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Valley Health System welcomes new President and CEO



Mark Nantz, Valley Health System’s new President, and Chief Executive Officer

Mark Nantz, Valley Health System’s new President, and Chief Executive Officer began work Monday in true COVID-19 style: appropriately distanced, wearing a face mask, elbow bumping new colleagues, and joining more than 6,000 coworkers to report a daily personal health attestation for the safety of patients and colleagues.

Certainly, neither Nantz nor his predecessor, Mark Merrill, anticipated making this major leadership transition during a public health crisis. Merrill’s retirement farewells and Nantz’s welcomes are occurring via email and video until it is safer to meet face-to-face and travel to Valley Health sites around the region.

During the Valley Health Board of Trustees’ nationwide search and comprehensive interview process with system, physician and community leaders, Nantz stood out as an accomplished and visionary healthcare leader with an impressive record of building advanced clinical programs and successful physician and community partnerships and improving patient satisfaction, quality metrics, and employee engagement at the local, regional and system levels.

“From the moment I first met with the search committee and then stepped on the Valley Health campus in Winchester, I knew I had found a place where people shared my commitment to improving the health and well-being of the community, especially those who are marginalized and under-served,” Nantz says. “During my interview process, every board member, every provider, every leader, and every staff member demonstrated a dedication and commitment to Valley’s Health’s mission of “Serving our Community by Improving Health”. It was clear to me that I had found a new place to call home and caregivers with whom I could join in serving the community.”

Nantz previously served in executive roles with Bon Secours Mercy Health, most recently as Chief Administrative Officer and Atlantic Group President; before that as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Bon Secours. He has also held executive positions at Carolinas Healthcare System (now Atrium Health) and Carolinas Medical Center–NorthEast, and leadership roles in the audit practice of a Big 5 accounting firm. A certified public accountant, Nantz holds a Master’s in Health Administration from Pfieffer University and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

In his first video introduction to Valley Health employees this week, Nantz touched on what motivates him personally and what his priorities are as Valley Health’s CEO:

“Winston Churchill once said, ‘Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.’ I believe that with all my heart and it’s why I have spent nearly 30 years in not-for-profit healthcare. It is at the core of my call to serve in the ministry of care delivery. To be sure, I feel that each of us has been called to serve others by providing access to high quality, affordable health care, and an exceptional patient experience, regardless of whether or not those individuals have the ability to pay. I think we are called to treat everyone who walks through our doors with dignity and compassion and that we must respect and appreciate the unique set of beliefs and experiences that they bring to our organization. That’s what drives me and what gets me up in the morning.”

“These are challenging times,” Nantz continued. “The COVID pandemic has changed much about the way we provide care, how our community views healthcare workers…and even the way we live. You can be confident that Valley Health’s medical and executive leadership have taken steps to ensure the delivery of safe, quality care as we diagnose and treat those with COVID, as well as care for our other patients with emergent healthcare needs. Our health system will continue to respond and adjust in these changing and uncertain times, and we will endeavor to ensure financial stability for both individual employees and the organization as a whole.”

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RSW Regional Jail’s new visitation system



COVID-19 has been a unique and ever changing situation and we are aware of the difficulties and strain the suspension of our programs and visitation has placed on the inmates, their families, and their friends. Since March of 2020, when we realized this would be a long term event, we have been working with our inmate telephone provider for a viable alternative to onsite visitation. Unfortunately, these plans slowed and then eventually halted as we faced the many challenges of having a number of inmates and staff test positive for the virus.

However, since that time, we have been able to move forward and are pleased to announce the launch of a web-based visitation system that allows for both, onsite and remote, visits. This system allows visitors the ability to visit with their loved ones from the safety and comfort of their home, utilizing a computer, tablet, or any Android smart phone. (IPhones do not currently work with this system, but we are told they are working on a solution to this)

Effective, July 13, 2020, we will resume our visitation program, utilizing the IWeb Visit system for remote visits only. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and will make a decision for onsite visits at a later date.

