Student & Family Frequently Asked Questions
Health & Safety
Is it safe for me to send my children back to school?
Yes, with more individuals receiving vaccines - including children ages 12 and up - and with health and safety best practices in place, RPS will be a healthy and safe learning environment for students and staff.
What has RPS done to address air quality?
Stand-alone HEPA filtration or “air scrubber” units will be placed in all classrooms and common areas. Building HVAC systems will have upgraded air filters. All buses will be equipped with air filtration systems and will keep windows open, weather permitting.
Will RPS practice social distancing?
Class sizes will be comparable to last school year prior to school closure; RPS will incorporate distancing to the greatest extent possible.
Will my child have access to hand sanitizer in their classroom?
Yes, every classroom and common area will have a wall-mounted hand sanitizer station. All bathrooms will have touchless paper towel dispensers and touchless soap dispensers.
Will masks be required and/or provided for students and staff?
Yes, masks will be required for all students, staff, and visitors at all times regardless of vaccination status. Exceptions may be applicable (such as for students playing a musical instrument, or students with certain medical conditions or disabilities). A mask will be provided to anyone who does not have one.Updated 7/19/21 - Do vaccinated students and staff need to continue to wear masks? Yes, all RPS students, staff, and visitors must remain masked at all times per current RPS guidelines. Recent CDC guidance regarding easing of mask restrictions for vaccinated students and teachers is for the 2021-22 school year and the Virginia Executive Order 79 requiring masks to be worn by all individuals age 5 and older in public schools remains in effect. RPS will continue to mandate masks for the remainder of summer school and make further decisions based on local COVID-19 vaccination and infection data.
Will students still have recess and what health and safety measures will be in place?
Yes, recess will be offered at all preschools and elementary schools. While outside on school property, students, teachers, staff, and visitors may remove their masks if fully vaccinated. If individuals are not fully vaccinated they must wear a mask unless they can maintain at least six feet of distance.
What safety measures will RPS schools take to encourage sanitary practices during school meal times?
Masks may be removed while students are eating and drinking, however, masks must be worn by staff and students at all other times. Per normal, Student Nutrition Services protocol, staff are required to wear gloves when assisting students with meals. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed at all cafeteria entrances and food distribution areas. Meals may be offered in a combination of spaces (including the classroom and cafeteria) depending on school needs and configuration to align with any distancing guidance in place. Large waste receptacles will be placed outside of the classrooms along the hallway for discarding trash.
Will external volunteers be allowed in classrooms?
RPS will continue to monitor health trends to make determinations about allowing external partners in classrooms.
Will I be required to wear a mask for parent/caregiver pick up/parent drop off?
Parents, caregivers, and daycare provider van drivers will be required to wear masks when entering into any RPS facility.
What are some of the symptoms families should check for each day prior to sending their child to school?
RPS will provide symptom checker information to all families to help families check for signs of illness each day. Symptoms include fever, respiratory symptoms such as nasal congestion and shortness of breath, and loss of taste and/or smell. If you are ever in doubt, please have your child stay home and call your doctor.
How will schools check for symptoms of illness?
Families, students, and staff will be required to self-check at home before coming to school and remain home if sick. All visitors will be required to complete a symptom-check upon entry to buildings.
What happens if my child becomes ill after coming to school?
The student will be sent to the school nurse for further assessment. If needed, the student will wait in the school’s Supportive Care Space, available at each school to separate those with symptoms. Parents and caregivers will be notified to pick up any student who is sick as quickly as possible.
What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 at my child’s school?
RPS will continue to work in collaboration with the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) to perform contact tracing of all positive cases. Classes/schools will be quarantined when advised by RCHD. In the event of a quarantine or closure, RPS will continue instruction virtually and students will be provided Chromebooks and hotspots as needed.
Will teachers and students be required to receive COVID-19 vaccination?
No one is required to receive the vaccine. However, to protect yourself and others, RPS encourages all staff, families, and students ages 12 and above to receive a vaccine as soon as possible.
What percentage of staff in each building has been vaccinated?
Staff are not obligated to share their vaccination status, therefore we cannot guarantee that every staff member has been vaccinated.
Will there be summer school/Extended School Year (ESY) services for students with disabilities this year?
Yes, ESY services will be provided for students with disabilities that have ESY needs specified in their IEPs. Students with disabilities are also able to register for and participate in summer school programming. For more information about summer school programming, visit RPS Summer Learning Olympics.
When will students return RPS Chromebooks & hotspots?
Students will return chromebooks and hotspots once the school year is over (in late June) so that we have time to prepare them for use during the 2021-22 school year. Students enrolled in summer school and tutoring will be permitted to keep their devices to use for summer sessions.
Will all students receive Chromebooks, regardless of whether they choose virtual or in-person instruction?
Yes, RPS will continue to have devices for every student.
Will students in the Richmond Virtual Academy be provided school supplies and materials?
Yes, students will be able to access digital resources from any location and will be able to pick up designated school supplies. More information will be provided in July.
Will RPS offer meal distribution for students participating in virtual instruction?
Yes, RPS will have opportunities for students learning virtually at home to receive free meals. Further details on distribution locations and procedures will be shared in the coming months.
Will services continue to be provided for students with disabilities enrolled in the Richmond Virtual Academy?
Yes, special education services will continue to be provided to all students with identified special needs according to what is outlined in the student's Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Students with identified educational exceptionalities will be assigned a case manager who will support the student with ensuring teachers are aware of any accommodations that must be provided and that students and their families are supported through parent conferences and IEP meetings to ensure students receive the support that they need.
What kinds of support can students and families expect to receive if participating in 6th - 12th Grade Virtual Instruction?
