Welcome Back!

We hope you all had a wonderful break, and you are refreshed for the new year. We want to take a moment to say thank you for your patience as we navigated the inclement weather earlier this week. We are excited to have students back in classrooms and cannot wait to see what they accomplish in the new year.

WJCC Schools adopts CDC and VDH isolation, quarantine guidance

Effective Monday, Jan. 10, WJCC Schools will follow the CDC (English | Spanish) and Virginia Department of Health’s recently-released and updated guidance on isolation and quarantine. The Division recognizes these guidelines as a minimum baseline. We encourage families to continue implementing layered mitigation strategies when out in the community, like wearing a mask, distancing to the greatest extent possible, regularly washing hands and sanitizing high-touch surfaces.

What do the revised guidelines mean for students and staff?

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.

Isolate for 5 days. Day 0 for someone experiencing symptoms is the first day they experienced symptoms. Day 0 for someone who is asymptomatic is the date of their positive test.

An individual is eligible to return to school on Day 6 if they have not experienced any symptoms over the previous 24 hours or symptoms are improving AND if they can wear a mask effectively. As a reminder, symptoms include:

  • Temperature of 100º F or greater
  • Cough (new issue; more than just occasional or asthma related)
  • Shortness of breath (new issue, not a diagnosed medical issue)
  • Not feeling well; shaking/chills; feeling feverish; extreme fatigue
  • Headache (not just occasional; not a diagnosed medical condition; if accompanied with other symptoms no entry should be considered)
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • New-onset sore throat
  • New congestion or runny nose
  • Muscle pain all over body (new issue, not a diagnosed medical issue)
  • Vomiting within the last 24 hours
  • Diarrhea today or within the last 24 hours (new issue, not a diagnosed medical issue)

Quarantine is for individuals identified as close contacts of COVID-positive cases.

When possible, any individual exposed to a COVID-positive case should test five days after exposure. Quarantine may be shortened or eliminated, depending on an individual’s specific circumstances. Our school nurses will continue to support families in determining the proper quarantine length for their circumstances.

Additional isolation and quarantine information:

  • Students participating in athletics or conditioning may not participate in these activities during the 10 days following the onset of symptoms (isolation period) or 10 days following their last close contact exposure (if they are unvaccinated or have not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days) due to their inability to wear a mask effectively during play.
  • In some instances, household contacts may need to quarantine or isolate for a period longer than five days. Division staff will continue to work with families to identify the appropriate quarantine or isolation length.
  • If a student or staff member has already been given a return to school/work date, it may now be reduced by five days by simply counting back five days on the calendar. For example, if a student was previously eligible to return to school on Thursday, Jan. 13, their quarantine/isolation would now end on Saturday, Jan. 8. That student is now eligible to return to school on Monday, Jan. 10.
  • The guidance for early childhood programs has not yet changed and will continue as it has since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

While we know that in-person instruction is best for our students, and we continue to be committed to keeping our schools open five days a week, we also understand the concern as COVID-19 cases surge in our area and across the nation. As a reminder, state law no longer allows us to move to virtual instruction as a school division. We are limited to making those decisions on a school-by-school or classroom-by-classroom basis. That said, our focus continues to be on keeping schools open and keeping our students and staff as safe as possible while they are in our buildings.

As we continue to learn about the transmissibility of COVID-19, we will rely on the CDC, VDH, and our Health Advisory Team to guide us in protecting the health and safety of our community. Thank you for your support in keeping our community healthy.

Please contact the COVID helpline at 603-5883 or covidhelp@wjccschools.org with any questions.

WJCC Course Planning and Curriculum Fair

Students and families are invited to participate in the WJCC Course Planning and Curriculum Fair virtually this year. During the fair participants can watch videos related to the course offerings in WJCC at both the middle school and high school levels. Additionally, school counselors have created a session on the course planning and registration process. To access this year’s Course Planning and Curriculum Fair, please visit Course Planning and Curriculum Fair page.  If you have questions related to any of the courses or about the course planning please submit your question to the High School Curriculum Fair Question form or the Middle School Curriculum Fair Question form by Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. WJCC staff will share responses in the next Family Newsletter.

Is it a cold or something more?

We love to have our students back, but not if they are not feeling well. Please keep students home if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms on the WJCC Symptom Checker (English / Spanish).

Optional Screening Testing

Optional screening testing is a critical strategy to rapidly identify positive cases of COVID-19. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, we encourage families to sign their students up for a the ViSSTA screening program , a FREE routine COVID-19 screening testing program. Participation and all testing is voluntary; only students with a signed consent form will be tested. Testing will take place during the school day. To take part, families should complete an online form for each school-aged child in their family.

Diagnostic Testing for COVID-19

Students experiencing symptoms have several options available for COVID-19 diagnostic testing. One option is to get a test administered by a health care provider. Testing sites can be searched through the Virginia Department of Health tool.  The other option is to use a COVID-19 test kit available at your school’s main office. The test kit distributed by the school division is the only at-home test kit WJCC Schools currently accepts. To learn more about the at-home test kits, please visit the COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing page. A limited number of home tests will be available at all schools.

3 Tips for remembering a mask

Getting students ready and out the door on time can be difficult especially when coming back from break. To help ensure your students remember to bring their masks to to school please see the tips below.

Store Masks with School Supplies
Storing masks in the same place as backpacks and other school items allows families to grab everything they need for the day at one time. It is also helpful to clip masks to backpacks so you can easily do a visual check as they walk out the door.

Have a checklist by the door
Create a checklist of items needed for school and place it by the door. Make masks the number one item and check the list every day before leaving for school.

Place extra masks in backpacks
We all know crazy days are going to happen. Go ahead and plan for them and place extra masks in your student’s backpack.

Important Dates

Resources

  • COVID-19 Dashboard: Get the most up-to-date COVID-19 numbers. The dashboard is updated daily with isolation and quarantine numbers and positive cases by school.
  • Symptom Checker (EnglishSpanish): Use the WJCC Symptom Checker daily to evaluate your student’s health for COVID-19.

Research and Resources