With layered health and safety mitigation strategies in place, schools are ready for the next step in the phased transition to full-time in-person learning for students. Beginning Monday, April 19, elementary school students will attend school in-person four days a week (M-Th). Middle and high school students will remain on the hybrid schedule with live, real-time instruction using classroom technology (M-Th). Fridays will continue to be a remote learning day for all grade levels. The schedule change follows a WJCC Schools Health Advisory Group presentation on updated CDC, health department, and VDOE guidance and social distancing recommendations. Watch the presentation and read about what the adjustments mean for your children.

Beginning Monday, April 19, elementary school students will attend school in-person four days a week (M-Th). Student desks equipped with barrier shields will be arranged in “learning pods” in classrooms with high enrollment as needed. An arrangement similar to the one shown below will provide 3’-6′ of social distancing between pods.

Classroom Learning Pod Diagram showing how groups of children remain 3 feet apart

Middle and high school students will remain on the hybrid schedule with live, real-time instruction using classroom technology (M-Th). Fridays will continue to be a remote learning day for all grade levels.

Why is the change happening now?

Over the last several weeks, schools have successfully phased in students at all grade levels and started to expand operations to open (at reduced capacity) some common areas of buildings. Additionally, recent research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that when multiple mitigation strategies are in use, social distancing may be reduced to 3 feet without significantly increasing illness risk.

Swiss cheese diagram showing multiple levels of protection

What does this mean for elementary school students?

  • All K-5 students (blue and green group) will attend school in person M-Th. Remote learning will continue on Fridays. Students will be grouped in learning pods within each classroom to limit close contacts.
  • Bright Beginnings will continue to follow their current schedule.
  • Social distancing will range from 3-6 feet based on the number of students enrolled in the class. In large classes, student desks with barrier shields may be grouped in small learning pods as shown above.
  • Everyone must wear a face covering on the bus and at school unless they are eating a meal.
  • Classrooms will use air purifiers or enhanced HVAC filters, and desks will be cleaned throughout the day.
  • Frequent handwashing will be encouraged with time built into the school day.
  • Classrooms and common areas will be disinfected daily.
  • Students will continue eating meals in their classrooms and schools will begin exploring opportunities for eating in the cafeteria while following social distancing guidelines.
  • Centers teachers will provide live instruction for students and continue posting asynchronous work for all virtual academy students.

Why Are Middle and High Schools Staying on the Hybrid Schedule?

  • Using classroom panoramic cameras, middle and high school students are already receiving live, teacher-led instruction Monday-Thursday on the hybrid schedule. That technology is not widely available at elementary schools and does not ideally support flexible, small group instruction for reading and math.
  • Social distancing of at least 3′ cannot be maintained if all 6-12 grade students return to the building simultaneously.
  • Maintaining the hybrid schedule allows schools to host academic boot camps, tutoring, and small group support programs for students at risk of failing.
  • While students are learning remotely on Fridays, SOL testing, AP paper testing, remediation activities, and other academic support meetings will take place in buildings.
  • As a reminder, everyone must wear a face covering on the bus and at school unless they are eating a meal.
  • Classrooms will use air purifiers or enhanced HVAC filters, and desks will be cleaned throughout the day.
  • Frequent handwashing will be encouraged.
  • Classrooms and common areas will continue to be disinfected daily.

This week, students at every grade level and in every class are back in school buildings for face-to-face learning two days a week as part of the hybrid learning schedule. WJCC Schools safety teams are visiting schools and report that students are wearing their masks and successfully following the safety protocols in classrooms and hallways. Building upon that success, we want to share the next step in our phased transition to in-person learning.

Beginning March 15

All schools will operate on a full day/bell schedule while maintaining hybrid learning (2 days on-site and 3 days remote learning) with Blue and Green groups. Toano Middle School families should note that their school will operate on the traditional middle school schedule The Bright Beginnings program will continue to follow its current schedule.