Students planning to participate in the Virtual Virginia program (grades 6-12) are encouraged to visit the Parent & Guardian Virtual Virginia site which offers an overview of the program and helpful guides and handbook materials.
Virtual Virginia offers tips for success as well as Parent Auditor accounts that are available upon request. Additionally, students receive an assigned RPS mentor teacher who helps monitor progress and identify needed support. RPS also offers free virtual tutoring including individual one time tutoring sessions and ongoing tutoring sessions. Students who are eligible will continue to receive academic services and support from an RPS Case Manager (IEP, LIEP, 504, etc.).
Will RPS sports and extracurricular activities be available for students who have selected virtual instruction?
Students enrolled in the Richmond Virtual Academy will be able to participate in sports and other school-based activities at their “home” school (the school they would be attending in-person). Students may also have opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities facilitated by Richmond Virtual Academy teachers and partners. More information will be available this fall.
How will you address students' mental health as they come back from a year of being virtual?
The mental health of our students remains a top priority. We will have structures in place that ensure school-based mental health staff such as counselors and social workers are proactively working with teachers to provide specific supports to students in need. Additionally, we are increasing our partnerships with community-based mental health partners such as the ChildSavers, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, and Communities in Schools to provide personalized, additional support to students, and in some cases, their family members.
I am new to RPS. How do I enroll my child?
Families must enroll their child at Enroll RPS (www.attendrvaschools.com). The online enrollment form is separated into short sections, and allows families to save their progress and return to their work at a later date. Once completed, families will receive information about final steps from their school office staff. Click here for resources on how to use Enroll RPS.
How do I obtain my child’s student ID number?
This can be found at the top of their report card - or you can email your child’s principal.
Will I have a teacher at my zone school if I choose virtual learning?
No, the Richmond Virtual Academy will operate as a separate school program within RPS. Students in grades PreK-5 will receive instruction from RPS teachers assigned to the Richmond Virtual Academy. Students in grades 6-12 will receive instruction from teachers hired by the Virtual Virginia program. Middle and high school students will also be assigned a mentor as well as additional support as needed (such as EE, LIEP, etc.) provided by RPS teachers and staff members.
Will families be able to switch from virtual to in-person and vice versa?
Families may request to switch to in-person learning at any time; however, it will take 1 week to accommodate bus route changes to provide transportation. Students will not be able to move from in-person learning to virtual learning.
Will the virtual path and in-person path be completely separate or will there be crossover between programming?
RPS’s virtual programs will operate completely independent of RPS in-person learning. To the greatest extent possible, RPS virtual programs will be designed to align with in-person learning.
Will virtual learning continue to be an option beyond the 2021-2022 school year?
Decisions regarding virtual instruction options for the 2022-2023 school year will be shared later. The Virtual Virginia program is expected to continue indefinitely as it is run by the Virginia Department of Education.
When can I expect to receive my child’s virtual learning schedule?
Students in grades Preschool-12th grade should receive their schedules in the first week of August.
What can I expect a typical schedule to look like in the Preschool - 5th Grade virtual learning program?
Sample schedules for Preschool-5 virtual learning will be available in July.
What can I expect a typical schedule to look like in the 6th - 12th Grade virtual learning program?
RPS has partnered with Virtual Virginia to provide a comprehensive experience that provides both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for all RPS families interested in selecting a fully virtual experience for students enrolled in Grades 6-12. An RPS school counselor will register the student in Virtual Virginia courses after carefully reviewing their academic records to ensure that the student has met applicable course prerequisites. Schedules will be finalized and sent to students in August. To review a sample schedule of Grades 6-12, visit Virtual Virginia or click here.
How will my child be graded in the Preschool - 5th Grade virtual learning program?
To the greatest extent possible, Preschool-5th grade virtual learning grading practices will mirror RPS’s district wide policies used with in person Preschool and elementary school instruction. More information regarding the division's grading scale, assessment calendar, and policy on assignments for Preschool-5 virtual learning will be made available in July as part of our Reopening Guide.
How will my child be graded in the 6th - 12th Grade virtual learning program?
Virtual Virginia will award a numerical average for each completed course. An RPS school counselor will assign credit and the appropriate letter grade for this average based on the division’s grading scale.
What is the attendance policy for Preschool - 5th Grade virtual learning students?
RPS continues to follow state and local guidance for reporting student attendance. Students not present during live virtual instruction will be counted as absent. On days when students are unable to attend scheduled live virtual learning sessions, parents must communicate the reason for a student's absence via email to determine whether or not the absence is excused or unexcused. All work assigned, excused or unexcused, during a student’s absence remains required and must be submitted by the deadline provided to be graded.
What is the attendance policy for 6th - 12th Grade virtual learning students?
While the asynchronous component of Virtual Virginia courses allows for flexibility, attendance of synchronous sessions are mandatory unless there is a conflict with school responsibilities. For more information, visit Virtual Virginia.
Will students be able to take driver’s education virtually?
For the summer, Driver’s education theory will be offered virtually and in-person instruction will resume in fall. Behind the Wheel will be available as well in both summer and fall. Please contact your school for further information.
Will students enrolled in RTC be able to select the virtual learning option?
All students in Grades 6-12 who are interested in virtual learning will be participating in the Virtual Virginia program; however, some courses may only be available with in-person learning. For a complete list of middle school and high school course offerings, visit the Virtual Virginia Grades 6-12 page. Families are encouraged to consult with their current school counselor to discuss options.
Will the virtual path and in-person path be completely separate or will there be crossover between programming?
RPS’s virtual programs will operate completely independent of RPS in-person learning. To the greatest extent possible, RPS virtual programs will be designed to align with in-person learning; however, there are no plans for crossover (hybrid) programming at this time.