Message from the Superintendent
October 5, 2020 Update
Hello Vestavia Hills City Schools family. I want to first express my appreciation to our staff and students for an impressive start to the school year despite extraordinary circumstances. Your time and efforts to make the best of our situation have been unbelievable. Today, I would like to talk with you about updates to our school reopening plan.
As you know, our plan for in-person traditional instruction was developed based on the Jefferson County Department of Health’s recommendation that we limit daily capacity on secondary campuses. Accordingly, we implemented the red and blue day schedule for 6th-12th grade students to attend in-person every other school day through the first nine weeks.
Another of the recommendations for students returning to school was that we effectively implement the enhanced procedures and precautions in our reopening plan. Some of these include our 4Habits 4Health practices of completing daily symptom checks, wearing face coverings, observing social distance, and practicing good hygiene.
Since the beginning of the school year, approximately 1.25% of students in Vestavia Hills City Schools have had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis as reported by parents, and approximately 5.5% of students have had to quarantine at some point as a result of close contact at school with someone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. These percentages are almost identical for our faculty and staff. On average, approximately 0.23% of students have been absent each day as a result of a known positive COVID-19 diagnosis and approximately 1.72% absent each day as a result of close contact at school. I believe the trends in our percentages have remained low because of the vigilance of our staff and students to implement and follow the plan.
After several weeks working closely with the Jefferson County Department of Health to ensure our plans are within safety and health guidelines, traditional students at Liberty Park Middle, Louis Pizitz Middle, Vestavia Hills High School Freshman Campus, and Vestavia Hills High School will move to attending on campus each day of the school week beginning Wednesday, October 14. We will continue to utilize the enhanced procedures and precautions outlined in our reopening plan, including required face coverings. Classrooms will be set up to observe social distance guidelines to the greatest extent practical. In very limited cases where all students are not able to fit in a classroom during a period, we will have supervised learning spaces where some students periodically can work on their lesson virtually. We will also make any necessary adjustments to class transitions, lunch service, arrivals, and dismissals. Students participating in the traditional model may opt to move to the remote model at any time during the semester.
Students who are participating in the full-time remote instructional model will continue to do so through the end of the first semester (ending January 15, 2021). Our entire team is working diligently to make the remote experience meaningful for those students. As part of these efforts, parents will soon receive a survey requesting feedback on the remote instructional model. In November, you will also receive a survey to help us determine the number of students who want to return to traditional instruction at the beginning of second semester.
We will update our plan as needed and we will promptly communicate those changes to you. We will make any necessary adjustments to our traditional schedules should there be changes to guidance and recommendations from public health officials. Having traditional students on a full week schedule can be sustained as long as we do not have a trend of quarantine rates related to COVID-19 that create the need to change course. Please continue to be vigilant to practice the 4Habits 4Health each day in school and in the community.
I wish you all the best. Be well!
Dr. Todd Freeman
July 16, 2020
Original Reopening Plan announced
August 4, 2020
Deadline to select Remote Learning Model
August 5, 2020
Updated Reopening Plan Announced
August 7, 2020
First day for teachers
Week of August 10, 2020
Schools begin communication regarding orientations, pickup of Chromebooks and supplies, and other school-specific information
August 20, 2020
First day for students
Grades 6-12 begin Alternating Day Schedule
October 14, 2020
Grades 6-12 Traditional Model students return to full-week schedule