Henrico County Council PTA works to ensure all children have access to high-quality education in a safe and healthy learning environment. We support HCPS’s commitment to providing the tools that teachers and school administrators agree are needed to support a strong instructional model for virtual, blended, or in-person instruction.
The HCPS administration currently hosts meetings with principals and the central school leadership team at a minimum of once a week. Before November, these meetings were at a minimum of twice per week. Principals share teacher feedback and requests for items needed to support instruction at these meetings, which have been ongoing throughout the summer and fall. In addition, the division’s school level directors have met with their principals individually to garner feedback.
Based on these ongoing communications between schools and HCPS, items such as additional monitors and desk shields have been purchased for all schools and specific items based on individual school needs.
The table below (provided by HCPS Administration) includes a comprehensive list of items purchased by the division as well as delivery status as of November 18, 2020.
Items Provided or Awaiting Delivery
* Delivery dates are subject to change. Please check with your principal for current information.
HCC PTA encourages local unit PTA leaders to work with your parents, teachers, and principals to identify any additional tools needed to provide a strong instructional model. Ask your principal to bring these requests to HCPS. Keep HCC PTA and School Board members apprised of your school’s requests.
The HCPS administration has identified the following items as needs for select schools:
Bottled Water to have on hand since water fountains will be closed. Many schools do have touchless hydration stations for filling water bottles during the day. Approximately 4 bottles per student per week.
Touchless Hydration Stations. Approximately 2 per school for schools without these stations.
The county may be limited in fulfilling certain funding requests. In such cases, the HCPS administration will prioritize funding based on the greatest need. For example, some schools may need to secure outdoor learning spaces with greater priority than others based on school capacity or school design.
We ask PTAs to partner with your school principal and use your best discretion as to whether advocacy, soliciting donations, or fundraising is the best solution for your community.
Return to School FAQ (OLD)
Is the recent HCPS Student Household Questionnaire binding?
No. The HCPS questionnaire open from October 5-11 is not binding. However, HCPS will rely greatly on next week’s responses for planning purposes.
How will the questionnaire results be used?
The Student Household Questionnaire will assist in planning for the second nine weeks by asking students and families to indicate their current thoughts regarding returning to school buildings in November (when the second nine weeks begins).
HCC PTA commentary: The teacher and family questionnaires are not a vote for in-person or virtual learning. Its purpose is to collect data that will be used to determine the number of teachers needed and transportation required to meet student demand for in-person learning under the HCPS COVID-19 Health Plan and risk-mitigation strategies. HCPS will then determine which in-person options are feasible.
What is the timeline for making decisions on returning to in-person instruction?
The questionnaire closes on October 11. On October 22, the Henrico County School Board will review the latest recommendations from the HCPS Health Committee and determine the approach to learning for the second nine weeks of school, which begins on November 16.
What factors will HCPS be considering when making a recommendation on October 22?
HCPS has stated that any recommendation for changing the current model for student learning will prioritize health, safety, strong academics, and programmatic continuity.
Transitioning from a predominantly virtual approach to a hybrid approach will depend on several criteria. These include the Virginia Department of Health’s “Community Transmission and Data Trends for the Central Region,” combined with the data available for Henrico County, to determine when to shift to a hybrid approach to learning. The Virginia Department of Health determines a current “burden level” for coronavirus conditions, based on three factors: the case incidence rate per 100,000, the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) percent positivity, and the outbreaks per 100,000 (as well as the trends associated with these three metrics.)
Prior to recommending a shift in approach, HCPS will determine:
- That the necessary personal protective equipment is available to ensure the health and safety of staff and students.
- That the supply chain can sustain a four-week supply of PPE in schools.
- Whether staff members affirm that the HCPS COVID-19 Health Plan and risk-mitigation strategies are playing out effectively in HCPS classrooms.
- How a given recommendation will affect daily attendance rates.
- Employee and community confidence in the return to in-person learning.
How frequently might my child’s in-person class/school be asked to switch back to virtual?
For those returning to in-person learning, if at any point there is a known COVID-19 exposure, your child (and/or your child’s class) may be asked to quarantine at home and participate in virtual learning for up to 14 days. Any decision to close schools or reduce the size of in-person classes due to COVID-19 will be made in collaboration with the local health department. Factors that could trigger virtual instruction for a school(s) include the number of students and staff diagnosed with COVID-19 within a school or across the school division.
Will students have the same amount of teacher-led instructional time if they are in-person compared to today?
