COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Update - March 28, 2020

  • Dear #RPSStrong Family,
     
    My apologies for the delay this evening! I promised my boys I would spend some time with them on this beautiful day. We played basketball (I lost badly) and we built a mini pinball machine (I have to admit, it turned out much cooler than I expected). I hope you all got some time to enjoy the glorious spring weather with your loved ones.
     
    Since it's Saturday, I'm going with just shout-outs and FAQs. Unless there's any critical news, I think I'll do that tomorrow as well. So keep emailing me these wonderful affirmations of the extraordinary RPS team!
     
    As you'll see, a number of the shout-outs today are about "teacher parades." What's a teacher parade? It's when our amazing teachers hop in their cars and drive caravan-style through their school neighborhoods to say hello and – with appropriate social distancing – reconnect with their students. Both VPM (Megan Pauly) and the RTD (Sabrina Moreno) covered this. Thank you to both news organizations for sharing these beautiful expressions of love between our teachers, students, and families!
     
     
    Shout-outs!
    • I just want to shout out the Overby-Sheppard staff for coming out and doing a teacher parade. We had about 30 cars all decorated and honking to show our students we are thinking about them and miss them! Also, a big thank you to our parents and students for having signs and being out there letting us know the feeling is mutual! Way to show that Hive Nation Pride!
    • Hello! I’m the parent of a proud fourth grader at Miles Jones Elementary. I would like to express my gratitude to her teacher Mrs. Agee Wade! Since joining Miles Jones five years ago my daughter has had her as a teacher 3 times and Mrs. Agee Wade has been a blessing to my daughter. She always goes above and beyond for her students, is so pleasant and helpful. I would like RPS to know they have one of the best teachers on the planet!
    • As a parent of a 2nd and 5th grader, I am so impressed and thankful for what Ms. Johnson and Mr. Lombardi have been doing. It’s been a difficult and uncertain time and they’re both doing a wonderful job keeping my kids engaged. I know that my kids miss them and that they would be getting much more from their classrooms because my skills pale in comparison. They’re both excellent teachers and have set the bar high for me. I’m sure you already know how great they both are, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate them.
    • From the bottom of my heart I would like to THANK the family over at Broad Rock Elementary “on the Southside” District 8 for showing love to their students. Shout out to Mrs. Green, the principal, and Mrs. Petry, the assistant principal, for just being the best!
    • I would like to thank Richmond Public Schools. In particular, Ms. Moore and her extraordinary staff at Obama Elementary School...RPS has always demonstrated fortuitous thinking and innovative and altruistic thought processes. As a result, the RPS institution has currently and consistently produced children that have been loved and practically educated and enlightened to the Nation. RPS students are extraordinarily capable. Brilliant actually. Their instructors are innovative. They work with too little or nothing yet produce brilliant minds. RPS teachers love their kids. The Garden at BOES is an excellent example of that.
    • I have a freshman at John Marshall High School...I would like to shout out her principal, Ms. Murray, and her teacherscoaches, and staff who are keeping us well informed and still educating through Zoom, Google Classroom, YouTube, Instagram, and other resources! Wonderful team! Thanks, Coach Cherry, for the live workout sessions on Instagram & Ms. Murray for the daily challenges to keep the students active. Thank you to Ms. Chavis with the tests, and Ms. Lopez and Ms. Flippin with the English and Spanish assignments. The joy and pride of Northside is living up to the name!!! THANK YOU ALL!!!
    • Jayla attends Southampton Elementary. She missed the teacher parade but wanted to show her Southampton pride for her teachers!
    • I’d like to shout out my daughter’s teacher, Mrs. A. Sta Ana @ Barrack Obama ES. She definitely has the gift of teaching. She is creative, caring and loves to teach through songs! Now that school has closed, she hasn't skipped a beat. She has checked in with parents/students to ensure lessons go on. She has even added lessons to her YouTube channel to keep everyone engaged, and for all of that we are thankful!
    • I’d like to shout out my oldest daughter’s Principal, Mrs. Melissa Rickey @ Binford MS. She always gives a weekly call throughout the school year. Her calls provide updates, shout outs and words of wisdom. Also, they ensure everyone is on the same page.
    • I would like to shout out Mrs. Shaw and her fabulous staff at Miles Jones Elementary School, but I especially have to highlight my son’s 3rd grade teacher: Mrs. Nguyen! When she isn’t sending text pictures of work students could be doing, she’s giving parents a plan to use to help keep students working during this time of virtual learning! When Mrs. Nguyen is not providing parents/kids with additional work, she is checking on the well-being of all of her students. My son and I love Mrs. Nguyen; she was always awesome but this difficult time has shown what a star she truly is!! My son would be lost without her!
