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     Updated Letter from Dr Kizner 
     
     
     
     
     September 25, 2020
     

    Dear SCPS Families and Staff,

    As we just finished our 4th week of school I want to again thank all of the students, parents, and staff for working together to support each other as we navigate the new learning environment due to COVID-19.  I fully recognize that for many virtual learning and teaching requires a great amount of work and long hours. We have received significant feedback with suggestions on how we can improve the process and we are taking the steps to address those suggestions that are doable and keep us in compliance with state and federal requirements. We posted on our website an August 28th memo from the State Superintendent that explains the number of hours we need to teach in the core subject areas. The positive news is that the state is providing all school systems flexibility on how we can meet those hours defined in the memo.

    Kindergarten Pilot and Elementary Return Program

    As we continue to bring more students back to school for face-to-face instruction, we will pilot a kindergarten program in five schools (Kate Waller Barrett, Hartwood, Conway, Widewater, and Rockhill Elementary) beginning on October 6th. This pilot will allow us to create best practices to implement for the return of all K-5 students on October 26th. Parents will continue to have the option of 100% virtual instruction. Your child’s school will contact parents to determine interest and place students in the face-to-face pilot.

    Elementary schools are also planning for the October 26th return of K-5 students. If your child is in grades 3-5, you will be receiving communication from your school soon to discuss the hybrid model in greater detail. Parents in grades K-2 should have received this information. If you have not, please contact your child’s principal. Again, parents will have the option to remain in a 100% virtual learning environment. We will also be revising our elementary schedule to include more frequent synchronous learning with your child’s teacher (from 2 days a week to 4 days a week) and reduce the length of the current synchronous days.  This adjustment is based on staff and parent feedback and will begin October 26th for all students in grades K-5.  

    It is important to note that the Kindergarten Pilot and the K-5 Hybrid Model are both subject to health trends as reported by the Virginia Health Department and health trends specific to Stafford County Public Schools. The Virginia Department of Health uses 14 days to determine a positive, negative, or fluctuating trend. We have also created an SCPS Coronavirus Data Dashboard that you can find on our website.  This will be updated weekly by Tuesday mornings. It is also important to remember that any student that participates in any of our onsite programs must follow all health mitigation requirements approved by the school board on July 21st and July 28th.  We will continue to follow our protocol for care of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

    School Athletics

    On Tuesday, September 22, the school board approved a plan that allows athletics and activities to resume on Monday, October 5, 2020. The plan allows coaches and sponsors to hold a two hour practice, twice per week, outdoors, following the SCPS Athletics and Activities Phase Health and Safety Protocols. All students who plan to participate MUST have a current VHSL Physical (dated May 1, 2020 or later) and a signed parent consent form on file with the school. I believe it is beneficial to the physical and mental well-being of our students to return to activities and athletics, and we will follow all protocols necessary to ensure the safety of our students, coaches, and sponsors. It is critically important that we strictly adhere to all necessary safety procedures to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.

    Health Information
    As a reminder, the SCPS face covering policy states that “All students and staff shall wear face coverings at all times on school board property as developmentally appropriate unless exempted due to a medical condition. The Centers for Disease Control provides exemptions for young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious or incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. When appropriate, face shields will be utilized by staff and/or students to meet student and staff needs. Employees who work in individual offices and areas may remove the face mask when they are alone. ” As a learning community, we must all understand and follow this policy to minimize the risk of spreading infection in our schools. Any parent or visitor to our schools must also follow the health requirements adopted by the school board.

    Flu season is fast approaching. The CDC and VDH have stressed the importance of everyone receiving the Flu Vaccine this year. This is a small precaution that will help us remain healthy as more students enter our buildings. Please remember to check your child for symptoms of illness before they leave home. If your student has a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, body aches, fever, chills, headache, congestion, please keep them home. If their symptoms persist, please see your healthcare provider for an evaluation.

    Again, I want to thank everyone for their continued support and sharing successes and ways we can improve. We are all in this together and I recognize there are many diverse thoughts on what is the best approach to our teaching and learning model. There are no easy answers but our decisions remain focused on the two goals that I have stated frequently; Create a safe, return to school environment for students and staff, and ensure that every student is able to actively engage in their selected learning approach.

    My next letter will be sent on October 16th unless there is a need to share information prior to that date. I wish all of you a great and healthy weekend. Please remember that all of us have a responsibility in helping to reduce the COVID-19 virus spread in Stafford County. Please follow the recommended health guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health.

    Sincerely, 

    Scott R. Kizner, Ph. D.