School hours beginning March 15

  • High Schools: 7:20 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.
  • Middle Schools: 8:05 a.m. – 3:05 p.m. (Including Toano Middle)
  • Elementary Schools/Tier 2:  8:30 a.m. – 3:16 p.m. (D.J. Montague, James River, and Stonehouse)
  • Elementary Schools/Tier 3:  9:15 a.m. – 4:01 p.m. (Clara Byrd Baker, J. Blaine Blayton, Laurel Lane, Matoaka, Norge, and Matthew Whaley)
  • Bright Beginnings: Follows current schedule.

School Safety Practices

As we have said since the pandemic began, supporting student and staff health remains our highest priority. More than half of our staff is now fully vaccinated, and others will receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week. That coupled with our safety mitigation strategies and decreasing positivity rates locally support expanding our in-person learning schedule. For students to remain in school, we are asking all families and students to:

  • Assess student wellness every day before school using the WJCC Schools Symptom Checker.
  • Wear face coverings at all times (even on the bus) except when eating breakfast and lunch.
  • Maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible. In classrooms, social distancing may be as little as 3 feet as more students are in class at the same time.
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Follow signs in cafeterias, bathrooms, and hallways and maintain foot traffic as directed during class changes and arrival/dismissal.

Thank you for your partnership as we move forward with plans to expand in-person learning.

As we prepare to welcome students back to school buildings, timelines may change based on the division’s ability to implement essential health and safety strategies. For example, with more than 2,300 middle and high school students electing to learn virtually, the division has more social distancing options. Therefore, WJCC Schools is accelerating the timeline for middle and high school students to begin in-person learning.

Beginning February 16, fourth- and fifth-grade students will join students in grades Pre-K through three for in-person/hybrid learning. This is a week earlier than initially planned.

REVISED Timeline for Hybrid Learning

Week of February 16

Grades PreK-5, Select Special Education Students

Week of February 22

Grades 6, & 12

Week of March 1

Grades 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11

Hybrid learning includes two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning each week. On-site learning days are determined by the student’s last name (A-L on-site Monday and Tuesday; M-Z on-site Wednesday and Thursday).

Schools and the division will provide operational updates directly with families by text, email, and phone calls. Parents and guardians are encouraged to check their contact information in ParentVUE and notify the school office if the information has recently changed.

WJCC Schools awaiting new guidance from the Virginia Department of Education to update our Paths for Learning. Please continue to visit this page for the most up-to-date information.

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Need to activate a ParentVUE Account? Click to find out how.

Need to activate a ParentVUE Account?

For parents who have not activated their ParentVUE account, we are available to help get you set up. Please send an email to to receive an account activation code. Be sure to include the following information in your email:

  1. Parent full name
  2. Student(s) full name, school, and grade level
  3. Email address for the account
  4. Primary phone number

Once the request is received, we will begin the activation process and will send you the ParentVUE Activation Key with complete instructions.

NOTE: When both parents/guardians of a child wish to have an account, a separate email address is necessary for each. Shared email addresses will not work with the system.

Grab & Go Meals Pick Up

WJCC Schools is adjusting the distribution schedule for free “Grab and Go” meals. Breakfast and lunch items will be given out Monday-Thursday from 8-11 a.m. at the following schools:

Click here to view the “Grab and Go” Meal Schedule Adjustment for Winter Break

  • James River Elementary, Front Entrance
  • James Blair Middle, Bus Parking Lot
  • Toano Middle, Front Entrance
  • Matthew Whaley Elementary, Back Entrance

Note: Thursday meal distribution will include meals for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Click here to view a monthly lunch menu »

Grab & Go Meals Delivery

To request delivery service please complete the following survey: https://bit.ly/2CKz193


Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA) will generously provide free rides to and from these school locations to allow families to receive “Grab and Go” meals:

  • James River Elementary School, Front Entrance – WATA Route 1
  • James Blair Middle School, Bus Parking Lot – WATA Route 2 & Route 5
  • Toano Middle School,  Front Entrance – WATA Route 9

This schedule is subject to change based on the number of meals distributed at each location.