Staying Safe and Enjoying the Holidays

Stay Safe with masked gingerbread cookies

Dear Colleagues:

Similar to what we’re seeing throughout Virginia and across the country, our local number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and percentage of positive test results have been on the rise following the Thanksgiving holiday.

As we approach our winter break, the Blue Ridge Health District is asking all residents to plan safe and joyous holiday celebrations. To help with your planning, the department’s public health experts have developed some guidance on how you can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We’re pleased to share their recommendations with you: Winter Holidays: Celebrate Safely!

Although we recently have experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases among ACPS students and staff, we have not so far seen any evidence of virus transmission in any of our schools, offices or workplaces. As the result of the dedication of staff and students to following our strict mitigation strategies and practices, school facilities remain among the safest places in our community.

Please continue to help protect your colleagues, our students, and all of our families by following such requirements as staying home in the event a close contact has tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms, even if you do not have symptoms. Remember, too, that the division requires all staff, students, visitors and vendors to wear face coverings at all times when on school division property except when eating or drinking. (Employees also are exempt when in an enclosed room with their door closed.)

We strongly urge you to follow the counsel of public health experts and, whenever possible, limit gathering and travel during the holiday season. Experience has shown that COVID-19 cases often surge following periods of increased indoor gatherings and travel. We ask you to help us safely reopen schools in Stage 3 on January 11 by following the recommendations of our local public health experts.

Thank you for promoting the health and well-being of our ACPS community during this pandemic.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and please continue to stay safe.

Eileen Gomez
School Health and COVID-19 Coordinator