    Superintendent


    August 14, 2020
     

    Dear SCPS Families and Staff,

    This week we welcomed all staff back into our buildings. I had the opportunity to visit many of our schools, and am very pleased with the excitement among our educators as well as the COVID-19 prevention measures in place. Our teachers, paraprofessionals, specialists, and administrators have focused much of their time and energy on learning about the most effective teaching strategies using the Canvas Learning Management System and other teaching and learning platforms. I also want to recognize our school counselors and others who are working extremely hard in making the schedule changes that are necessary to meet your child’s academic requirements. 

    In two short weeks on August 31st, students will begin the 2020-2021 school year. To help families prepare for the virtual return, each school will provide a virtual Town Hall before school begins that addresses building specific questions. Information regarding the date and time of your school’s Town Hall is available on your school’s homepage. You may also find a full schedule for all schools as an announcement on the homepage of the school division’s website. We understand that many families have children in multiple schools. Each school will record their town hall so that you may watch it when it is convenient for your family. Please also note that modifications to the July 21st Superintendent’s proposal for the Returning to School During the COVID-19 Plan were made by the School Board on July 28th. The presentation is available on our website.

    Last week, you were provided with instructions that allowed you to determine if your child was assigned as a Group A or Group B student. SCPS assigned your student to a group now to facilitate a smoother transition if we are able to start a hybrid instructional model during the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, assigning groups now allows us to notify you of any changes in the virtual school schedule. The first week of school SCPS will be closed on Friday, September 4th as required by State Law and Monday, September 7th due to the Labor Day holiday. In order to create consistency for students and to have four days of instruction, the following schedule will apply to:

                Elementary school students

    • Monday, August 31st and Tuesday, September 1st:  “A” Students will begin synchronous learning online with teacher(s).
    • Wednesday, September 2nd and Thursday, September 3rd:  “B” Students will begin synchronous learning online with their teacher(s).
    • Tuesday, September 8th, we will resume school on the regular A (Tuesday/Wednesday) and B (Thursday/Friday) schedule.

               Middle and High school students

    • Monday, August 31st and Wednesday. September 2nd: “X-Day” Students will begin synchronous learning online with teacher(s). 
    • Tuesday, September 1st and Thursday, September 3rd “Y-Day” Students will begin synchronous learning online with teacher(s).
    • Monday, August 31st through Thursday, September 3nd: “4X4” Students will have synchronous learning online with teacher(s).
    • On Tuesday, September 8th, we will resume school on the regular X-Day (Tuesday/Thursday) and Y-Day (Wednesday/Friday) schedule, with 4X4 synchronous resuming Tuesday through Friday.

    I have been asked whether students may use their own computer rather than an SCPS Chromebook for virtual learning. While your device may work, it is recommended that each student uses the Chromebook issued by the school for the best experience. SCPS Technology tests software we will use for instruction on our Chromebooks and we cannot guarantee that it will work on home computers. Additionally, school issued Chromebooks provide a consistent experience with instruction, such as icons that are located in the same place, etc. Teachers will know what to expect from student devices, and the devices are content filtered for student safety. 

    While families will receive important information about how to use Canvas, I invite you to familiarize yourself with this Learning Management System by visiting our SCPS Family and Student Canvas Resources website. Here you will find useful information and a list of Frequently Asked Questions related specifically to Canvas.

    We will host a Health Services and Mitigation Procedures Town Hall in the coming weeks. More information will be provided to you next week regarding how to submit questions, as well as the date and time for this event.  

    Our current summer meal service program will continue through Thursday, August 20, 2020. There will be no meal service during the week of August 24th as we plan and prepare to transition into the new school year. School curbside meal pick up and bus meal distribution will resume on Monday, August 31, 2020.  We are in the process of expanding our meal sites and enhancing our student menus for the 2020-2021 school year.  More detailed information on the meal sites and delivery schedules is forthcoming.   

    Each school year, families are encouraged to complete an application for free and reduced priced meals online. In most casesa family of 5 earning $56,758 or less qualifies for meal benefits. This year, the $.40 cent reduced lunch charge has been waived. Students eligible for reduced priced meals will now receive free meals. Please contact the School Nutrition department at 540-654-9040 for more information.

    It is essential that families register their kindergarten students. Although we are gathering information about your child's needs, you do not have to select an option for learning (Hybrid or Virtual) in order to register. Your information is critical for planning transportation and staffing needs. If you have not yet registered your kindergarten student, please complete the online process before August 31st.

    The Health requirements for Kindergarten and new student enrollments have not been waived. School physicals are required whether learning is virtual, in person, or hybrid. Updated Immunization records are also required for enrollment at all grade levels.  

    As a reminder, all 7th grade students require an updated Tdap vaccine before they can begin the 2020-2021 school year. SCPS Nurses, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health and the Medical Reserve Corps, are hosting a drive-through Tdap clinic this Tuesday, August 18th, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the Colonial Forge High School Bus Ramp. Please bring a copy of your child’s insurance card and immunization record. There is no copay or fee for this clinic; the Virginia Department of Health will bill your insurance for this immunization. 

