Frequently Asked Questions
Why did GCPS choose virtual learning?
Dr. Evans presented data from parent and staff surveys, local and state COVID-19 health statistics, guidance from the Governor, VDH, VDOE, the Crater Region Health District, and information from the GCPS Return to Learn Taskforce to the board. The taskforce presented two options for the board’s consideration: virtual learning for the first 9 weeks for elementary students and the first semester for secondary students or 1 day per week in-person hybrid. The board voted to return to learn virtually for the first 9 weeks for all students.
How will GCPS provide meals to students when the school year begins with virtual learning?
GCPS has provided meals for students throughout the closure and summer. When the school year begins on September 8 with virtual learning for all students, the national school lunch program starts back up to provide free meals (breakfast and lunch) to students. As we continue to plan for the opening, we are assessing students’ needs and school schedules and will make adjustments to meal distributions.
Could school buses and drivers be deployed to deliver food to homes or closer than the current distribution sites?
We are currently planning to follow the school bus routes for delivery of meals. Because the county is so widespread, door-to-door delivery will be challenging. The number of students requiring meal service, will determine how the meals are distributed.
What is the criteria that will be considered in making a decision to move from virtual to hybrid learning?
A variety of data points will be used to make that decision. Those data points fall into the area of operational, health, and safety considerations; including (but not limited to) local, regional, and national COVID-19 health data (community spread rate, number of positive cases, hospitalizations, and death rates) and local, state, and federal health and educational guidance.
How does the full-time virtual learning model differ from the virtual learning students received at the end of the year?
The full-time virtual learning model will be very different from what was offered at the end of the year. In the full-time model for all students:
- Students will receive interactive, teacher led/synchronous instruction four days per week – Monday – Thursday. Teachers will interact with students daily Monday – Thursday.
- Classes will follow a daily schedule similar to a normal school day.
- New instructional content will be taught, work will be graded, and attendance will be taken.
- Students will have opportunities for small-group work with teachers and peers.
- All students in grades PreK-12 will be issued devices (Chromebooks for grades 2 – 12 and iPads for PreK and K).
- Comprehensive specialized services for English Learners, Special Education and Gifted students will be provided.
- Resources will be offered for parents
When does the 1st nine weeks end?
The end of the 1st nine weeks is November 10.
Will there be an open house?
Yes, elementary schools will host a drive-thru open house and secondary schools will host a virtual open house for students prior to students returning to school. Additional information will be shared by each principal.
Will Homebound and Homebased services be provided?
Due to the lack of control of all variables in the home setting, we are unable to implement a safe plan to send service providers into students’ homes at this time. Homebound and Homebased services will be provided virtually.
How will skills that were not taught at the end of the year be taught in the new year?
The essential skills and knowledge that was not covered during the spring will be incorporated throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
Will sports be played during the upcoming year?
VHSL has voted to delay the start of the 2020-2021 high school sports season by implementing a compressed sports schedule that would run, as of now, from December 14 – June 26. The schedule below is the tentative seasons start and end dates:
- Season 1 (Winter) Dec. 14 – Feb. 20 (First contest date – December 28) – Basketball, Gymnastics, Indoor Track, Swim/Dive, Wrestling
- Season 2 (Fall) Feb. 15 – May 1 (First contest date – March 1) – Cheer, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Volleyball
- Season 3 (Spring) Apr. 12 – Jun. 26 (First contest date – April 26) – Baseball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field
These dates are subject to change!
How will G-Force be impacted?
The music education portion of the band curriculum will continue as normal for students in band classes. Additionally, students who are in various ensembles will continue to learn and grow virtually. The performance portion of the bands will be impacted due to the delay of the high school sports season and cancellations of expected events.
How will GCPS provide special education services with virtual learning at the start of the school year?
IEP and 504 teams will meet to adjust services to align with virtual instruction. Special education eligibility assessments and re-evaluations will continue to be conducted in a virtual format (as we did this summer). Instruction will be provided that aligns with students’ IEP services and goals, as well as small group instruction within the general education virtual classroom. Progress will be monitored on an ongoing basis to identify successes and opportunities to intensify support, if needed. Teletherapy will be used to deliver related services such as counseling, speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
How will instruction be delivered at the start of the school year in the virtual learning model for students who are English Learners?
English Learners will receive interactive, synchronous instruction four days per week, which will focus on English language development (based on WIDA standards) and content attainment (based on Virginia Standards of Learning). Students will have opportunities to use the four language domains (reading, writing, speaking, listening), receive new instructional content, and student work will be graded. EL teachers will collaborate and co-teach with grade level teachers and provide pull-out instruction.
Where can students and families get help with a technology question or the devices that will be provided?
Each school and the Department of Technology will share information with families about how the school will distribute devices to students. For technical questions, you can call the Tech Hotline at 434-634-6681.
What steps will GCPS take to ensure all students have access to the needed technology for virtual learning?
We are committed to ensuring all students have a device and access to reliable internet at home. For the 2020-21 school year, GCPS is providing all students with a device. We will provide hotspots (on a first come first served basis) for students who need them. We are supporting Greensville County in seeking a grant with Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (Empower) to apply for VATI funds for the installation of broadband in areas along Highway 301 North that are currently underserved.
How will GCPS support students’ mental health and well-being?
GCPS has SEL embedded in its curriculum through Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports, The Profile of a Virginia Graduate, Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning, and Health and Education Standards of Learning. This tiered guide can help strengthen a positive and nurturing return to learning.
Social Emotional Learning
- Tier I represents a universal approach to ensure that all students experience a safe, supportive environment and receive high-quality core academic instruction and prevention-focused systems that promote positive behavior. School counselors will provide evidence-based supports based on the needs of the entire student population, which are then made available to all students.
- Tier II provides targeted, evidence-based academic and behavioral supports to students for whom Tier I supports are insufficient. These supports include small-group interventions facilitated by the Intervention Specialist. Students will have to be referred for Tier II support. Additional assistance/mental health consultation can be provided by the School Social Worker, School Psychologist or School Counselor.
- Tier III provides highly intensive and individualized academic and behavioral support to students for whom Tier I and Tier II supports are insufficient. These supports may be provided by School Social Worker, School Psychologist, School Counselor or Mental Health Counselor. Students will have to be referred for Tier III support. Parents will have the opportunity to schedule a social/emotional session face to face or virtually with the school counselor and/or school social worker.
Mental Health and Well-Being
Mental health supports for students include a tiered approach:
- Teachers have embedded skills that include breaks, coping strategies, and brain breaks into their instructional practices.
- Opportunities for virtual/in-person class lessons on topics surrounding anxiety, engagement in learning, motivation, coping skills, social skills, organizational skills etc. (cyber safety, anti-bullying, cyber bullying depression, and parent problems).