IWeb Visit was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Decatur, Alabama. They operate in 16 states from California to New Jersey. Currently, they serve 30 facilities across the nation and are adding 2-3 facilities per month. IWeb Visit focuses on increasing family contact with inmates and reducing recidivism as well as streamlining the overall visitation process by working closely with jail staff and administrators.

To accommodate this new system, a few changes have been made to our schedule and operations. Visitors will be required to register and schedule all visitations a minimum of one (1) day in advance by going to the website, Visitors are no longer required to be on an approved visitor list for each inmate and there are no restrictions to the number of remote visits you can have each week, as long as there is a time slot available. Time slots will be as follows:


  • 8 am – 11:30 am
  • 1 pm – 4:30 pm
  • 6 pm – 9:30 pm

Visits are in fifteen (15) minute increments and up to three (3) in a row may be scheduled at a time to allow for a total visit of forty five (45) minutes. There will be a fee of $4.50 for each fifteen (15) minute visit and it must be paid utilizing the website when the visitor schedules their visit. This fee is paid to IWeb to operate their system and RSW Regional Jail receives no revenue from this service. Visitors must also understand that by utilizing this system, they agree to the terms and rules of IWeb Visit. In addition, all visitation policies set forth by RSW Regional Jail are applicable. Any inappropriate content that is observed will result in the inmate losing their visitation privilege for a period of thirty (30) days. Subsequent offenses will result in a loss of visitation for a period of sixty (60) and then (90) days.

It is imperative that visitors have good internet connection or cell service (anything above two bars) before beginning their visit. Poor quality cell service or internet connection will negatively affect the sound and video during the visit. We understand this is a new process and you may have questions or experience some technical problems when first accessing the site. Please remember, IWeb Visit is an independent company that we have partnered with and RSW Regional Jail is not able to answer technical or operational questions regarding their website. For any questions or concerns regarding those matters, please reach out to their customer support team at or 775-434-8748. For any questions regarding RSW visitation policies, please contact Captain Michael Miller at or 540-622-5028.

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LFCC nursing students volunteer – and learn – during coronavirus pandemic



LFCC nursing students and faculty are playing an important role in helping to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Since the start of June, dozens of students have voluntarily staffed a temporary COVID-19 contact tracing center set up in the Barn on the Fauquier Campus.

Grants from the PATH Foundation, the Claude Moore Foundation and the Culpeper Wellness Foundation have funded the necessary equipment and faculty stipends for the center, said April Achter, population health coordinator for the Rappahannock Rapidan Health District.

The center is staffed by LFCC nursing students three days a week, and by nursing students from George Mason University the other two days. It is scheduled to run through July.

The health department is notified of any positive COVID-19 case, and then contacts the positive patient, according to Amanda Brooks, the Fauquier Campus’s nursing program lead and clinical coordinator. The patient is asked for people they have been in contact with.

Contact tracing center staff then call the patient’s contacts to tell them they have been exposed to someone with the virus, Brooks said.

There are various quarantine and isolation recommendations based on whether the contact has symptoms of coronavirus or not, or whether they live with a confirmed case, according to Achter.

Contact center volunteers ask the people quarantining if they need help with groceries and other needs.

“I’m working in the center to serve my community,” said nursing student Teena Stevic. “We answer questions regarding how COVID-19 is spread, what to do if you have been exposed and how to self-isolate if you have COVID-19. We’ve also had the pleasure of contacting members of the community to give them the good news that their test was negative.”

Brooks said six to 10 students work at the center per day. Students can volunteer up to three days, earning 24 hours of clinical experience.

“As testing for COVID-19 ramped up and states started opening up, it became more important to trace contacts,” Brooks said.

Additionally, nursing faculty from LFCC and GMU provide pharmacology and other instruction on slow days, Brooks said.

Aside from learning this important facet of public health, the nursing students are getting a chance to earn clinical hours at a time when they’ve been unable to earn them in the more traditional way at hospitals.

Many of the hospitals where nursing students earn clinical hours stopped allowing the students to come in starting in March, Brooks said. This was to conserve limited supplies of personal protective equipment and to limit new patients’ exposure to coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the Rappahannock Rapidan Health District needed people who could help trace contacts of those who have been diagnosed to with COVID-19 in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.

