WJCC Schools Families and Staff:
As we continue to navigate the many challenges the pandemic presents, principals and I remain focused on our students’ health, safety, and education as well as the wellness of our staff. Our central office and school leaders monitor health data daily, seek guidance from health department officials, and confer with school board members as we plan for all scenarios of remote, blended, and in-person learning.
The increasing number of COVID cases locally and regionally is causing great concern right now. This week alone, seven WJCC Schools students and staff members reported positive COVID-19 tests. Several others said they must quarantine following direct contact with a friend or family member who has tested positive.
According to the Peninsula Health Department’s daily locality metric, James City County has seen increases in cases for the last 36 consecutive days. Additionally, WJCC Schools has been at both the higher and highest risk level for transmission over the last five days based on CDC school metrics.
This data cannot be ignored. For the safety of our staff and students, it forces us to pivot our instructional operations once again. Beginning Monday, December 7, the majority of WJCC Schools students will learn remotely until at least January 11. The only exceptions are the division’s most vulnerable students – the special education and English Language learners who have been learning on site since September. They will continue to be in classrooms until Winter Break. Additionally, middle and high schools will offer in-person learning supports for designated students. Schools will contact identified families in advance.
Remaining in a remote learning environment maintains an instructional routine and provides stability for students, especially our youngest learners. Furthermore, it allows families to make longer-term childcare plans and arrangements for consistent live, synchronous learning rather than jumping back and forth between Paths and learning methods over the next two weeks. We will continue to monitor data and consult with health department experts as we plan beyond January 11.
We value the diverse viewpoints in our community and understand that any plan for remote, blended, or in-person learning will be met with both support and criticism. I want to assure you that decisions are made with careful consideration using the best information we have at the time.
I’m asking all families to join us in practicing social distancing, wearing your face covering, and washing your hands frequently. We must all do our part to keep our community safe and our students on track for in-person learning.
By working together and caring for one another, we will strengthen our community and our schools. As always, thank you for your support.
Olwen E. Herron, Ed.D.