Return to Learn Plan for 2021-22 and Budget Update

Return to Learn Plan for 2021-22 and Budget Update
Posted on 05/14/2021
HCPS LogoJune 9, 2021 Update:

Read the Return to Learn Update for more information on the plan for the 2021-22 school year.

Original May 14, 2021 Message:

Dear Families, Faculty, and Staff,

I hope you are having a great week. I am writing today with important updates related to our preliminary Return to Learn plan for the 2021-22 school year and the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.

At Tuesday night’s School Board meeting, we presented a high-level overview of our initial plan for next school year. As we shared with you last month, we have been proud of our plan for this school year — giving families a choice in instructional setting — and we plan to offer families a choice of in-person instruction or online learning once again next school year, which is in alignment with the expectations of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The School Board will vote on this plan at its next meeting on June 8.

Given our experience with offering both settings this year, we now have a playbook for how to best serve our students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few of the highlights of our initial proposed plan for next school year:

- Families will have a choice of in-person or online instruction.
- Families who want in-person instruction do not need to make a choice. This will be the default enrollment option for all students.
- Families who want online instruction will need to opt-in. More details on how to enroll in this option will be provided after the June 8 School Board meeting.
- High schools will return to an eight-block, A/B schedule (versus the 4x4 schedule that we put in place this year to reduce the amount of student mixing due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
- Middle schools will offer two elective choice classes.
- Elementary schools will implement face-to-face instruction for in-person learning and synchronous/real-time art, music, library, and physical education for online learning.
- Specialty classes and programs (International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Advance College Academy, The Hanover Center for Trades and Technology, Health Sciences Specialty Center) will be offered in-person with travel between schools, where applicable.
- Focus at all levels on meeting students where they are, building healthy routines, and providing social-emotional support.
- Our COVID-19 health mitigation strategies will follow state executive orders in place at the time.

There is still much work to be done and many details that will evolve along the way due to the ever-changing state guidance, and we continue to appreciate your patience as we work through these inevitable changes. However, we hope you find this update helpful as you begin to plan ahead for next school year. We promise to keep you informed every step of the way as more information becomes available.

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Also at Tuesday night’s School Board meeting, the board adopted the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which makes a significant investment in caring for those who care for our students — our dedicated and talented faculty and staff, who have gone above and beyond to serve our students, families, and community during the most challenging circumstances we have ever faced.

All employees are set to receive a 2.5% salary increase effective July 1. The revised budget also gives teachers a 4.5% pay increase while enhancing our salary scale to create at least a $350 differential between each step on the teacher salary scale as well. Additionally, the budget improves the bus driver and instructional assistant salary scales. Bus drivers will have a starting salary of $15.75 per hour and all current bus drivers’ salaries will increase $1 per hour, while all instructional assistants will also receive an additional $0.05 per hour increase based on every year of service in an instructional assistant position with our school division.

As always, our budget makes a significant investment in meeting the complex and ever-growing needs of our students and families. The adopted budget provides for nine new positions to support mental health, counseling, and behavioral management, as well as continuing our five-year technology plan.

We are incredibly proud of this budget and grateful for the support of our county funding partners and community as we put a financial plan in place that invests in our students and staff to ensure we continue to be a destination for a top-tier education.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Gill
Superintendent of Schools
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