The addition of increased in-person learning opportunities could impact the amount of teacher-led vs. independent virtual learning, compared to the current predominantly virtual model. Decisions required to elaborate on the impact have not been made at this time.
Will virtual learners have a dedicated virtual teacher or will teachers be teaching both online and virtually?
Will my child have to switch teachers?
How will students be screened each day?
Families will be expected to monitor their child(ren)’s health and keep any child(ren) at home if symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection are present. There will be random temperature checks during the school day.
What distancing guidelines will be used?
Classrooms will be limited in occupancy to support the physical distancing of at least 3 feet to the greatest extent possible.
HCC PTA commentary: The full guidance, such as how to enforce the policy and possible exemptions, has not been provided.
Source: HCPS COVID-19 Health Plan (Page 6; Section E)
Will all students be required to wear masks?
Consistent and correct use of masks will be required of all students, staff, and guests (as developmentally feasible).
HCC PTA commentary: The full guidance, such as how to enforce the policy and possible exemptions, has not been provided.
Sources: VDH Interim Guidance for Mitigation Measures in K-12 School Settings and HCPS COVID-19 Health Plan (Page 6; Section D)
What happens if a sick child goes to school?
A designated health isolation room will be identified within each school building, with care provided by trained personnel. If a student shows signs of illness while at school, school nurses will conduct health assessments in the health isolation area. The health isolation room will be used to separate individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 from those seeking other services, such as medication administration, wound care, etc. Parents will be required to immediately pick up students who are sick.
HCC PTA understands this to mean that students with symptoms that overlap with COVID-19 may be in the isolation room with students later found to have COVID-19. Isolation rooms should follow mitigating measures to prevent disease spread within the enclosed space.
Will HCPS require employees to be tested for COVID-19? If so, who pays?
HCPS will inform the employee whether the division will use a symptom-based or test-based strategy. This determination will be made based on local health care and testing circumstances.
The symptom-based strategy excludes an employee from returning to work until at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery. Recovery is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms AND the passage of at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
The test-based strategy excludes an employee from returning to work until resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND improvement in respiratory symptoms, AND negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARSCoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (a total of two negative specimens).
HCPS shall not require its employees to pay for the cost of COVID-19 testing for determinations of return to work.
Will HCPS require students to be tested for COVID-19 after known exposure before returning?
HCPS states that exposed individuals may be asked to quarantine at home and participate in virtual learning for up to 14 days.
This aligns with the Virginia Department of Health guidance, which states “if you had close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, self-quarantine (stay home) and monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after your last contact. If you test negative during your quarantine period, you will still need to complete your full 14-day quarantine before it is safe to go back to work or be around others.”
As always, any student or staff experiencing fevers—for any reason—should remain home until they are fever-free for a full 24 hours.
Source: Student Household Questionnaire Oct 5-11 and Virignia Department of Health COVID-19 Local Exposure webpage
If one child is exposed to COVID-19 at school, will my other children have to stay home?
Yes. Families will be expected keep any child(ren) at home if someone in their household is under quarantine/self-isolation.
How will contact tracing be done?
Trained school nurses will collaborate and facilitate contact tracing with the Virginia Department of Health and other public health partners. Anyone who was in the building and may have been exposed* to the confirmed positive person within the previous 14 days will be notified within 24 hours of receiving a positive report.
On Oct. 8, during the Health Committee Update, HCPS defined “exposure” to be the same as the Virginia Department of Health definition of “close contact” -- “being within 6 feet of a person who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.”
HCPS will communicate with the administrative staff, HCPS Department of Facilities and division leadership to coordinate class rosters, in-depth cleaning, and school community notifications.
Exposed individuals may be asked to quarantine at home and participate in virtual learning for up to 14 days.
Source: HCPS COVID-19 Health Plan (Pages 3 and 4; Section F.3,4 and H.2) and Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Local Exposure webpage
Will the schools have appropriate PPE?
Yes. At the September 24 Health Committee update, HCPS reported it has received enough PPE for students and staff to return to school. Orders are placed regularly so HCPS can maintain its inventory of PPE. Based on expected usage, there is enough PPE to last through winter break. This includes n95 masks for nurses, gloves, and cleaning supplies.
The following answers were compiled by Henrico County Council PTA (HCC PTA) to answer frequently asked questions based on a review of Henrico County Public Schools’ (HCPS) publicly available materials as of October 7, 2020.
All HCC PTA commentary is stated as such and designated through the use of italics. Further questions should be directed to HCPS via firstname.lastname@example.org