group gatherings and field trips will not be held. Random temperature checks of students and staff will be conducted in schools. Secondary students will be assigned to “lunch pods” of other students for meals. To see safety measures the school division continues to implement, go to https://henricoschools.us/healthupdate/preparing-for-a-return/.