Plans announced through mid-May
Prince Edward County Public Schools (PECPS) Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson announced in a Friday afternoon, March 27, letter to parents and guardians that the school division had developed a distance-learning plan for students extending through May 15 amid efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
That plan underwent notable changes Monday, March 30, due to Virginia Gov. Ralph S. Northam’s stay-at-home order.
In the letter, she also announced the delay or cancellation of some key school events.
“Please note that regulations and practices concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) change rapidly,” she wrote. “Therefore, our goal is to provide you with the most current information, at that time. With that in mind, below are the plans for Prince Edward County Public Schools through May 15, 2020.”
Johnson noted in PECPS’ continued efforts to mitigate the loss of classroom instruction, its teachers have prepared a second learning packet for students.
“This packet will focus on a review of specific skills and content covered this year that presented some challenges for our students,” she wrote. “By continuing to review and practice, it is our hope that students will strengthen the skills and content knowledge they acquired during the year, in the absence of direct instruction.”
Johnson went on to note pickup locations, days and times for Learning Packet No. 2, but a Monday, March 30, PECPS press release announced a postponement of those days and times due to the governor’s stay-at-home order. The March 30 release stated that while meal distributions will continue uninterrupted, PECPS will not be open for any reason until after April 13.
Continuing with Johnson’s March 27 letter, she wrote that at this time, PECPS plans to have a third packet ready for students after spring break. The dates for the pickup of Learning Packet No. 3 are April 21-22 from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Johnson noted that though not required, many teachers have held digital learning sessions and called homes in hopes of continuing to engage their students.
“As we continue our efforts locally, statewide and nationally to provide educational resources, please know that we are closely following the guidelines provided by the Virginia Department of Education and working regionally to create innovative learning opportunities for our students,” she stated.
Parents who will have a student enrolling in PECPS’ pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) program for the 2020-21 school year may pick up a registration packet when they pick up the second learning packet, but these pickups will not be possible until after April 13 due to the governor’s stay-at-home order.
Johnson wrote that Pre-K registration materials will be available at all three schools. Specific instructions for returning the registration packet will be included with the registration materials.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, PROM AND K-8 PROMOTION ACTIVITIES
Johnson announced that because of the current COVID-19 regulations, PECPS will not hold a high school graduation ceremony on May 21, but an in-person ceremony will happen later.
“We know that graduation is a milestone in a child’s life and a memorable event for families,” she wrote. “Therefore, Prince Edward County Public Schools will schedule a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 once the local and state restrictions have been lifted. That may mean that graduation does not occur until July, August or September, and some students may be off to their next ‘milestone.’ Nonetheless, we are committed to honoring those students and their accomplishments.”
The Junior-Senior Prom, originally set for April 25, is canceled, Johnson stated.
“Again, noting the restriction that no more than 10 persons can be in a room at one time, it is not plausible to have this activity,” she wrote.
She also added that although some of the dates have not been published, activities such as pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, fourth-grade and eighth-grade “Stepping Up” ceremonies will not be held.
Johnson stated that additional information regarding high school-specific guidance and supports could be found at https://sites.google. com/pecpsk12.org/ counselingcorner/.
Johnson wrote that she wanted to assure parents/guardians that the staff at PECPS is working diligently daily to meet the needs of the students.
“As I communicate with you every week or two, I want to address your questions and concerns as well as address topics/areas that we are considering as we plan for next steps,” she stated.
She noted she plans to address topics including kindergarten registration and material collection and the creation of a PECPS dropbox to address community questions.