    • I wanted to take a moment to recognize Ms. Bauman’s (Holton Elementary) efforts to brighten my son’s Friday afternoon. Upon returning home from work, I found a personalized note taped to our front door from her with encouraging words and thoughtful sentiments. I can only imagine the time she took to create and quietly deliver these to each of her students. It also makes you wonder how difficult social distancing must be for all teachers who are used to engaging students every single day. Kudos to her for finding a safe and creative way to remind them that she still cares and that they should continue learning despite the circumstances. Thank you, Ms. Bauman!!
    • I just wanted to take a minute to shout out to Westover Hills Elementary SchoolMrs. Marita Harrison, a 3rd grade teacher, is definitely a superhero to my son and me…She brought out the confidence in my son that he did not know he had. Principal Mrs. El Koubi ensured daily that the community’s children were in great hands. Reaching out to parents daily, running carnivals, providing food for those in need…You can see and feel her passion for making Westover Hills the best experience that you will ever encounter. Coach Galloway would greet each child in the morning by first name! Wow! To see that he actually gained a relationship with each child enough to know each individual name was amazing. Last but not least on the frontline, Mrs. Lawson is always readily available to assist in any way. If I call or would visit, she greeted my family and I warmly each time. Amazing staff!
    • I want to give a shout out to Mrs. Pearson from Obama ES! She communicates with her students daily via the Remind app and provides them educational activities. She really cares about the children in her class.
    • I want to shout out Mrs. T. Furmage, who is my son’s 1st grade teacher at Ginter Park Elementary School! She has gone above and beyond to ensure she had all of my son’s work checked and updated! She always sends texts and messages to check on him! I appreciate her so much!!
    • I am a parent of three at Chimborazo Elementary and I would like to thank Ms. Ladd, my child’s kindergarten teacher, for all of the work and different activities she sends every day as well as Ms. Petty for reading books!
    • I would like to send a shout out to my 5th grade student’s teacher, Ms. Washington, at Blackwell Elementary!! She has been amazing. Since my daughter has been in her care, I’ve not worried a bit. Since they have been out of school, she’s been nothing but a blessing, making sure I’m aware of what she need to do through Google Classroom, being available to FaceTime if additional help is needed, answering endless texts, phone calls and emails. I am extremely blessed my baby was placed with her and I am confident that she will soar in this 6th grade even with time off.
    • My other shout out goes to Major Barclay and Major Metcalf at Franklin Military Academy. These 2 teach my 7th grade daughter and have been there every step of the way, from Zoom webinars to taking time out of their after hour schedules to give extra help via FaceTime to just answering my questions.
    • I just want to thank my son's teachers at Albert Hill who are actively posting digital activities and videos so he can keep moving ahead with his 8th grade curriculum while his father and I work from home each day. Keep them coming, Mr. Grow, Mrs. Howard, Mrs. Russell, and long-term sub Mrs. Walker. Your dedication to your students is evident daily. Thank you, thank you!
    • I just wanted to let you know the principal and staff at Broad Rock Elementary rock!!!!! They drove through the neighborhood to let the children know they were thinking of them and missed them. This was my daughter’s last year there and I am going to MISS everyone there so much!!!
    • I would like to shout out Assistant Principal Potee and Counselor Rahmah Johnson from Thomas Jefferson for calling my son, Keven, on his 18th birthday and singing happy birthday to him. He was excited that they took the time to think about him.
    • Shout out to Mrs. K Anderson, the kindergarten teacher at Southampton Elementary School, for keeping the parents updated. She also has a YouTube channel with great learning videos for the kids. She provided links for the kids to click on. She’s patient, smart and always has a great spirit. She loves her students like they are hers and my son misses her so much.
    • I want to give a special Shout Out to Mrs. Dabney for checking on every one of her MLK Family members to ensure that we all were safe and healthy. In addition, we should shout out Mr. Troy Taylor, our compliance coordinator for exceptional education, who has reached out to all of us (exceptional education teachers) at MLK to ensure that we have all we need to virtually finalize all IEPs so that moving forward our students have what they need.
    • A colleague at MLK Preschool CenterMs. Dorothy Stanton, was able to get free access to ABC Mouse, Adventure Academy and ReadingIQ for all of our parents!! Also, kudos to Ms. Crystal Hartsfield, our School Building Lead for submitting this request!! 
    • Shout out to Principal Holeman at Overby-Sheppard Elementary School for the fantastic staff parade in the Highland Park neighborhood this morning. Special kudos to Samantha Aprile and Monique Goodwyn for including the long-term subs in the event!
     
    General FAQs
     
     
    Coronavirus/COVID-19 in Richmond 
     
    Closure 
    • How long are we closed? For the remainder of the school year.
    • Will we need to go to school in the summer, and will next school year start early or end late? Possibly. We're exploring these options now and we'll be seeking your feedback very soon.
    • Are events run by external organizations that rent space at schools (like churches for Sunday services) cancelled? Yes. ALL activities are cancelled.
    • When can students/families and staff pick up personal items from school buildings? Principals will be reaching out to their school communities about specific days/times when individuals can come to retrieve essential personal items.
     
