Connect with us


Richmond Public School Update 3/17/20

A link to this post will also be on our Corona Virus page and we will update this post as RPS sends out new updates.




Dear #RPSStrong Family,

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We continue to be in awe of your support for RPS!

Before I get to today’s updates, a quick housekeeping note: To streamline and organize the information in these messages, I’ve collapsed the Resources and FAQ sections into a revamped (and better organized) set of FAQs. I’ll keep these updated every day so they can be your go-to source for answers. Please email me at [email protected] if you feel something important is missing. Thanks!

Today’s Updates:

School Closure – As I shared yesterday, RPS will be closed through Spring Break. That means we will be closed, at a minimum, until Monday, April 13. My request of the RPS Family: if you can provide childcare for someone, can you please let us know through our volunteer sign-up page? Thank you!

SOLs – I’ve gotten a ton of questions about whether students will have to take SOLs this year. Here’s the latest: The VDOE just put out a press release indicating that they are seeking permission from the Commonwealth and the Federal Government to waive testing for this school year. Kudos to Dr. Lane for taking this step! As soon as I have further information on this, I’ll be sure to share it.

Food Distribution – Again, thank you so much to RPS staff, families, and volunteers for making our food sites possible! If I may brag on our dedicated staff for a second: Los Angeles Unified, which has about 730,000 students (30 times the size of RPS) has 60 centers (just 3 times as many as RPS). No shade on LAUSD; they’re working around the clock like us all. Just want to make sure folks know that RPS staff are stepping up big-time!

Very important update: we’re launching food delivery into our neighborhoods starting tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18). RPS families can pick up food at any of the locations below, from 9:30 am – 11:00 am.

Additional food updates:

  • All of our school-based food distribution sites will continue to run from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Monday – Friday. For a full list of those sites, click here.
  • The Henderson MS site is now closed due to accessibility issues. Please use the Ginter Park ES site instead.
  • A new site at Carver ES will open tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18).
  • For emergency food support, please call the FeedMorehotline at 804-521-2500. Special shout-out to FeedMore for providing RPS with 500 (not a typo) backpacks filled with non-perishable food!

Finally, here’s a pic from Oak Grove-Bellemeade. I hope it gives you a sense of the scale of our food operations. Thank you to the amazing RPS team and all of our wonderful volunteers!

Donations – In just the last 48 hours, over 52 people have donated over $6,000 to the RPS Education Foundation. Unbelievable! These funds will help us continue to support our students and families throughout the closure. On behalf of RPS, THANK YOU!

Learning at Home – You don’t need to figure this out on your own. We have a TON of resources on our website. Big thanks to the entire academic team for pulling everything together so quickly. Check it out here! Also, have you seen some of the amazing things our teachers are doing to support their students?! If you have a shout-out for an RPS teacher you’d like me to share, can you please email me a sentence or two at [email protected]? Thanks!

Mr. K’s 30 Minutes of Math – I’ll be kicking off my 30-minute math lessons tomorrow (Wednesday, March 17). I know I said they’d start today, but the truth is I just haven’t had a second to prep. The lessons will be live-streamed every day, Monday – Friday, at 2 pm. Here’s the link to tune in. We’ll also record them and make them available on our website.

I’m not going to lie: of everything I’m dealing with right now, this is stressing me out the most. Teaching is HARD, folks – a lot harder than being Superintendent. I imagine a whole bunch of families and caregivers are beginning to realize this as they suddenly become subs. So please take a minute RIGHT NOW to call, text, or email a teacher in your life and say THANK YOU! For real, do it. Now.

Wishtree Read-Aloud – Yesterday, we kicked off a community read-aloud of the Wishtree. Click here to see me reading the first two chapters. Mayor Stoney recorded Chapter 3 and School Board Chair (and former Librarian!) Linda Owen recorded Chapters 4 and 5 (see below). Huge thanks to them both! Stay tuned to see who our celebrity guest readers will be tomorrow!

With great appreciation,


Wishtree Chapter 3 – Guest Reader: Mayor Levar Stoney

Wishtree Chapters 4 and 5 – Guest Reader: School Board Chair Linda Owen

Revised (Hopefully Better!) FAQs


  • How long are we closed for?Until April 13. Keep in mind that we may need to close even longer.
  • Will we need to go to school in the summer?I highly doubt it. In all likelihood, the State will waive the days we’re closed, meaning we won’t have to make them up. Once I know for sure, I’ll let everyone know.
  • Are events run by external organizations that rent space at schools (like churches for Sunday services) cancelled? ALL activities are cancelled.


  • Where are the food distribution centers and what are the hours?The hours are 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The locations are listed here.
  • Can students pick up food without their parent/caregiver being present? 
  • Can parents/caregivers pick up food without their student being present?
  • If I want to help in some way, what should I do?Please fill out this Google Formso we can follow up with you. Thank you!


  • Who will be paid during the closure? ALL RPS employees will continue to be paid. That includes full-time, part-time, and hourly employees.
  • Are long-term subs included?Yes!


  • Where do I find the “Learning at Home” section of the RPS website?Just click here.
  • Will students receive official grades for the work they’re doing while we’re closed?
  • Will students need to take SOLs this year?The VDOE just put out a press release indicating that they are seeking permission from the Commonwealth and Federal Government to waive testing for this school year. As soon as I have further information on this, I’ll be sure to share it.
  • What should I do if I want to access online learning resources, but I don’t have internet? Please call Comcast at 855-846-8376 (English) or 855-765-6995 (Spanish) to get 60 days of FREE internet. In addition, Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country are now FREE. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, just select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch any browser.


