Hanover High School Update

Hanover High School Update
Posted on 12/31/2020
HCPS LogoDecember 31, 2020 Update:

Dear Hanover High School Families, Faculty, and Staff,

We hope you and your loved ones have had a safe and joyful holiday season. We are writing today to share an important update regarding the reopening of Hanover High School.

We will reopen Hanover High School for in-person instruction with the rest of the school division on Monday, January 4. As we shared with you earlier this month, the increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases at HHS led to significant staffing issues that constrained our ability to continue offering face-to-face learning. Following the week of remote learning and Winter Break, those staffing limitations have been resolved, and we are able to resume face-to-face instruction. 

As a reminder, winter sports will also begin on Monday. For more information on tryouts, go here.

We will continue to carefully monitor the number of positive COVID-19 cases and related effects at HHS and every school and will revisit the status of face-to-face learning should that become necessary.

The decision to  suspend in-person instruction at HHS temporarily was not made lightly, and it serves as a profound reminder that our ability to offer face-to-face learning is fragile given the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must all stay vigilant in mitigating the spread of the virus. 

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and vigilance as we continue to navigate the most challenging circumstances we have ever faced.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools
Jennifer Greif, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Leadership
Dr. Robert Staley, Director of Secondary Education
Kris Reece, Principal
Terry Woody, Health Services Coordinator

Original December 11, 2020 Message:

Dear Hanover High School Families, Faculty, and Staff,

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well. We are writing today with important news related to face-to-face instruction at Hanover High School (HHS).

After careful consideration, we have made the difficult and necessary decision to suspend face-to-face instruction for all students at HHS and transition the school to remote learning, as outlined in our Return to Learn Plan. The change is effective immediately and extends through Friday, December 18. We plan to reopen HHS on Monday, January 4, 2021, which is the first day after Winter Break.

We do not make this decision lightly as we understand that this is a significant disruption to your daily lives. Please be assured that we have exhausted all possible options to continue face-to-face instruction at HHS. We believe, however, that this is the best decision possible to help address the recent and ongoing staffing constraints at HHS caused by COVID-19.

More details will be forthcoming from Ms. Reece regarding plans for remote instruction. Specific and more detailed guidance for teachers and staff is also forthcoming.

Why is HHS temporarily closing?

As we have shared with you recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in our county and schools. This is causing staffing limitations, especially at some of our middle and high schools, and we have been monitoring this very closely.

While our Return to Learn plan assumes that cases will occur, there have been more cases — and subsequent quarantines — at HHS than any other school in the division, particularly over the past two weeks. This has resulted in considerable employee absences due to illness or quarantining, especially in areas that are vital to our daily face-to-face operations at HHS. As a result, we believe that we have reached a critical point where we are no longer able to sustain effectively our in-person operations.

What are the plans to resume face-to-face instruction?

We plan to reopen HHS on Monday, January 4, 2021, which is the first day after Winter Break, assuming these concerns have been resolved. In the meantime, all students and staff will transition to remote learning through December 18, as outlined in our Return to Learn Plan.

We will confirm our plan to reopen HHS with you no later than Thursday, December 31 via email and Schoology.

Are other schools closing as well?

No. HHS is the only school currently temporarily closing due to COVID-19. We plan to continue providing face-to-face instruction at all remaining schools. However, as noted above, the increase in positive COVID-19 cases and related effects is occurring at other schools in the division as well. We will continue to examine carefully the status of face-to-face learning at every school and communicate any related decisions that may be necessary.

What data do you use to assess a COVID-related school closure?

This work is highly complex and a simple formula does not exist. Rather, we recognize that there are many considerations that factor into our decision-making, and they are often unique to each school, job function, and level. We continue to evaluate a wide variety of health-related data and guidance daily in conjunction with Chickahominy Health District officials. We approach this on a case-by-case and school-by-school basis.

How does this impact students in specialty programs?

Students who travel for specialty center classes at Hanover High School from other schools will be able to join the class via Zoom from either their home school or from home, depending upon their individual travel arrangements. Students who need a space in their home schools will be provided one.

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We knew as part of the crafting of our Return to Learn Plan that a transition to remote instruction was possible and prepared accordingly. Our goal is to maintain daily, quality instruction for all students, as outlined in the Plan. We will work to make this transition as smooth as possible, understanding that this will require teamwork, cooperation, and patience.

In the meantime, we continue to ask for your assistance with doing everything possible to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This will help to keep our community healthy and our schools open.

As always, we are grateful for your support, understanding, and grace as we navigate these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Gill
Superintendent of Schools

Jennifer Greif
Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Leadership

Dr. Robert Staley
Director of Secondary Education

Kris Reece
Principal

Terry Woody
Health Services Coordinator
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