    Food
    • Which schools have food available for pick-up? Southside: Boushall MS, Broad Rock ES, George Wythe HS, Miles Jones ES, Reid ES; East End: Armstrong HS, MLK MS; Northside: Ginter Park ES; West End: Binford MS, Carver ES
    • Is RPS also delivering food directly into neighborhoods? Yes! We are using our buses to deliver food to 34 locations around the city. Click here for all the details.
    • Can students pick up food without their parent/caregiver being present? Yes.
    • Can parents/caregivers pick up food without their student being present? Yes. 
    • If I want to help in some way, what should I do? Please fill out this Google Form so we can follow up with you. Thank you!
     
    Academics – Online Learning
    • Where do I find the "Learning at Home" section of the RPS website? Just click here.
    • What should I do if I don't have internet access? Please call Comcast at 855-846-8376 (English) or 855-765-6995 (Spanish) to get 60 days of FREE internet.
    • What should I do if the Comcast option isn't working for me? We are working to get wifi "hotspots" for families that can't access the internet. I'll have more information on this soon.
    • What should I if I don't have a computer for my students? We are doing two things to provide support: 1) we're going to send home the computers we have at schools; and 2) we're going to purchase about 10,000 additional computers for students who need them. I'll have more information on this soon.
     
    Academics – Graduation
    • Will current high school seniors who were on track to graduate when we closed still get their diplomas this year? Yes! The Virginia Department of Education has just clarified that these students WILL graduate this year.
    • What about graduation ceremonies? Prom? Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold these events when they were scheduled. That said, we're exploring rescheduling them for the summer or fall, as we know how important they are to our students and families.
     
    Academics – Other
    • Will students be held back a year because of the closure? No. But we may need to start next school year early and/or end late.
    • How will grades be calculated for the 3rd marking period? We're looking at a number of options, which we'll share soon for feedback.
    • Will students need to take SOLs? No.
    • Where do I go to find all the Wishtree read-aloud videos? Right here!
     
    Communications
    • What is the RPS website address? www.rvaschools.net
    • Can anyone receive my daily RPS Direct emails? Yes. ANYONE can sign up here.
    • Are these messages available in other languages? Yes. They're all posted on our website, which has an auto-translate function for dozens of languages. The translate button is on the top right of the menu bar.
    • Does RPS have any guidance on how to talk about the coronavirus with children? Yes. Please click here for a number of resources.
     
    Other
    • If I want to volunteer, what should I do? Please sign-up here. Thank you!
    • If I want to donate, what should I do? Click here to go to the donation page of the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation. Thank you! 
     
     
    FAQs for RPS Employees
     
     
    Health
    • What should I do if I have a question about my benefits? Please call 804-780-7859. And if you have any other concerns, please reach out to me directly at jkamras@rvaschools.net. I want to make sure you have all the information and support you need during this difficult time!
    • Where can I get mental health support? Mental health support is provided through our Cigna Employee Assistance Program. To access it, call 877-622-4327 or visit www.mycigna.com. “RPS” (without the quotes) is our Employer ID. 
    • Where can I get mental help support for someone not covered by our plan? The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) provides support to anyone in Richmond. Please call 804-819-4000 for assistance.  
    • What should I do if I know someone who is thinking about harming themselves? Please immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
     
    Pay
    • Who will be paid during the closure? ALL RPS employees will continue to be paid during the entirety of the closure. That includes full-time, part-time, and hourly employees.
    • Are long-term subs included? Yes! 
    • What about contracted personnel, like 1:1 aides? We are working to make sure these individuals get paid as well. It's just a little trickier since they're not RPS employees. I should have more information on this soon.
    • Will teachers still get "spread pay" this summer? Yes. Just as always, our 9.5 and 10-month employees will receive their “spread pay” during July & August, and our 11-month employees will receive theirs in July.
     
    Other Matters
    • Will we have a Transfer Fair on March 31 as scheduled? No. We are working on a virtual solution to help teachers and other staff pursue transfers for next year. As soon as we have the details worked out, I'll share them in my RPS Direct. 
    • What should I do if I need to renew my license? Though we are technically closed, you can still send in your licensure renewal paperwork to Deborah Dailey, our Licensure Specialist. Use this address: Talent Office – 15th Floor, Attention Deborah Dailey, 301 N. 9th Street, Richmond, VA 23219. You can also email Deborah at ddailey@rvaschools.net.
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  • VDH Flyer

Reminders!

  • - Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

    - Wash your hands especially after coughing and sneezing, before and after caring for an ill person, and before preparing foods and before eating

    - Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue in the trash.

    - Avoid touching your eyesnose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

    - Avoid close contact (such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils) with people who are sick

    - Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

    - Stay home when you are sick, except when you need to get medical care.