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HCPS will phase in an in-person learning option, new safety protocols, to accompany fully virtual option

Henrico County Public Schools will offer expanded in-person learning options and enhanced safety protocols, to be phased in beginning with younger elementary students starting Nov. 30 and concluding with high school students in February.

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Henrico County Public Schools will offer expanded in-person learning options and enhanced safety protocols, to be phased in beginning with younger elementary students starting Nov. 30 and concluding with high school students in February. HCPS families will also have the option to continue using a fully virtual approach for students. Students choosing the in-person option will be in school buildings four days a week and learn virtually from home on Wednesdays.

The expansion of in-person learning will be accompanied by enhanced safety protocols in school facilities and buses. The School Board voted 4-1 to adopt the plan after hearing recommendations from the HCPS Health Committee and Superintendent Amy Cashwell, as well as staff and public comments, at its Thursday work session.

Implementation of the phased-in approach will be dependent on continued analysis of health and safety data and the recommendation of public health experts.

To see videos from the work session and meeting, and to see answers to frequently asked questions about the in-person option, go to https://henricoschools.us/returntoschoolplan/.

Town hall meetings scheduled

The school division will hold two informational “town hall” meetings next week for HCPS staff members and HCPS student households in order to discuss the plan and answer questions submitted in advance. The meetings will be conducted virtually to accommodate potentially thousands of participants while prioritizing safety.

  • HCPS Virtual Staff Town Hall Meeting on In-Person Option (details being communicated internally to HCPS employees)
    • Tuesday, Oct. 27

Phased-in approach for in-person learning

The in-person schedule will be phased in over several months starting with elementary school students, who often face the most challenges with virtual learning:

  • Monday, Nov. 30: Grades pre-K, K, 1 and 2 would have the option to return to in-person learning.
  • Monday, Dec. 7: Grades 3, 4 and 5 would have the option to return to in-person learning.
  • Jan. 4-8: Learning would be virtual for all students during the week after Winter Break.
  • Monday, Feb. 1 (start of second semester): Grades 6 and 9 would have the option to return to in-person learning.
  • Thursday, Feb. 4: Grades 7, 8; 10, 11 and 12 would have the option to return to in-person learning.

School day

The five-day schedule for fully virtual students will continue (with an abbreviated schedule on Wednesdays.) Students choosing the in-person option would attend school four days a week, and would learn virtually on Wednesdays to allow for additional deep cleaning of schools as well as teacher planning:

  • In-person students will be in school buildings four days per week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Virtual “Wellness Wednesdays” will be characterized by:
  • Additional deep cleaning of schools.
  • Two hours of teacher-led virtual learning.
  • Additional independent student learning time.
  • Academic and social/emotional support.
  • Teacher planning and professional learning time.

Risk-mitigation measures

HCPS will adopt a number of risk-mitigation protocols recommended by the HCPS Health Committee:

  • Using 6-foot distancing for classroom seating.
  • Maintaining “cohort” groupings of students as much as possible.
  • Creating one-way traffic patterns in school hallways.
  • Adjusting the secondary master schedule to stagger and extend transition times.
  • Continue a host of specific safety improvements underway, including staff training, cleaning, use of masks, three-sided protective guards for all desks, HVAC air flushing and other measures.

School visitors will be by appointment only and will be limited to main offices. Large-group gatherings and field trips will not be held. Random temperature checks of students and staff will be conducted in schools. Secondary students will be assigned to “lunch pods” of other students for meals. To see safety measures the school division continues to implement, go to https://henricoschools.us/healthupdate/preparing-for-a-return.

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Survey: Workforce training graduates report higher wages, better work-life balance

Since launching FastForward in 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges’ grant-funded career training program has prepared more than 24,500 Virginians to earn industry-recognized workforce credentials in a wide range of high-demand fields, including healthcare, information technology, logistics and transportation, education and skilled trades.

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Graduates of FastForward workforce training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges see an average of $8,000 in wage increases, plus more satisfaction with work schedules and employer benefits, according to an annual survey of students who completed FastForward training and attained industry-recognized workforce credentials.

Since launching FastForward in 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges’ grant-funded career training program has prepared more than 24,500 Virginians to earn industry-recognized workforce credentials in a wide range of high-demand fields, including healthcare, information technology, logistics and transportation, education, and skilled trades.

