"RPS Direct" Emails from Superintendent Kamras

  • RPS Direct Update - September 21, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, On behalf of RPS, I want to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the two students who were injured in the shooting yesterday at Heritage High School in Newport News. Thankfully, both students will soon heal physically. The emotional trauma, however, may last for quite some time. I pray that these young people have the support they need to process yesterday's events and ultimately move through them. I also want to acknowledge the fear and anxiety in our own community related to a number of disturbing social media posts about RPS high schools over the last 48 hours. Please know that we take every potential threat extremely seriously. We're grateful for the security and investigative support we've received over the past two days (and continue to receive) from the Richmond Police Department and the US Department of Homeland Security. I assure you that we will continue to remain vigilant, as our number one priority is – and always will be – the safety of the RPS family.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 20, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Tonight's updates: Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month – We're honored to celebrate Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15. Join our monthlong celebration via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and be sure to use the hashtag #SomosRPS (#WeAreRPS)!

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 17, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Happy Friday! Tonight's updates: Mask Reminders – Parents and caregivers, please be sure students have their masks on when approaching and boarding the school bus. This helps ensure a safe and speedy boarding process. Please also make sure to send your students with a mask that fits their face. Adult size masks are not appropriate for small children, as they do not fit tightly (see CDC graphic below). If you need pediatric masks, your school can provide them. Thank you for helping keep RPS safe! COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate – RPS employees, please be reminded that you have until October 1 to submit full proof of vaccination or obtain a religious/medical exemption. Though I pray it doesn't come to this, please understand that any employee who does not meet the requirements of the mandate will face progressive discipline, including loss of employment.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 15, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, While we've been overjoyed to return to school despite COVID, we've also been heartbroken by another pandemic that plagues our community – gun violence. I'm devastated to share that, in the past 48 hours, five RPS students have been shot. We've also lost two students to other causes (unrelated to gun violence or COVID). These tragic events remind us of the grief and trauma that so many RPS students, families, and staff face daily. The RPS family is hurting tonight. Let us all pause this evening to check on one another, support one another, and extend grace and love to one another.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 14, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, One of the issues that came up during public comment at last night's School Board meeting was our school lunches. We heard concerns about the amount/quality of the food provided and the lack of hot meals. Before I address both of these issues, I want to thank everyone who shared feedback. Thoughtful, constructive dialogue about what's working – and what's not – is critical to our collective success and I'm deeply grateful for it. For the start of the school year, we decided against hot lunches and instead went with "grab and go" meals, as we were concerned about students bunching up in the lunch line for as much as 5 minutes, increasing the risk of transmission. We also had logistical concerns about hot lunches given that many of our schools use multiple locations for lunch (not just the lunch room) to ensure 6 feet of distancing. All that said, we do hope to eventually transition to hot meals once everyone has become accustomed to our mitigation strategies and we feel more confident in our ability to execute on the logistics. I'll also note that we have a significant number of vacancies on our food and nutrition team, which will make it difficult to provide hot meals right now. Fortunately, last night, the Board approved an increase in the hourly rate for our food and nutrition employees to help with recruitment and retention.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 13, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Tonight's updates: School Board Meeting – The School Board will be meeting tonight at MLK Middle School, starting at 6 pm. If you can't make it in person, you can watch the livestream on the RPS Facebook page. For the agenda and accompanying documents, click here. Hope you can join! Calendar Reminder - All RPS schools and offices will be closed this Thursday, September 16, in observance of Yom Kippur, one of the newly added holidays to our more inclusive calendar. To view the full 2021-22 Calendar, click here. Monumental Conversations Launch - Yesterday we celebrated the launch of Monumental Conversations, a new community-driven augmented reality tour of Monument Avenue and Arthur Ashe Boulevard centered on Black resilience. Check out Desiree Montilla’s NBC12 story to learn more about the importance of this project and how you can try it out yourself!