“It’s a great opportunity to expose the students to public health,” Achter said. “It’s been a great help to the health district. We’re just like everyone else – starting to transition back to routine services, and this takes a burden off our staff.

“Isolation and quarantine of those who are sick is really an age-old procedure for public health. The time-consuming and labor-intensive process of tracing contacts is the backbone of public health, so these students doing this work absolutely helps us mitigate this illness in our community. We’re grateful to LFCC for allowing us to use the space.”

Steevic said she decided to become a nurse to help close the gap in public health both in the U.S. and abroad.

“Working public health education while in school gave me an opportunity to talk with clients, educate them on the current pandemic, and practice the client communication skills I have been learning during my first year of nursing school,” she said.

Learn more about LFCC’s nursing program by visiting

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Congratulations to Skyline High School Seniors – Class of 2020



Royal Examiner presents the Skyline High School Class of 2020. Congratulations to these wonderful seniors on their hard work and deserved accomplishments! We wish you the best in your next big endeavors. Photos courtesy of Victor O’Neill Studios, Tolliver Studios, and Nik’s Piks Photography.

Brandon Ahlemann

Mackenzie Amos

Robert Atkins

Jacquelyn Bailey

Jason Balderson

Miranda Baltimore

The most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and to not give into peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not.”
—Ellen DeGeneres

Benjamin Barnett

Samuel Baugher

Jacob Bennett

Taylor Bolt

Taylor Bowers

Emily Boyd

Julie Bravo

“The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.”
—Neil Gaiman

Cheyenne Broadbent

Heather Brogan

Brianna Brookman

Dakota Brown

Aiden Brune

Lonnie Campbell

“Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”
—Senator Orrin Hatch

Sarah Carcamo

Charles Carey

Hannah Carlson

Kaleb Carnes

David Carter

Jose Castillo

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
—Arthur Ashe

Breanna Challis-Steshoski

Owen Chenery

Anna Christopher

Zane Clark

Gage Clem

Mark Clem Jr.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
—John Dewey

Derrick Coleman

Sophia Conrow

Kierstyn Cornwell

Rangel Covarrubias

Sydney Crafton

Joshua Craighead

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
—C.S. Lewis

Lacey Cross

Skyler Cross

Michael Davis

Andre’ Deville

Ashleigh Dickman

Alyssa Dodson

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.”
—Anatole France

Anthony Domino

Caleb Dotson

Brian Downs

Victoria Dunivan

Catelyn Egnor

Natalia Ferguson

“Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.”
—Kerry Washington

Eve Fincham

Hudson Fortney

Ashley Foster

Bryona Foster

Alyssa Foxwell

Willow Frenzel

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lindsey Fristoe

Mattison Fritts

Ashly Osorio Funes

Jeremy Funk

Marcus Funk

Christina Geiser

“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.”
—Edward Koch

Carrie Gibson

Nolan Golden

Hayden Gray

Edwin Green Jr.

Chandler Griffith

Ethan Gue

“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.”
—Jennifer Aniston

Dominic Guizar

Briana Gutierrez

Ulices J. Gutierrez

Kaliyah Hackley

Alexandra Haffer

Samuel Harris

“Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey.”
—Michael Josephson

Jaylon Harrison

Megan Haun

Nicholas Heberle

Olivia Heflin

Brandon Henry

Jarrett Henry

“The only thing you can do in this life is pursue your passions, celebrate your bloopers and never stop following your fear.”
—Grace Helbig

Luis Vasquez Hernandez

Joseph Hillaert II

Alexa Hire

Kayla Hudson

Georgina Hyers

Alexis Isom

“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
—Dr. Seuss

Luke Jakobsen

Carli Jenkins

Ayanna Johnson

Jasmine Johnson

Teagan Johnson

Abbigail Kapp

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
—Albert Einstein

Jordan Kenney

Adriane Kinsey

Alex Lalumondiere

Justin Laney

Magdalene Lavey

Aaron Lawson

“Every person you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”
—H Jackson Brown Jr.

