Forward WJCC Schools

It has been a whirlwind first week of school! We’ve loved seeing our students together in classrooms where learning has already started. There have been some back-to-school challenges to be sure – with buses and new lunchtime routines –  but our students, families and staff have been understanding and ready to pivot as we move forward together. We are incredibly grateful for your patience, support, and the trust you place in us to keep your children safe and learning in-person.

Remember, all students, staff members and school visitors must wear a face mask while indoors at school. You can read about our other COVID-19  prevention measures online. We encourage all families to use the WJCC Schools Symptom Checker to monitor your child’s health. Students who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, should not come to school.

Middle School Lunch Schedule Change

Lunch routines are changing at the division’s four middle schools. Beginning Tuesday, September 7, each school will expand to six lunch periods. The adjustment reduces the number of students in the cafeteria and allows for greater physical distancing when students are not wearing masks. Fewer people in lines also means that students will be able to pick up their lunch more quickly and have more time to eat.

Someone in My Child’s School Tested Positive for COVID. Now What?

This week, 32 students and five staff members from the division’s 16 schools tested positive for COVID-19. If someone at your child’s school is ill, school nurses and trained contact tracers use Virginia Department of Health guidelines to determine if anyone is considered a close contact (less than 3-6 feet apart without a mask for at least 15 minutes). Families of those close contacts are called individually by the school to discuss quarantine measures. The entire school community will receive an email through the WJCC School’s rapid notification system. To maintain students’ and staff’s privacy, WJCC Schools will not release the names of persons who test positive. You can see up-to-date data by school on the division’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Who Needs to Quarantine When A Classmate or Teacher has COVID?

Based on the recommendation of the division’s health advisory group and in alignment with the CDC, close contacts may return to school in as few as seven days if certain conditions are met. Continue Reading...

School Bus Stop Arm Cameras Catch Drivers Breaking the Law

A few weeks ago, we told you about new school bus stop arm cameras that help catch people illegally passing school buses as children get on and off. Good news: they are working! Seventy-one violations were issued during the first three days of school. Each violation carries a $250 penalty.

Here’s an example of the photo that the cameras take. According to police, this was taken on Aug. 30 as the car passed a stopped bus with the stop arm extended and flashing lights on. Before you hit the road, read these reminders about when you need to stop for a school bus.

New Kindergarten Backpack ID System

With the start of the school year, WJCC Schools launched a new backpack ID tag system for kindergarten families as a safety measure on school buses. Drivers scan the tag anytime a kindergartener gets on or off the bus. Adults who meet kindergarteners at the bus must have a matching tag in order to take the child home. Parents/guardians should login to ParentVUE to be sure that contact information is correct for anyone authorized to meet the school bus.

Welcoming Volunteers Back to Schools

We are excited to welcome a limited number of volunteers to school buildings for the 2021-2022 school year. To minimize risk of COVID transmission in schools and protect in-person learning, we are prioritizing volunteer activities for instructional support.

At elementary schools, tutors are assisting with math and reading as we work with students on unfinished learning from last year. Until students in grades PreK- 5 are able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, schools are reducing the number of adults who visit buildings and interact with students. As a result, we are not hosting extra curricular activities or after-school volunteer opportunities at elementary schools at this time.

Middle and high schools are hosting volunteers during the instructional day to help with academic support. After-school, however, volunteers are welcome to assist with athletic, fine arts, and clubs. Student participation in after-school activities is optional.

In all cases, volunteer positions are subject to the needs of the school and principal approval.

If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the school division website to complete an application.

Staying in SHIP Shape

The School Health Initiative Program (SHIP) is excited to be back in school with our students!  SHIP staff are working with many elementary classes to infuse physical activity into academic learning. They are also teaching nutrition to our kindergarten, first and second graders. Additionally, wellness integrators support our students with stress reduction and mindfulness exercises and resources.

While SHIP will not have elementary after-school Challenge Clubs in person this fall, we will have some new and exciting options for our families, including a Virtual Garden Club Kit and a Virtual Chefs’ Challenge Kit. Online registration will begin in October, and kits will be sent home with students containing all of the supplies needed. For younger students, SHIP will offer a 6-week virtual Active-Read-Aloud, perfect for kindergarten – 2nd grade students. For the whole family, SHIP will offer an 8-week at-home Running Club.  Weekly instructional videos will include everything you need to know from warm-ups and running instruction to healthy eating tips. Sign-up information will be coming soon!

Research and Resources