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 10, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm heartbroken to share this evening that we've lost an employee to COVID-19. This marks our second known fatality from the pandemic. Please keep this individual's family in your thoughts and prayers. Please also take every possible measure to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our entire community. RPS students and staff spend most of their day outside of school, where the transmission rate is high among unvaccinated individuals. To be direct, our unvaccinated family members and friends are putting RPS students and staff at risk outside of school, and, in doing so, jeopardizing our ability to keep our doors open.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 9, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Happy Day 2! Tonight, I'm going to let the pictures from my school tour do the talking. You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #MrKsSchoolTour21. So far, I've had the privilege of visiting Bellevue ES, Chimborazo ES, Fairfield Court ES, Marsh ES, and Woodville ES in the East End; and Ginter Park ES, Henderson MS, Holton ES, Marshall HS, and Obama ES on the Northside. Tomorrow, I'll be on the Southside. Enjoy the pix! With great appreciation, Jason

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 8, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, We're back! After 544 days, our doors are open once again. I had the pleasure of visiting five schools this morning in the East End and I was reminded why we call this the #RPSStrong family. I saw enthusiastic and eager students, creative and dedicated teachers and staff, and compassionate and resilient parents and caregivers. Most of all, I saw lots of smiling faces (behind masks, of course :). Though a little nervous, most of the children I spoke to were very excited – excited to see their friends and teachers, excited to learn new things, and excited to feel some normalcy. We still have a long road ahead, but I'm filled with so much optimism after spending time with our incredible students and staff this morning. As we head into Day 2, we still need to fix a few things, most notably some wrinkles with our bus routes. I sincerely apologize to any family that had incorrect or incomplete bus stop information.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 7, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Happy night before school! Please see below for a quick video message and for our Top 10 Reminders for Day 1. 1) First Day – We're back TOMORROW, September 8, for preschool-12th grade in-person instruction and preschool-5th grade virtual instruction (6th-12th grade virtual instruction began last week). 2) New Start and End Times – We have new start and end times for school this year. Click here for all the details and please contact your student's school if you have any questions. 3) Symptom Checking – Please use the symptom checker below before you head out the door. If you have any symptoms, stay home and get tested. Do this for yourself and for the RPS family. (Click above to continue reading)

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 2 (PM), 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Tonight's updates: Bus Routes - Our bus routes are now live on our website at www.rvaschools.net/busstops. Because we are still short about a dozen drivers, some schools on the Southside where we have large student populations or geographically spread out zones will temporarily have "double backs," meaning the driver will complete one route and then "double back" to complete a second one. The second run may arrive after the official start of the school day. Students will of course be excused for this, and will be provided with any additional support necessary. Please note that this is a temporary issue. Once we see how many students are actually riding the bus, and once we onboard additional drivers, we'll be able to eliminate the double backs. Make sure to keep an eye out for updates through our Remind text messaging system. Thank you for your understanding.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 2, 2021

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share the following COVID-19 positive test result/s: Binford Middle School – 1 student (not physically present this year) Cardinal Elementary School – 1 student (not physically present this year) Hospital Education Program – 1 staff member (last there on 8/19) Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School – 1 student (not physically present this year) Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts – 3 students (one last there on 8/30; two last there on 8/17) VDH and RPS nurses are in the process of contact tracing and notifying impacted students and personnel to quarantine, as necessary. Please reach out to your primary care provider if you have any concerns, or contact the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) by calling their COVID-19 hotline: (804) 205-3501. Please also get vaccinated, wear your mask, stay physically distant, and wash your hands.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 1 (PM), 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Tonight's updates: Logistical Note - Unfortunately, my RPS Direct from last night didn't seem to make its way through cyberspace to most of you. My apologies. I've repeated the content from last night in tonight's edition. Thank you for your understanding! Virtual Academy Waitlist - I'm thrilled to share that we're able to offer a Virtual Virginia spot to every 6th-12th grade student on our waitlist! Enormous gratitude to our partners at the VDOE for assisting us with this. Families will receive an email today with details (if they haven't already). You can still add your student's name to the waitlist, but we can only guarantee a spot for middle and high school families who signed up as of 5 pm yesterday.

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  • RPS Direct Update - September 1, 2021

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share the following COVID-19 positive test result/s: Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary School – 1 student (not physically present this year) Franklin Military Academy – 1 student (not physically present this year) Ginter Park Elementary School – 2 students (not physically present this year) VDH and RPS nurses are in the process of contact tracing and notifying impacted students and personnel to quarantine, as necessary. Please reach out to your primary care provider if you have any concerns, or contact the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) by calling their COVID-19 hotline: (804) 205-3501. Please also get vaccinated, wear your mask, stay physically distant, and wash your hands.