Corinna Laycock

Logan Lockhart

Montana Lockhart

Gavin Long

Alyssa Look

Elizabeth Loveland-Gonzalez

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
—Mark Twain

Jacob Lowery

Kaley Mahoney

Benjamin Mandiak

Destinee Manning

Christian Massey

Dylan Mauck

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
—Thomas Jefferson

Matthew McHargue

Lemuel McKenney IV

Megan McLendon

Reid McMillin-Goodwin

Andres Becerra Mendez

James Miller

“You have to dance a little bit before you step out into the world each day, because it changes the way you walk.”
—Sandra Bullock

Madison Miller

Seth Mills

Jenavieve Moyer

Savannah Mullins

Andrew Neale

Kiara Newman

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
—Dr. Seuss

Kristal Nguyen

Phu Nguyen

Emma Nicola

Lauryn Nielsen

Jayden Norwood

Riley Oates

“Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.”
—Anna Quindlen

Colin Parsons

Cameron Payne

Jasmine Payton

Dionte Peacock

Hunter Peacock

Dakota Pearson

“I encourage you to live with life. Be courageous, adventurous. Give us a tomorrow, more than we deserve.”
—Maya Angelou

McKenzie Pence

Miura Person

Chloe Phillips

Mary Pierce

Ethan Potter

Matthew Presley

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”
—Stephen King

Jordan Price

Karlee Priest

Brianna Rack

Mia Ralls

Justin Reid

Kobe Rhodes

“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
—Charles Swindoll

Lindsay Ritenour

Joseph Rizzo

Morgan Robinson

Christopher Rodgers

Imani Ross

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
—Thomas Edison

Jake Ross

Rian Ruffner

Damarys Ruiz

Julian Sanchez

Madison Satterfield

Abigail Scriva

Alexis Sears

“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”
—Will Rogers

Chad Sears Jr.

Hannah Shamblin

David Shenk

Jennifer Shenk

Katlyn Showers

Taja Showers

“There is no script. Live your life. Soak it all in.”
—Dick Costolo

Layth Smadi

Sayf Smadi

Karlie Smelser

Avery Smith

Angeline Sotelo

Miranda Sowers

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
—Milton Berle

Nathaniel Spiewak

Wyatt Spiker

Jenna Stanley

Thomas Stelzl

Jaime Stewart

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

Savannah Stiles

Roan Sudermann

Tasha Tharpe

Andrew Thompson

Zachary Unger

Jace Ursey

“Spread joy. Chase your wildest dreams.”
—Patch Adams

Sierra Viera

Austin White

Sabrina Wilkins

Walker Wilkins

Brooklyn Williams

Carolyn Williams

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
—Albert Einstein

Kandice Williams

Kayla Wood

Ethan Wooddell

“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”
—Arnold Schwarzenegger

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United Way approves grants totaling $35,000



On Wednesday, June 16th, 2020, the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County Board of Directors approved grants totaling $35,000 to eight community agencies located in Warren County, VA. These agencies include:

  • Blue Ridge Legal Services
  • House of Hope
  • The Laurel Center
  • Phoenix Project
  • St. Luke Community Clinic
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Cars Changing Lives
  • Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry

The amount awarded equals a 16% increase over the amount given in 2019-20. The grants represent the culmination of a months-long process comprised of the following steps:

  1. Agencies are invited to apply
  2. Applications are received
  3. United Way Interview Committee meets to review applications
  4. Interviews are scheduled
  5. Interviews are conducted
  6. Interview Committee meets to decide on recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors
  7. United Way Board of Directors votes on Interview Committee recommendations
  8. Agencies are notified
  9. Grants are paid in quarterly installments, over the course of the fiscal year
  10. Agencies provide quarterly reports to the United Way Board of Directors

Since 1950, the United Way has worked to advance the common good in Front Royal-Warren County. The community wins when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. The United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of the challenges we face. Living United means being part of the change!

To reach the United Way offices in Front Royal-Warren County (134-B Peyton Street, Front Royal, VA, 22630), please email or call 540-635-3636.

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Community Events

‘Yappy Hour’ returns to Main Street this Friday, July 10



Special ‘Yappy Hour’ guest LaBella

“Yappy Hour” — a fun fundraiser for the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter – returns to downtown Front Royal’s East Main Street courtesy ViNoVa Tapas Bar and Restaurant Friday, July 10, after an absence since last March due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic emergency response closings.