    As always I thank all of you for your continued support of our efforts and recognition of the significant work that is required to prepare a school division from a traditional face-to-face  learning environment to a virtual learning environment for approximately 30,000 children. I have great confidence that by working together as a community we will not only meet the challenge but will exceed the challenge. 

    I end this week's letter by reminding everyone that we all have a responsibility in minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 virus in the Stafford community.  Please follow the health guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health. Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer containing 60% or greater Isopropyl or Ethyl alcohol, socially distance as much as possible, and  wear an appropriate face covering out in public.  Additionally, avoiding contact with others if you are not feeling well will go a long way in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I again wish all of you a great and healthy weekend.

    Sincerely,

    Scott R. Kizner, Ph.D.

    Superintendent


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    Stafford County Public Schools | 31 Stafford Ave, Stafford, VA 22554 | 540-658-6000
     
     
     
     
     

    March 23, 2020

    Dear SCPS Families and Staff:

    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced that all Virginia schools are closed through the end of the academic year. We are in the midst of a public health crisis and unfortunately, this drastic action had to be taken. I recognize that this is a challenging time for children, parents, and staff.  We have never experienced a situation that has created a disruption to the learning environment as we are experiencing now. I would like to share the following information as I know today:

    •    Within the next 24 hours, the Virginia Department of Education will provide guidance on high school graduation, verified and standard credits.
    •    High School seniors who are eligible will graduate this school year. The graduation ceremonies are not decided at this time. Principals are considering other options; however, we must follow any directives provided by the Governor, including the number of persons allowed to gather at one time.
    •    All Standards of Learning and International Baccalaureate (IB) testing will be cancelled.  Advanced Placement (AP) exams are being modified.  More information will follow.
    •    Our Grab and Go meal program will continue until further notice.  Please visit our website for the current schedule.

    There are many questions about home and online instructional activities. It is my objective to give our staff, who just returned from spring break, the time necessary to design quality online instructional activities for students to complete at home. As a starting point, there are at-home activities and digital resources available on the SCPS website. The Department of Education, over the next 24-48 hours, will provide all school systems guidance on what we can and cannot require students to complete at home. We will use this guidance to further develop a multi-phased approach to student learning plans.

    I recognize that this is a stressful time for many of us.  Your children realize this is not a normal break or vacation in the school schedule.  As adults, you and I are experiencing great uncertainty as it relates to this public health crisis.  Although the continuity of learning is important, I want us to remember that when people are under great stress, focus is often on other areas and not on learning. To me, it is important that the learning activities we provide as a school system do not provide greater stress than what you are already experiencing as a family. 

    I realize you may be working at home with disrupted work schedules. The computers you have may be needed for your own telework purposes. Your children will continue learning, and we are working through a transitional program over the next few weeks that will not cause overload or unnecessary anxiety to you and your child.

    As we continue to move through this uncertain time, please be mindful of the recommendation by Governor Northam, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to maintain social distancing. Governor Northam’s expectation of no more than 10 people congregating in one place is part of the plan to slow the spread of Covid-19.

    I cannot overstate the importance of following preventive measures to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Please continue to encourage preventative measures to avoid the spread of the virus:                     
    •    Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.  If unavailable, use a 60% or greater alcohol-based hand sanitizer.   
    •    Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
    •    Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing/coughing. Use a paper tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow.
    •    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    •    The CDC and the VDH recommend vaccination against the flu for anyone six months of age or older.
    •    If you have traveled to a high-risk country within the past 14 days or have been exposed to someone with a diagnosis of Covid-19, please refer to the VDH and CDC for guidance on self-quarantine and self-monitoring.
    •    If you are experiencing fever greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius, cough, or shortness of breath, call ahead to the healthcare provider/emergency room/emergency medical services to notify of your symptoms per guidance from VDH and CDC. 
    SCPS will provide more guidance in the near future. Please visit the division website at www.staffordschools.net for the latest information on Covid-19 and the school system. We remain committed to the health, safety and well-being of all students and staff.

    I thank all of you for your patience and understanding as we navigate a public health crisis that we have never experienced before. I am convinced that hardship and sacrifice will be required. By working together, we will get through this. As always, I appreciate your cooperation and look forward to working with you to strengthen our school system.

    Sincerely,

    Scott R. Kizner, Ph.D.
    Superintendent


     
     
     
     
       
     
     
     
     
     

     

     Letter from Dr Kizner regarding Coronovirus

     
     
     
     
     

    March 9, 2020

    Dear SCPS Families and Staff,

    Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) is focused on the health, safety, and well-being of our students and families. To that end, we continue to monitor the progression of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) through the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We continue to update plans for continuity of operations in the event SCPS is affected by this virus. The VDH has reported two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth as of Sunday, March 8, 2020.