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 31 (PM), 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Tonight's updates: Virtual Academy Waitlist - I'm thrilled to share that we're able to offer a Virtual Virginia spot to every 6th-12th grade student on our waitlist! Enormous gratitude to our partners at the VDOE for assisting us with this. Families will receive an email by tomorrow with details. You can still add your student's name to the waitlist, but we can only guarantee a spot for families who signed up as of 5 pm today. Turning to preschool-5th grade, we'll know how many additional virtual spots we have based on the number of "no shows" at our Richmond Virtual Academy after the first week of school. I'll provide an update on this as soon as I have more information. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 31, 2021

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share the following COVID-19 positive test result/s: J.B. Fisher Elementary School – 1 staff member (last there on 8/27) J.L. Francis Elementary School – 1 student (not physically present this year) Thomas Jefferson High School – 1 student (last at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College on 8/27) Virgie Binford Education Center – 1 staff member (last there on 8/26) VDH and RPS nurses are in the process of contact tracing and notifying impacted students and personnel to quarantine, as necessary. Please reach out to your primary care provider if you have any concerns, or contact the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) by calling their COVID-19 hotline: (804) 205-3501. Please also get vaccinated, wear your mask, stay physically distant, and wash your hands.

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 30 (PM), 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Tonight's updates: Walmart & Coca-Cola Donation – This afternoon, every teacher at John Marshall High School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, and J. H. Blackwell Elementary School received a $150 back-to-school shopping credit courtesy of Walmart and Coca-Cola! In addition, each principal received $10,000 for their school. Thank you to Walmart (Store 2821 located at 2410 Sheila Lane) and Coca-Cola for supporting our teachers and schools!

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 30, 2021

    Dear #RPS Strong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share the following COVID-19 positive test result/s: Academic Office – 1 staff member (last at Thomas H. Henderson Middle School on 8/27) Binford Middle School – 1 student (not physically present this year) Broad Rock Elementary School – 2 staff members (last there on 8/27) and 2 students (not physically present this year) Henry L. Marsh III Elementary School – 1 staff member (last there on 8/23) Huguenot High School – 1 staff member (last there on 8/27) Linwood Holton Elementary School – 1 student (last there on 8/27) Thomas C. Boushall Middle School – 1 staff member (last there 8/27) Thomas H. Henderson Middle School – 1 staff member (last there 8/27) Thomas Jefferson High School – 1 staff member (last there on 8/27)

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  • RPS Direct Update (PM) - August 27, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, Tonight's updates: Arts Integration Training Program – Last night, RPS and the University of Richmond celebrated the conclusion of the University’s Arts Integrated Learning Certificate program. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, this initiative has trained nearly 200 RPS teachers on arts integration since its inception in 2017. Congratulations to these creative educators who are committed to lifelong learning and teaching with love! Special Health & Safety RPS Live! Episodes – I'm excited to announce that we have two episodes of RPS Live! next week – Wednesday, September 1, and Thursday, September 2 – both of which will focus on our COVID health and safety protocols. Starting at 6 pm, we'll be joined by local medical experts to answer any questions you may have. Check out the flyers below for more details. Hope you can join!

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  • RPS Direct Update - August 27, 2021

    Dear #RPSStrong Family, I'm reaching out with this special RPS Direct to share the following COVID-19 positive test result/s: Mary Munford Elementary School – 1 staff member (last there on 8/16) Maymont Preschool – 1 staff member (last there in June) Patrick Henry School of Science & Arts – 1 student (last there on 8/13) William Fox Elementary School – 1 staff member (last there on 8/26) VDH and RPS nurses are in the process of contact tracing and notifying impacted students and personnel to quarantine, as necessary. Please reach out to your primary care provider if you have any concerns, or contact the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) by calling their COVID-19 hotline: (804) 205-3501. Please also get vaccinated, wear your mask, stay physically distant, and wash your hands. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. Towards that end, we will continue to work in close collaboration with RCHD to ensure the well-being of the entire RPS community.

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