School Board policies provide the framework for ACPS’ work. In recognition of the impact that remote learning will have for the start of the 2020-21 school year and potentially beyond, the School Board will amend several policies in the fall. Some of the relevant policy areas will include:
- Student Wellness
- Technology Use
- Staff Health
- Staff Leaves & Absences
- Masks and Protective Face Coverings (new)
- School Visitors/Volunteers
During the 2020-2021 school year, course curricula, assessments, and grading policies will be aligned regardless of whether teaching and learning occurs via in-person instruction or distance learning. While maintaining consistency with School Board policies, some instructional methods and practices may be modified to take advantage of the distance-learning environment. Such changes are intended to:
- Recognize the ongoing impact of providing new instruction to students remotely and to address learning lost due to the spring 2020 school closures;
- Align with VDOE’s Return to School plan; and
- Ensure maximum flexibility and benefit for ACPS students while maintaining opportunities for mastery of content standards.
During the 2020-2021 school year:
- Grading and the calculation of grade point averages will occur in accordance with Regulation IKC-R (Grading);
- Grades received in a remote instructional format (distance learning) will follow the same guidelines as those received through in-person instruction;
- ACPS will provide students with expanded technology resources and will provide staff with additional support and guidance to ensure equity in grading regardless of the instructional delivery model;
- Final exams may consist of a traditional assessment, or a capstone or summary project;
- To document learning and inform instruction, schools will establish reasonable and consistent guidelines for accepting late work that provide students with the flexibility to demonstrate mastery of content; and
- Teachers will communicate performance and grades to parents/guardians and students regularly and consistently. Grades will be posted in PowerSchool.
Student attendance will be recorded in each class daily, whether teaching and learning occurs via in-person instruction or distance learning. While maintaining consistency with Policies JEA (Compulsory Attendance) and JED (Student Absences/Excuses/Dismissals), attendance recording procedures may be modified from the traditional methods outlined in Regulation JEA-R (Attendance) in the distance-learning environment. Such changes:
- Comply with Superintendent’s Memo #188-20, Tracking Attendance for the 2020-2021 School Year;
- Align with the VDOE’s return to school plan; and
- Track attendance regardless of the instructional delivery model to promote the well-being of students through meaningful interaction.
For the 2020-2021 school year:
- The compulsory student attendance requirements of Va. Code § 22.1-254 remain in effect;
- Attendance will be recorded in PowerSchool for each class regardless of whether the student participated in distance learning or in-person instruction on that day;
- Distance learning–synchronous: Teachers will record attendance based on the student’s presence during live, virtual instruction;
- Distance learning–asynchronous: Teachers will record attendance based on student engagement (daily progress via ACPS distance learning platforms, through teacher-student interaction, or by completion/submission of assignments);
- Specific attendance modifications for students with 504 plans or IEPs will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis;
- Parents/guardians will be notified when students are absent without parent/guardian notification and reminded of the need to contact the school as soon as possible;
- Excused absences will continue to be requested/reported through traditional channels by contacting the school;
- Absences due to technology systems failures (inability to log in to Zoom, loss of internet connection, etc.), will be converted from an unexcused absence to an excused absence once a parent/guardian has contacted the school and given an explanation for the absence; and
- Student Support Teams and administrators, in consultation with teachers, will provide students who demonstrate a pattern of repeated absences with appropriate interventions.
Unless modified above, all other provisions of Regulation JEA-R -Attendance (PDF) remain in effect for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Through the accounting of both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for instruction and learning, to the maximum extent possible, ACPS will strive to meet the established instructional minute and hour guidelines from the Virginia Board of Education.
- Should the Virginia Board of Education or Virginia Department of Education provide additional flexibility or guidance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACPS will continue to review and incorporate directives per established practice.