  • What is the RPS website address?
  • Can anyone receive my daily RPS Direct emails? ANYONE can sign up here.
  • Are these messages available in other languages? 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? Please click herefor a number of resources.

Information for RPS Employees

Nothing new to report today! As a reminder, if you have questions about your benefits, please call 804-780-7859. And if you have any other concerns, please reach out to me directly at [email protected]. I want to make sure you have all the information and support you need during this difficult time!



Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

Continue Reading


James River Park System Update from Bryce Wilk, Superintendent

Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 James River Park has had visitors. The same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. The current staff devoted to James River Park is 5.




The James River Park is getting heavy use but that’s not all that’s going on in the park. Here’s what Bryce Wilk, Superintendent has to say.

  • The JRPS is seeing visitors at a higher rate than any other year ever! Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 visitors. Same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. This despite all the restrictions in place during the stay at home orders due to Covid 19 this past spring and early summer. Close to a quarter million visitors in the month of June alone.
  • JRPS staff and local paddling groups installed new Dam Hazard Signs and Buoys between Huguenot Flatwater and Z-Dam to better warn people of the dangers of Z-Dam and the river.
  • JRPS hired parking attendants to ticket all illegally parked vehicles at Pony Pasture Rapids Park on weekends and holidays.
  • During the closure of public facilities, JRPS took the opportunity to upgrade the bathroom at Pony Pasture with new flooring and paint.
  • JRPS added parking lines in the parking lot to help guide and organize vehicle parking.
  • Currently we only have 5 full time staff members dedicated solely to the James River Park System, James River Park System relies on volunteers to keep this park beautiful.
  • JRPS is providing volunteer opportunities for river clean ups at Pony Pasture specifically through
  • If people are interested in volunteering on their own or have any questions, Volunteer Coordinator, Matthew Mason can provide resources and equipment. His email is [email protected]
  • Please visit and for the latest updates and safety information about the James River Park System and Richmond’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.



Continue Reading


Mayor Stoney names members of “Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety”

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

RVAHub Staff



Today Mayor Levar Stoney announced the members of the Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety and outlined his primary requests of the diverse group of professionals. The majority of task force members stood with the mayor for the announcement.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

The members of the task force bring an array of perspectives from activist, legal, academic, law enforcement, emergency services, artistic, healthcare, and other fields. At the close of a 45-day period, the task force will bring the mayor a set of actionable steps forward to build a safer city for all.

“After additional conversations and review of actions taken in other cities, I do not believe we can wait to begin acting on reform recommendations,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have asked this task force to report back with initial recommendations within 45 days of their first meeting.”

The mayor established three foundational requests of the task force: reviewing the police department’s use of force policies, exploring an approach to public safety that uses a human services lens, and prioritizing community healing and engagement.

“We need a new process for noncriminal and nonviolent calls for service, and that will be a top priority for this task force,” noted the mayor. “We must center compassion instead of consequences.”

Regarding community healing and engagement, the mayor said that the task force will allow the city to explore methods of engagement that will enable meaningful change, using his support for the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative package as an example.

“Last month I expressed my support for the VBLC’s package for the summer session,” said Mayor Stoney. “This task force can determine where the city can explore complementary legislation and where we need to focus community advocacy to make statewide change a reality.”

Members of the Task Force

Carol Adams, Richmond Police Department
Ram Bhagat,
 Manager of School Culture and Climate Strategy for RPS

Glenwood Burley, retired RPD officer

Keisha Cummings, community engagement specialist, founder of 2LOVE LLC, member of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project and the Richmond Peace Team

Torey Edmonds, Community Outreach Coordinator at VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development

Professor Daryl Fraser, VCU School of Social Work professor and licensed clinical social worker

Triston Harris, Black Lives Matters organizer and organizer of the 5,000 Man March Against Racism

Birdie Hairston Jamison, former district court judge for the 13th Judicial District in Virginia

Councilman Mike Jones

Shanel Lewis, Youth Violence Prevention Specialist at the Richmond City Health District

Brandon Lovee, Richmond artist and advocate, member of the Richmond Peace Team

Colette McEachin, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney

Reverend Dontae McCutchen, Love Cathedral Community Church

Dr. Lisa Moon, Associate Provost at VCU and former Director of the Center for the Study of the Urban Child

Sergeant Brad Nixon, RPD

Tracy Paner, Public Defender for the City of Richmond

Bill Pantele, Richmond attorney and former City Council Member

Professor William Pelfrey, VCU professor with expertise in emergency preparedness and policing

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson

Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year and teacher at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center

Patrice Shelton, Community Health Worker in Hillside Court and director of the Hillside Court Partnership

Lashawnda Singleton, President of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers

Sheba Williams, Executive Director of NoLef Turns

Courtney Winston, Richmond trial attorney

The Mayor’s Office is specifically working with the Office of Community Wealth Building’s Community Ambassadors to identify additional community members, including youth, to be part of the task force’s important work and to assist with community engagement.

The task force is committed to a transparent process and will make meeting minutes available to the public.



Continue Reading


Richmond Then and Now: 114 E. Broad Street

A then and now snapshot of Richmond.




Original Image from Souvenir views: Negro enterprises & residences, Richmond, Va.
Created / Published[Richmond, D. A. Ferguson, 1907]



Continue Reading

Richmond Weather