“FastForward has been serving Virginia’s workforce and employers for almost five years now,” said Dr. Corey McCray, associate vice chancellor for programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges. “With the pandemic driving the need for a skilled workforce, now more than ever, short-term, affordable training is critically important, and we’re thankful that FastForward can be that resource for Virginians in need of a leg up.”

The survey reports experiences from 289 respondents who earned workforce credentials between July 2019 and March 2020, and found that, in addition to wage increases, students reported quality-of-life enhancements:

  • 83% of graduates have work that offers paid-vacation time
  • 81% reported employer-paid medical insurance
  • 87% reported satisfaction with their work schedule

On average, FastForward students are older than a traditional college student, averaging 35 years old, and three out of four are new to community college. Additionally, more than 40% of FastForward students are minorities. The survey also found that more than 60% have dependents.

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Great Depression brought to life through interactive photo collection now available through UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab

Photogrammar is an open-access, web-based tool that allows users to easily navigate and engage with 170,000 photographs taken between 1935-1943.

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The University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab and Distant Viewing Lab has released a new project that gives its users the ability to explore what life was like in America during the Great Depression and World War II.

Photogrammar is an open-access, web-based tool that allows users to easily navigate and engage with 170,000 photographs taken between 1935-1943.

Photos can be browsed by categories that were assigned in the 1940s, from expansive themes like “Work” to far more targeted slices of life, society, and the economy during the Depression era like “Dancing,” “Strikes,” and “Abandoned Mines.” Users can also zero in on photos of their own communities from 80 years ago through an interactive map.

“This project allows anyone to experience some of the most iconic images of the era by photographers like Dorothea Langea and Walker Evans as well as others rarely seen before,” said Lauren Tilton, assistant professor of digital humanities and project director.

“What began as an initiative to support and justify government programs put into place to foster the country’s recovery from the Great Depression, these photographers quickly expanded their vision and set out to document America,” she added.

The image collection was originally digitized in the 1990s by the Library of Congress, and in 2010, Tilton and University of Richmond statistics professor Taylor Arnold began the Photogrammar project with a team at Yale University. Tilton and Arnold joined UR in 2016, and the project has continued to evolve with their guidance, being supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Council for Learned Societies.

Photogrammar is the latest installation in UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab’s award-winning American Panaroma: An Atlas of United States History. From immigration and federal urban policy to slavery and electoral politics, American Panorama features data-rich, interactive mapping projects that are a go-to resource for journalists, policymakers, educators, and citizens alike.

“From the moment it launched a decade ago, Photogrammar has been a groundbreaking project,” said Rob Nelson, director of UR’s Digital Scholarship Lab. “The photographic archive behind it offers an incredible window into all aspects of life in Depression-era America. We are very excited to have this new version as part of American Panorama. ”

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Henrico Schools asks community for feedback as division examines relationship between police, schools

Henrico County Public Schools is announcing an update to the school division’s memorandum of understanding with the Henrico County Police Division. In doing so, HCPS invites the community to review the updated MOU document and make comments via an online form.

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Henrico County Public Schools is announcing an update to the school division’s memorandum of understanding with the Henrico County Police Division. In doing so, HCPS invites the community to review the updated MOU document and make comments via an online form.

The 11-page document is designed to coordinate efforts, facilitate communication and establish a mutually beneficial framework for HCPS and the police division. It covers the roles and responsibilities of both organizations; procedures for various situations; legal and financial responsibilities; and evaluation of the agreement in the future. Virginia school divisions that employ school resource officers are required by law to create a similar agreement with their city or county law enforcement agency.

The public is invited to review the revised memorandum and offer written feedback by going to the school division’s website athttps://henricoschools.us and looking under “Hot Topics.” Feedback must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 7.

HCPS Superintendent Amy Cashwell and Henrico Police Chief Eric English will review and consider written feedback on the revised agreement before formalizing the MOU agreement in March.

In an earlier part of this review process, the HCPS Office of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity also organized 12 input meetings in September, October and December of 2020 including HCPS leaders, teachers, students, parents and guardians, school-based mental health staff, behavioral support staff, school resource officers and school security officers.

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