Schools will follow an adjusted schedule for the first semester

Icons of a bus and clock with the text, "WJCC Schools will follow an adjusted schedule for the first semester."

The 5-10-minute change to school hours will remain in place for the first semester following a successful two-week pilot. The slight shift in schedules increases the time between afternoon bus routes leading to better service. This week, more than 75% of buses were on time and ready to pick up students when the dismissal bell rang. 

School Hours for First Semester

Tier 1 – High Schools
Jamestown, Lafayette, and Warhill: 7:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Tier 2 – Middle and Elementary Schools
Lois S. Hornsby, James Blair, Berkeley, and Toano: 8 a.m. – 2:50 p.m.
D.J. Montague, James River, Stonehouse: 8:55 a.m. – 3:25 p.m.

Tier 3 – Elementary Schools
Clara Byrd Baker, J. Blaine Blayton, Laurel Lane, Matoaka, Matthew Whaley, and Norge: 9:40 a.m. – 4:10 p.m.

Note: Bright Beginnings preschool times will not change

The schedule change is not the only step the division is taking to improve transportation service. WJCC Schools continues to hire and train bus drivers; three new drivers are on the road this week, and ten others are at various stages of training. In addition, the transportation department is constantly reviewing bus routes and will use vans from the division’s white fleet instead of full-size buses for runs with a small number of students. 

All these efforts will be evaluated throughout the first semester, and an update will be provided to families and staff in early January.

COVID-19 Impact on High School Sports

Keeping students healthy and learning in-person full-time is our number one goal this school year. To do that, we must take every precaution possible to limit transmission and exposure to COVID-19. Staff recently reviewed COVID-19 data and the impact of cases on high school sports. Since the start of the school year:

  • 48.7% of students identified as close contacts from exposure to COVID-19 at school are directly related to participation in sports. 
  • 96 students have been quarantined because of a school athletics-related exposure to COVID-19. 

Although the school division does not currently require COVID-19 vaccinations for student-athletes, we strongly encourage anyone old enough to get their COVID shot and take part in the weekly screening testing described in this newsletter. According to health experts, vaccinations and consistent use of face masks indoors are the best strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our schools open full-time. 

The school division will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and, if necessary, suspend or cancel team conditioning, practices or athletic competitions based on positive cases or the number of student-athletes exposed to the virus. In addition, the division may – based on data – update its conditions for safe play in the future.

Do your part: get your COVID-19 vaccine

WJCC Schools is partnering with Williamsburg Drug to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations for students 12-years or older and WJCC Schools employees. Families and staff can sign up in advance to receive their first or second dose of the vaccine at upcoming clinics. Register using the links below.

Thursday, Oct. 14 

  • Jamestown HS: 8 – 9 a.m.
  • Berkeley MS: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Lafayette HS: 11 a.m. – noon
  • James Blair MS: 1 – 2 p.m.

English Registration Form:

Spanish Registration Form:

Friday, Oct. 15 

  • Warhill HS: 8 – 9 a.m.
  • Hornsby MS: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Toano MS: 11 a.m. – noon

English Registration Form:

Spanish Registration Form:

Monday, Nov. 8 

  • Warhill HS: 8 – 9 a.m.
  • Lafayette HS: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m
  • Jamestown HS: 11 a.m. – noon
  • Berkeley MS: 8:15 – 9:15 a.m.
  • James Blair MS: 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
  • Hornsby MS: 11:15 a.m. – 12:15pm
  • Toano MS: 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

Registration for this date will open closer to Nov. 8. 

Free COVID-19 Screening for students and staff

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school community, WJCC Schools is launching a FREE routine COVID-19 screening testing program for students and staff. The program, organized by the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education, tests groups of students and staff weekly to see if there are asymptomatic carriers of COVID in our schools. Many COVID-19 infections result from contact with a person who does not have symptoms; screening testing can help identify people who may be contagious, allowing families and the school division to take steps to keep the virus from spreading.

Participation in the Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program and all testing is voluntary; only students and staff members with a signed consent form will be tested. Screening testing will take place at school during the school day. Although ViSSTA is intended for people who are not fully vaccinated, vaccinated individuals may also participate. WJCC Schools encourages all families to allow their children to be part of the screening testing since it is a vital tool to keep our school community healthy and our schools open. In particular, student-athletes are asked to sign up to help curb potential exposure to the virus among teammates who are often in close contact with one another.

To take part in ViSSTA testing, families should complete an online form for each school-aged child in your family.

Tracking COVID-19 in our schools

The WJCC Schools COVID Dashboard gives families and the community a snapshot of COVID-19 cases impacting our schools. Updated twice daily, the dashboard includes:

  • Local transmission rates for Williamsburg and James City County;
  • The number of students and staff who have tested positive for COVID; and
  • The number of students and employees who are in quarantine because of potential exposure.

As a reminder, WJCC Schools uses layered prevention measures at our schools, such as face masks, enhanced air filtration systems, and frequent handwashing. According to health experts, vaccinations and consistent use of face masks indoors are the best strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our schools open full-time.

SHIP Virtual Clubs are back

Sign up for SHIP Virtual Garden Club

Grades K-5, learn how to grow your own food!

You’ll receive a garden kit for 3 weeks of windowsill gardening activities and videos to do at home. The first 200 families to respond will receive a kit. Kits will be distributed in classrooms on Oct. 13. Let’s get growing!

SHIP Garden Club Sign-up

Sign up for SHIP Virtual Family Run Club

SHIP is offering an eight-week Family Run Program presented through a series of informational videos starting October 11th. The program will offer training tips, healthy eating tips, a running plan to help you achieve the distance of a 5K, which is 3.1 miles, plus much more!

Sign up now!

Heroes of Hope

Each month during the school year, WJCC Schools honors teachers and staff members who go above and beyond their regular duties to support students and one another. These dedicated, compassionate, and selfless individuals are WJCC Schools Heroes of Hope. This month, we celebrate the following staff members for their leadership of the WJCC Summer School program:

  • Leah Horrell – James River Elementary
  • Janet Delfico – James Blair Middle School
  • Afton Bell-Hill – Warhill High School
  • Stephanie Vermiere – Warhill High School 
  • Courtney Fuller – Office of Special Education Services
  • Peter Grabowski – Office of Special Education Services
  • Marie Nice – Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Visit our website to nominate a Hero of Hope from your school.

Kindergarten Bus Identification Cards

We owe a big thank you to our kindergarten families for adopting the new bus identification card system so quickly. Because of your diligence in using the identification cards, the system is running beautifully. As a reminder, students’ bus identification cards should be attached to the left outer strap of backpacks, so bus drivers can easily see the cards.