Owners and operators Rachel Failmezger and Chris Kenworthy will continue to host “Yappy Hour” which features lower cost food and drink prices, a generous cut from sales during the 6-8 p.m. event, and proceeds from a traditional 50/50 raffle all donated to the Humane Society of Warren County (HSWC) for its Wagner Shelter operations.

In celebration of her release from her shelter kennel just 24 hours earlier, La Bella will be the “belle of the ball” as the rescue dog takes a bow with her adopters, Michael and Sherry Williams, at the opening of this weekly event.

Since meal and bar service has been moved outdoors into the “closed to car traffic” East Main Street, attendees are encouraged to bring their (well behaved!) dogs to join La Bella and my own rescue husky, La Diva, to the soiree. All spacing, masking and other suggested state and local requirements will be observed.

Front Royal’s original “Yappy Hour” was launched at the same restaurant site under a different name (Vino e Formaggio) by myself and Christian Failmezger several years ago, and over a two-year span raised some $12,000 for the animal shelter. It was re-launched last September with similar financial success during its first six months.

(Malcolm Barr Sr., our contributing writer, is a past president of HSWC)

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Virginia’s phased reopening plan for Virginia schools



Governor Northam announced a phased reopening plan for Virginia schools which gradually opens up in-person instructional opportunities for students as public health conditions permit. The first three phases of the plan are detailed below. While in-person instruction may vary by division and throughout the summer and next year, all divisions must resume new instruction with all students for the 2020-2021 school year. Regardless of the delivery format, all students are expected to cover the content over the course of the year.

This phased approach closely aligns with those outlined in the Forward Virginia Blueprint which allows businesses to gradually open up activities. Specific gating criteria, as defined by public health officials, must be met prior to entering into each new school reopening phase. If conditions worsen and the public health data indicate increased risk, school operations may need to revert to requirements in earlier phases. At all times, schools should be prepared for intermittent dismissals or closures depending on local public health circumstances. Finally, the guidance and requirements of each phase are subject to revision and updates as public health conditions evolve in the Commonwealth.

The phases for reopening school provide the parameters of maximum flexibility for in-person instruction that a division may utilize. Nothing prohibits a locality or region from being more stringent than options permitted here, and some divisions or regions may choose to provide fewer in-person offerings in any given phase based on local public health conditions.

The state has outlined the details of the first three phases of reopening schools and resuming in-person instruction. Phase I continues remote learning as the predominant mode of instruction but permits some very limited in-person options including extended school year, special education programs, and child care for working families in school buildings. Phase II expands options to more children, including summer camp in school settings, and in-person instruction for preschool through third-graders, and English Learners – for whom in-person instruction is not as easily replaced. Phase III permits in-person instruction for all students, but with strict physical distancing that may require staggered schedules. In all phases, schools should follow school guidance from the CDC, including enhanced social distancing measures, physical distancing, and cleaning, disinfecting, and other mitigation strategies.

Virginia’s phased reopening plan
The following guidance is intended to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in public and private school settings while supporting the resumption of peer-to-peer learning and providing crucial support for parents and guardians returning to work. These recommendations should be implemented in accordance with the Forward Virginia Blueprint, any existing Executive Orders, CDC Interim Guidance for Schools and Day camps and CDC Considerations for Schools, and in partnership with local and state public health officials.

Phases will be determined by monitoring public health data and key measures on disease transmission, healthcare capacity, testing capacity, and public health capacity to trace contacts of cases, and other relevant factors. The phased approach is intended to allow a gradual scale-up of operations and local school divisions and private schools may choose to proceed through phases at a slower pace if local public health conditions necessitate. Community mitigation strategies (e.g. physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, etc.) will be necessary across all Phases to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

