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Investigative report shows Faison School reported highest number of student “seclusions”

“The state’s private school regulations define seclusion as ‘confinement of a student alone in a room from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.'”

RVAHub Staff

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The following is part of a six-month investigation carried out by VPM (Virginia Public Media:

According to state data, Virginia private schools serving students with disabilities reported a total of about 10,000 student seclusions across two recent school years. Regulations for the use of seclusion and restraint in these schools took effect in 2015, while regulations for the use of the practices in public schools haven’t been formally approved yet.

The state’s private school regulations define seclusion as “confinement of a student alone in a room from which the student is physically prevented from leaving.” The regulations also specify that seclusion should only be used in an emergency to prevent a student from seriously harming himself or others and “after less intrusive interventions have been attempted and failed to manage that particular behavior and there is a substantial explanation for why other interventions were deemed inadequate or inappropriate.” They also state that seclusion shouldn’t be used for disciplinary reasons, punishment, retaliation or for “staff’s convenience.”

One school reported over half of the approximately 10,000 seclusions for all Virginia private day schools combined for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years. The Faison Center reported a total of 5,617 seclusions to the state over that time period. The private, nonprofit school is located in Richmond’s West End and serves about 200 students with disabilities, many on the autism spectrum. The school first opened in 1999 with a handful of students but has steadily expanded since then.

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Pop-Up School Supply Drive: Help make a big difference for Henrico County students

While Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 school year will begin using a fully virtual format, students still need school supplies. Here’s how you can help.

RVAHub Staff

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While Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 school year will begin using a fully virtual format, students still need school supplies. Besides standard supplies such as highlighters and notebooks, many families also need assistance with supplies that might normally be found in a classroom, such as whiteboards and pencil sharpeners.

You can help by dropping off supplies at a Pop-Up School Supply Drive Thursday from 1:30-3 p.m. at Mad Science of Central Virginia in Glen Allen. To prioritize safety, the drop-off will use a drive-thru format, with social distancing and mask-use in effect. The drive is sponsored by HCPS’ Department of Family and Community Engagement. Some needed items are listed below.

It takes place Thursday, July 30 from 1:30-3 p.m. at Mad Science of Central Virginia, 11551 Nuckols Road. Contact Van-Neisha Johnson at 804-328-8110 or [email protected].

Elementary school items:

  • Wide-ruled notebook paper
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Black and white composition notebooks
  • Lined index cards
  • Pocket folders
  • Washable markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons
  • Child-sized scissors
  • Pencil boxes
  • Backpacks

Middle and high school items:

  • College-ruled notebook paper
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Blue, black and red pens
  • Highlighters
  • Spiral notebooks
  • Lined index cards
  • Three-ring binders
  • Colored pencils
  • Four-function calculators
  • Dry-erase markers
  • Washable markers
  • Backpacks

Virtual learning family support items:

  • Calendar anchor charts
  • Flashcards for all grade levels (math, sight words, language arts, shapes, and colors, etc.)
  • Classroom organization charts
  • Pencil boxes
  • Three-ring binders
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Workbooks (for all grade levels)
  • Binder rings
  • Index cards
  • Wooden craft sticks
  • Current wall maps and globes
  • Laminators
  • Hole punches
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Red correcting pencils
  • Staplers and staples
  • File folders
  • Whiteboards
  • Treasure chest/prize box incentives
  • Sharpies
  • Erasers
  • Post-it Notes
  • Printers
  • Ink cartridges
  • Printer paper
  • Magnetic letters and numbers

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Henrico Schools to follow Richmond’s lead and go with all-virtual fall semester

The move follows Richmond Public Schools’ lead on the decision and will require a School Board vote this Thursday.

RVAHub Staff

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In a decision that prioritizes the health and safety of employees, students and families, Henrico County Public Schools Superintendent Amy Cashwell announced today that she will recommend a fully virtual start to the 2020-21 school year as Virginia continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Cashwell’s public announcement comes in advance of the Henrico County School Board’s Thursday meeting to hold a formal vote on the recommendation. The virtual approach would be in place for at least the first nine weeks of the school year, which begins Sept. 8.

“As heartbreaking as it would be to not see all our students in person on Sept. 8, it is clear to me that this is the most prudent recommendation at this time, based on evolving health information,” Cashwell said in messages to HCPS employees and student households.

September’s virtual learning experience will be different than the one students encountered in the wake of the school division’s March closure.

