Richmond County Public Schools Reopening 2020: Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  When will school reopen? 

A:  This will depend on the phase of reopening that Virginia is in.  If Virginia is in phase II, school will start on August 17.  If Virginia is in phase III, school will start on August 17.  If Virginia is in “Beyond Phase III”, school will start on August 17.   

Summer school will be held for targeted students July 27 through August 7, under the Phase II guidelines. 

Staff will return to work on Monday, August 10.


Q: Who can come to school?

A: This will depend on the phase of reopening that Virginia is in.  If Virginia is in phase II, students in pre-K through 3, Students With Disabilities and English Language Learners can attend school, but with social distancing measures in place. 

If Virginia is in phase III, all students can attend, BUT there must be a staggered schedule. 

If Virginia is in “Beyond Phase III”, all students can attend, every day. However, RCPS will continue the alternating week schedule through the end of the first semester.


Q: What is a staggered schedule?

A:  This is a schedule where different groups of students attend school on an alternating basis.  There are many models for this, but RCPS will be operating on alternating weeks.  So one week (Red Week) half of the students will attend school, and the second week (Gray Week), the other half of students will attend.

We are making every effort to schedule all family members for the same week, if we have to use an alternating schedule.


Q: What will health screenings look like for students and staff?

A: Staff members and students will have their temperatures taken with infrared thermometers.  Any person with a fever will not be allowed to enter the school building.  Students riding buses will have their temperatures taken before getting completely on the bus; students with fevers will have to return home.

A detailed screening procedure will be documented in the Health Mitigation Plan that the division will submit to the VDOE and post on our website.


Q: What social distancing measures will be in place?

A: Students and staff will need to be 6 feet apart during the school day and on the buses.  If six feet cannot be maintained in the classroom, staff and students (as developmentally appropriate) will need to wear masks. 

Communal spaces should not be used in phase II, but can be in limited use by less than 50 individuals during phase III, as long as 6 feet distance is kept.


Q: Will students be required to wear masks?

A: If it is developmentally appropriate for the student, he or she will be required to wear masks when they are not able to keep a six foot distance from others in phases II and III. It is up to division staff to determine what is developmentally for students. 


Q: How will our students eat if they cannot use the cafeteria?

A: Students will pick up breakfast as they enter the school building and eat in the classrooms, as they have in the past.

We are currently working on developing a lunch plan that will be aligned with social distancing expectations and USDA meal requirements.  


Q: How will we maintain social distancing on the buses?

A:  Alternating weeks will help with reducing numbers of students riding buses.  Seating will be staggered and additional runs will be made if necessary, in order to enforce 6 foot social distancing. Individuals living in the same residences will be allowed to sit on the same seats. 


Q: What about athletics?

A:  On June 11, the VHSL sent a memo letting schools know “out-of-season” practice can be held between June 15 and July4, once the Health Mitigation Plan is created and submitted to the VDOE.  It is very important to take into account that this plan must be individually developed by each school district, in conjunction with their local health departments, and it is recommended that it be submitted to the School Board attorney once complete.  While we are diligently working on this process, it may take up to two weeks to complete our plan and submit it.  

For all other fall sports, RCPS is awaiting further guidance from the Virginia High School League, which is targeted for update on June 25, 2020. 


Q: What about classes like PE, Band, Chorus, JROTC and others like this?

A: RCPS is currently planning to offer these courses, following VDOE and VDH guidance to ensure student safety.


Q: What type of schedule with RHS have next year?

A:  While we were planning on operating a 4x4 schedule during the 20-21 school year, we will not be making this change at this time.  RHS will run an A/B block schedule, which will help ensure content is covered in all 8 courses throughout the  year.


Q:  What will Home Learning Time be like?

A:  For students in K-4, computers will be given to students to take home with content downloaded so that the internet is not needed to complete assignments.  Science and social studies will be the focus of HLT weeks, and will be based on content provided by Virtual Virginia.  There will also be a math and reading activity to complete each day.

For students in 5-7, computers will be taken home and content will be based on Virtual Virginia modules during HLT weeks.   

For students in 8-12, computers and Canvas content will be used during HLT weeks.

Students will be held accountable for work assigned during Home Learning Time weeks.  The VDOE is requiring divisions to develop plans that allow for new learning to take place, even in an entirely distance learning environment.


Q: What if we enter beyond Phase III before the end of the first semester?

A: We will continue with the staggered schedule throughout the first semester, even if the state enters “Beyond Phase III” before January.


Q: How will classrooms and buses be sanitized?

A: Each day classroom and buses will be sanitized using special equipment that ionizes a CDC-approved chemical that will destroy viruses on surfaces.  RCPS has purchased three units to assist with this, and has contracted with Service Master to provide additional sanitizing daily, using additional staff members.

All classrooms will have access to sanitizing spray and wipes and hand sanitizer will also be available in each classroom.


Q: What happens if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID19?

A: This will be addressed in the RCPS Health Mitigation Plan, which is currently being developed using VDOE and VDH guidelines.  This plan must be submitted to the VDOE and posted on our website.  More information will follow on this, as available.

The Health Mitigation Plan will also address incidences of confirmed cases when individuals have been participating in athletic practice, or other extracurricular activities.


Q:  I am a teacher with young children.  Will the division be doing anything to help us with this?

A:  Yes, we are working on a plan to assist staff members with school aged child care for their own children.  More information will follow on this. 


Additional questions can be submitted here

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Warsaw, VA 22572
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