Summary of Phases

Allowable Programs
• Phase I is effective immediately but is not intended to change the school division’s continuity of learning plans as they close the 2019-2020 school year.
• Remote learning is still the dominant method of instruction.
• School divisions may elect to provide in-person instruction for students with disabilities in both extended school year services and school year special education services, including private placements, with strict social distancing. Students will only attend such programs if the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team agrees it is appropriate and the parent consents. Virtual instruction may remain appropriate for certain students who may be challenged with adherence to the strict social distancing and safety guidelines as determined by the IEP team and the parents’ consent.
• With the approval of the Division Superintendent, accommodations may be offered for students to access the school building for critical instructional needs, such as accessing a secure assessment, if all health, safety, and physical distancing measures are adhered to.
• As is currently permitted, child care for working families may operate in schools but are subject to existing operational requirements for childcare programs and should be focused on providing programming/care to children of working families and limited to children in the local geographic area.
• The State Superintendent may continue to consider variances for other in-person instruction on a case by case basis. Such programs should follow all mitigation guidance.
• Schools may continue to ensure the provision of student services such as school meal programs.

Health, Safety and Physical Distancing Measures
• Schools should follow operational guidance from the CDC, including enhanced social distancing measures, physical distancing, occupancy, cleaning, disinfecting, and other mitigation strategies.
• Physical distance should be created between children on school buses (e.g. seat children one per seat, every other row) limiting capacity as needed to optimize the distance between passengers. In Phase 1, schools should limit bus capacity to 10 persons to the extent possible.
• The number of persons in a classroom should not exceed 10, and physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be maintained to the greatest extent possible.
• Other social distancing precautions should include, but are not limited to:
• Restrict mixing groups of students.
• Close communal spaces.
• No large gatherings, per the Governor’s Executive Order.
• No athletics or extracurricular activities may be offered.

Phase II
• Extended school year and special education services that are allowed in Phase I may continue to operate.
• Emergency child care for working families that are allowed in Phase I may continue to operate.
• Summer camp in schools may be offered to children of all ages. Programs should ideally be limited to children in the local geographic area.
• Schools may offer limited in-person instruction to preschool – third grade and English Learners students given the unique challenges of providing remote academic and social-emotional support to young learners and English language learners. Operational requirements include enhanced social distancing measures including physical distancing and other mitigation strategies.
• The State Superintendent may continue to consider variances for other in-person instruction on a case by case basis. Such programs should follow all physical distancing and mitigation guidance.
• Schools should continue to ensure the provision of student services such as school meal programs.
• Extracurricular activities (such as clubs) may be offered if social distancing mitigation strategies can be implemented.
• Athletics should be limited to an individual or team-based practice, skill-building drills or conditioning activities that allow maintenance of physical distancing at all times.
• VDH recommends that no youth recreational/school sports competition take place in Phase II unless physical distancing can be maintained at all times (e.g. individual swimmers showing up at scheduled times to have their event timed, etc.). A competition that involves contact with other athletes should be avoided.
• If socially distancing competitions are taking place, the following conditions must also be met:
• Outdoor recreational sports are allowable if 10 feet of physical distance can be maintained by all participants and spectators at all times and all shared items can be disinfected between uses. The total number of attendees (including both participants and spectators) cannot exceed the lesser of 50% of the occupancy load of the venue (if an occupancy load exists) or 50 persons.
• Indoor recreational sports (including practices and classes) may occur if 10 feet of physical distance can be maintained by all participants at all items and all shared items can be disinfected between uses. The total number of attendees (including participants, referees, coaches, etc.) cannot exceed the lesser of 30% of the occupancy load of the room in which the sport is being held or 50 persons.

Spectators may not be present except parents or guardians who are supervising children. Spectators must wear face coverings consistent with any active Executive Orders and due to behaviors that may bring greater risk (e.g. cheering), it is recommended that spectators be separated by 10 feet of distance from other persons.

Health, Safety and Physical Distancing Measures
• Schools should follow operational guidance from the CDC, including enhanced social distancing measures, physical distancing, occupancy limits, and cleaning, disinfecting, and other mitigation strategies.
• Physical distance should be created between children on school buses (e.g. seat children one per seat, every other row) limiting capacity as needed to optimize the distance between passengers.
• Physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be maintained to the greatest extent possible in all buildings.