“Henrico Edflix offered a lot of great material, and we’re very proud of it,” Cashwell said. “It was an emergency learning tool that provided flexibility for staff and students in bringing the school year to a sudden close in the middle of a crisis.

“For months, we have known that a virtual option would be included for the 2020-21 school year and our staff members have been working long hours to create a redesigned, developmentally appropriate experience that is rich, structured, robust, and graded.”

Cashwell elaborated on her recommendation in a video posted to the school division’s YouTube channel and social media:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni3UBckxu1A&feature=youtu.be.

Visit “HCPS 2020-21: Mission Forward” return-to-school page at https://henricoschools.us/returntoschool/ for the latest information. More information about virtual learning will be made available on an ongoing basis.

Henrico County Public Schools will continue to work with health experts to evaluate pandemic conditions in Virginia and the Richmond region, and regularly assess the feasibility of incorporating in-person attendance for students and staff members.

While HCPS had already decided to make fully virtual attendance one option for the 2020-21 school year, the school division also considered starting the year with pathways that included in-person attendance. A hybrid model would combine some rotating in-person attendance with virtual learning. The school division also looked at the feasibility of allowing students to attend school in person five days a week. Depending on health and safety conditions, in-person options may be incorporated later in the school year. All would include social distancing and rigorous safety protocols as recommended by health experts.

The School Board will vote on Cashwell’s recommendation at a Thursday in-person meeting, scheduled for noon at New Bridge Learning Center in eastern Henrico County.

In-person attendance will conform to Virginia’s current health and safety guidelines. In accordance with the policy for access to all buildings operated by Henrico County, attendees aged 10 and older are required to wear masks. Masks will be provided for those needing them, and the seating policy will reflect social distancing guidelines. Attendees will also undergo a brief health screening before entering, including having their temperature taken using a no-contact thermometer. They will also be asked a shortlist of health-screening questions.

Those not attending can view a livestream of the meeting by going to https://henricoschools.us.

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VCU details August return with in-person, online courses, free COVID-19 testing

As colleges across the country determine if classes should be held online to prevent the coronavirus spread, Virginia Commonwealth University is planning for students to return in August with a mix of in-person, hybrid and online courses. One dorm will be used as a low-acuity hospital while some first-year students are housed in a nearby hotel.

Capital News Service

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By Hannah Eason

Virginia Commonwealth University’s fall semester classes are slated to begin Aug. 17 with a mixture of in-person, hybrid and online courses, per a release from President Michael Rao on Tuesday.

Students received updated information to their VCU emails on Wednesday morning regarding courses and resources available to “navigate any changes.”

“We recognize that not every member of our community has equal access to the technology, support, and personal space that makes remote learning possible,” Rao said. “We will leave no one behind because our mission needs the vital perspectives and clear voice of all of us.”

The release stated that to ensure a safe return to campus, every member of the VCU community must adhere to safety guidelines like social distancing, wearing masks, disinfecting spaces and frequent hand-washing.

The university will provide masks, hand sanitizer and other items to help students and employees stay healthy. Before returning to campus, all students and faculty members will complete online safety protocol training and undergo daily health assessments.

Students who plan to live on campus must test negative for COVID-19 before moving in. On-campus housing is available to students enrolled in both in-person and online classes, and online-only courses do not break a student housing contract, per VCU Residential Life and Housing. Students can cancel fall-semester housing contracts by visiting this site.

The Graduate hotel at 301 W. Franklin St. is listed as a residence hall for first-year students. Honors College students can choose to stay in either the hotel or the Gladding Residence Center. The Honors College Residence Hall will hold low-acuity patients for VCU Health Systems during the academic year.

Students will receive move-in details through their VCU emails by the week of July 20. VCU will provide COVID-19 testing kits for students moving on campus. Non-residential students and employees with COVID-19 symptoms will also receive free testing. Asymptomatic students and employees will receive COVID-19 testing for an undetermined fee.

“This is, and will continue to be, a time of necessary adherence to safety measures and to supporting our classmates and colleagues. This includes continued access to mental health resources,” Rao stated. “And it includes remaining flexible and recognizing that our circumstances and plans may change, and we all may need to adapt to the changing situations around us.”

Virtual appointments and other mental health resources are available to students at the Health Promotion and Well-Being Center and University Counseling Services.

Additional information from VCU on COVID-19 and fall semester can be found at together.vcu.edu/protocols.

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