    We are working closely with the health department and other state and local agencies preparing for various potential scenarios as the COVID-19 spread into the area.  A collaborative team has developed instructional alternatives in the event that SCPS is affected by COVID-19, impacting the school schedule. Please look for communication coming in the next few days to help us determine internet access for suggested learning activities, should we close for an extended period of time.  Just as in a severe weather incident, families should consider childcare plans in the event both schools and school-aged childcare are impacted.

    We are reassessing the daily routines to determine if large social gatherings should be minimized. When planning for any large gatherings, please remember Covid-19 has a high impact on people over 60 years of age and people with coexisting medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immunosuppressed individuals, as well as other medical conditions. We are discouraging staff and students from shaking hands or high-fiving; rather we are recommending non-physical ways of recognition.

    Please continue to encourage preventative measures to avoid the spread of illness:                     
    Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.  If unavailable, use a 60% or greater alcohol-based hand sanitizer.   
    Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
    Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing/coughing. Use a paper tissue or cough/sneeze into your sleeve.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    The CDC and VDH recommend vaccination for anyone six months of age or older against the flu. If you have traveled to a high-risk country within the past 14 days, please refer to the VDH and CDC for guidance on self-quarantine and self-monitoring. Please follow SCPS Health Services guidelines for keeping your student home from school when sick:

    Fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 degrees Celsius
    Vomiting within 24 hours
    Diarrhea
    Nasal drainage that is yellow or green
    Severe earaches (pain) or chronic productive (wet) cough
    General malaise or feeling fatigue, discomfort, weakness, or muscle aches

    As families make plans to travel during the upcoming Spring Break, please continue to use the preventative measures listed above. If you do not have access to soap and water, the use of 60% or greater alcohol-based hand sanitizer is recommended.  The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks for persons who are not infected by COVID-19.  If you plan to travel abroad, please check the CDC travel advisory page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html for travel alert information and precautions.


    SCPS will continue to work with the VDH and CDC regarding the return of students and staff from travel abroad or high-risk countries. Upon return from your travels, please refer to the CDC and VDH travel alert information for guidance. This situation is rapidly changing and the alerts and recommendations are also adjusting frequently.

    SCPS is continuing to increase cleaning routines to help prevent transmission of illnesses. We are using Oxivir TB disinfectant spray, which the Environmental Protection Agency recommends for use against Influenza, Tuberculosis, Norovirus, and COVID-19. This is a hospital-grade disinfectant product. Teachers have been provided the Oxivir TB spray for use in their classrooms to assist with the cleaning process. In addition, the custodial staff will sanitize and disinfect areas during Spring Break. 

    There have been few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19 to date. Limited reports from China suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present mild symptoms. Though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. However, as with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/children-faq.html

    The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has given some guidance for school systems should schools need to be closed due to COVID-19. Per VDOE recommendations, SCPS would work with the VDH on decisions to close schools due to an outbreak. As this situation continues to evolve, we will adjust operations based on collaboration with the VDH.

    The goal of SCPS is to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all students and staff.  Please remember that there is no connection between COVID-19 and race, ethnicity, or national origin.   We will continue to communicate updates on a regular basis. You can visit the SCPS website for division updates at www.staffordschools.net.  The concern and cooperation that we have received from stakeholders are greatly appreciated.  As you are aware, this is a rapidly evolving event, and your partnership is paramount in keeping our families safe.

    Sincerely,


    Scott R. Kizner, Ph.D.
    Superintendent
    Stafford County Public Schools

     

    Information

    Please keep the nurse updated on any new medical issues or concerns regarding your child, especially new allergies, medications or medical conditions that are diagnosed.  If your child is sick or injured while at school, it is very important that we area able to contact someone, so please make sure the school office has an emergency contact number.

    Medication Policy

    Please review the Stafford County policy regarding the administration of medications in school.  All medications (including Tylenol, ointments, and cough drops) must have a written order from the doctor and signed by the parent on file before medications can be administered at school.  Parents need to supply the clinic with this medication in the original container.  An adult must bring the medication to the clinic as students should not be carrying any medications on them.

    Information

    Please keep the nurse updated on any new medical issues or concerns regarding your child, especially new allergies, medications or medical conditions that are diagnosed.  If your child is sick or injured while at school, it is very important that we area able to contact someone, so please make sure the school office has an emergency contact number.

     

    SUBSTITUTE REGISTERED NURSES NEEDED—PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SCHOOL NURSE OR SCPS HUMAN RESOURCES AT 658-6000