Other social distancing precautions should include, but are not limited to:
• Restrict mixing groups of students.
• Close communal spaces.
• Limit outdoor activities/recess to 50 people, with a priority on social distancing and restricting mixing of classrooms.
• No gatherings (assemblies, graduations, etc) of more than 50 people (indoor or outdoor).
• No field trips.
• Limit extracurricular activities to those that can maintain social distancing, support proper hand hygiene, and restrict attendance to avoid severe mitigation.
• No athletics may be offered.

Phase III
Allowable Programs
• In-person instruction can be offered for all students, however, strict social distancing measures should be implemented.
• Remote learning exceptions and teleworking should be options for students and staff who are at a higher risk of severe illness.
• Mitigation strategies may impact operations and capacity limits. A multi-faceted instructional approach should be planned for Phase III.

Health, Safety and Physical Distancing Measures
• Social distancing and other measures will remain important prevention strategies. Additional operational requirements will include measures such as physical distancing, gathering limits, and other mitigation strategies (e.g. face coverings, class size limitations, etc). Schools should follow all guidance from the CDC.
• Physical distance should be created between children on school buses (e.g. seat children one per seat, every other row) limiting capacity as needed to optimize the distance between passengers.
• Physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be maintained to the greatest extent possible in all buildings.

Other social distancing precautions should include, but are not limited to:
• Consider restricting mixing groups of students.
• Consider closing or stagger use of communal spaces.
• Limit outdoor activities/recess to 50 people, with a priority on social distancing and restricting mixing of classrooms.
• Large gathering limits to be determined by Executive Order in effect at that time.
• Athletics and extracurricular activities may continue with some mitigation measures. More guidance will be forthcoming.

Beyond Phase III
• School divisions will return to a “new normal” for instructional and extracurricular operations in consultation with public health officials.
• Some restrictions may still be in place at such a time.
• Additional guidance will be forthcoming as public health data, safety precautions, and guidance evolve.

Public Health Guidance for All Phases
Schools should follow all CDC guidance for reopening schools. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Implement strategies to prioritize the health of staff and students, mitigate disease transmission and maintain healthy environments.
• Provide remote learning exceptions and teleworking options for students and staff who are at a higher risk of severe illness.
• Daily health screenings should be conducted for staff and students upon arrival. These should be done safely and respectfully, in accordance with privacy laws.
• At this time, public health is still developing its contact investigation guidance/outbreak response guidance for school settings.
• Staff and students should use cloth face coverings when physical distancing cannot be maintained, as is medically and developmentally appropriate. Face coverings are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.
• Cloth face coverings should be worn by staff in times when at least 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained. For example, a teacher standing in a classroom 7 feet from students
could teach without a face covering. During meetings or gatherings or in narrow hallways or other settings where physical distancing may not be easy to maintain, a face covering would
be prudent to wear. Other considerations such as speaking loudly, singing, etc. should be considered and may require additional distance.
• The role of children in the transmission of COVID19 is unclear at this time. Face coverings may be challenging for students, especially younger students, to wear in all-day settings such as school.
• Cloth face coverings are most important to wear in times when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Schools will have other prevention strategies in place (e.g. health screenings,
physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, limits on gatherings, etc.).
• Schools should encourage the use of face coverings in students as developmentally appropriate in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Schools should strongly encourage older students (e.g. middle or high school) to use face coverings in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Local Division Plans
Before entering Phase II and III, every school in Virginia will be required to submit to the VDOE, and make publicly available, a plan outlining their strategies for mitigating public health risk of COVID-19 and complying with CDC and VDH recommendations, including face-covering policies and procedures. The Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) will receive plans submitted by private schools accredited through a VCPE Approved State Recognized Accrediting Association.

Additionally, public school divisions will be required to submit to the VDOE, a plan for providing new instruction to all students in the 2020-2021 academic year, regardless of phase or the operational status of the school at the time. This plan must also include strategies to address learning lost due to spring 2020 school closures. This should include a plan for fully remote instruction should public health conditions require it. Plan templates and additional guidance from VDOE is forthcoming.

New survey: Warren County Public Schools need feedback on fall back-to-school plans

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