Virginia Governor Executive Order 72 was amended in May 2021 to ease COVID-19 mitigation mandates impacting school events. Those amendments prompted additional changes to the 2021 Graduation plan, requiring updates to the information that was originally published on April 20, 2021. Updates are highlighted in red.
At the April 19, 2021, meeting of the Chesapeake School Board, Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton presented the graduation plan for the 2021 Senior Class. Graduation ceremonies will be held this year at Chartway Arena on the campus of Old Dominion University. This option allows for an in-person graduation with the entire class present. Ceremonies hosted in Chartway Arena will allow for each graduate six guest tickets, the use of the jumbotron, and a free live-stream option for family members and friends unable to attend. The seven high schools will be graduating on the following dates and times:
- Western Branch – Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.
- Deep Creek -Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 1:30 p.m.
- Oscar Smith – Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.
- Hickory – Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.
- Grassfield – Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 1:30 p.m.
- Indian River – Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.
- Great Bridge – Friday, June 18, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.
Another highlight of the school board meeting was the announcement of the instructional plan for the 2021-22 school year. The school board approved full-time, in-person instruction as the primary method of student learning for all grade levels next school year. The district will also offer a virtual learning opportunity through an application process. Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton stated,
“I’m excited that we are planning for in-person instruction as this should be our primary mode of instruction moving forward. However, virtual learning will remain a viable option for students as well. I’m happy that we have the resources available to meet the needs of ALL of our students.”
Students at the elementary and middle school levels who would like to apply for virtual learning will be required to make a full-year commitment to Virtual Virginia, and students at the high school level will register for courses through Chesapeake Virtual Academy and/or Virtual Virginia. The district will offer a virtual learning interest webinar for families of elementary and middle school students on Monday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Families must register to participate in this webinar to learn more about Virtual Virginia and the application process. The webinar will be recorded and posted to our district YouTube account at a later date.
Health and safety protocols will remain a priority as the district prepares for the majority of students to return to full-time, in-person learning on campuses next year. All schools will continue to implement key mitigation strategies to the greatest extent possible. This includes:
- Mask usage as required by Executive Order
- Physical distancing to the greatest extent possible
- Safe hygiene practices through the use of handwashing and hand sanitizer
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Contact tracing, which includes quarantining in accordance with CDC guidance
The district will be updating the current protocols and practices in their health and safety plan to reflect the most recent research, guidelines, and regulations for the 2021-22 school year.
Finally, Chesapeake Public Schools is seeking student, parent, and employee feedback on their experiences this school year. The Moving Forward 2021 survey will seek input on teaching and learning, health and safety, climate and relationships, and communication. Survey data will be used to inform continuous improvement plans for the 2021-22 school year.
The survey will be open from April 20 to April 30 and can be accessed on a new page dedicated to district surveys supporting our Strategic Plan. Students and parents should select the survey link for their respective role. The employee survey is only accessible via the district’s intranet.