Stages of Returning, 2020-21

At the special school board meeting on July 30, 2020, Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) staff presented five stages of returning to school for the 2020-21 school year. The stages, which were developed in accordance with guidance provided by the state, public health officials, and the school division’s Return to School Planning Guide, range from a fully virtual model to a return to in-person learning for all. ACPS will continue to define each of the five stages of returning as planning progresses.

Five Stages of Returning

In every stage of returning, all employees will have physical access to learning spaces, equipment, and resources, and health mitigation strategies will be in place for all students and employees in buildings.

Transition Between Stages

Transition Process

The uncertain and highly volatile nature of COVID-19 requires the school division to be flexible and proactive in our decision-making. Whereas ACPS initially sought to link stage decisions to marking periods, the division has reevaluated this approach and determined that future stage decisions must be made as needed in response to the following factors:

  • Current COVID-19 conditions in the Albemarle County region and within Albemarle County Public Schools, including, but not limited to, community transmission, testing positivity rates, and other public health data.
  • Status of COVID-19 testing and tracking capabilities in the Albemarle County region.
  • Guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health authorities.
  • Applicable executive orders and local ordinances that may impact our ability to provide successful classroom learning.
  • The school division's ability, including staffing and resources, to implement our instructional and health plans.
  • Feedback and input from stakeholders, including students, parents and guardians, employees, and community members.

The superintendent will present future recommendations to the school board accordingly. With each recommendation, the superintendent may make changes to the details of the stage.

The most current public-facing data about COVID-19 conditions in our area can be found on the Blue Ridge Health District COVID-19 Data Portal.

Record of Transitions

  • September 8, 2020 | Opened the 2020-21 school year in Stage 2
  • November 9, 2020 | Progressed to Stage 3 at the beginning of the second quarter (second nine-week period)
  • December 14-18, 2020 & January 4-8, 2021 | Temporarily moved to Stage 1 during the week before and the week after Winter Break as a precautionary action following recent increases in COVID-19 cases
  • January 11, 2021 | Returned to Stage 3
  • January 19, 2021 | Returned to Stage 1 in response to recent increases in the case incidence rate and percent of positive COVID-19 tests in our county
  • February 1, 2021 | Returned to Stage 3
  • March 15, 2021 | Progressed to Stage 4