HCPS Balanced Calendar Delayed Until January 2021

May 15, 2020

Dear Families and Friends of Hopewell City Public Schools:

After several difficult weeks trying to make sense of our current situation while navigating the
Covid-19 CORONAVIRUS, our leadership team made the recommendation to our School Board
last night to delay the implementation of our balanced instructional calendar until we complete
first semester of next school year. I am grateful for the board’s understanding and support of
this decision.

While there are still so many unknowns as we seek to make good solid decisions around
“schooling” as we all know it, we are hopeful that by the end of the calendar year, we will have
a better grasp on whether or not we will be allowed to return to school in the traditional sense
in our school buildings and classrooms. WE WILL ALWAYS PUT THE SAFETY OF OUR STUDENTS
AND STAFF FIRST. It was never our intention to return to school buildings earlier than it was
determined safe by the experts at the Virginia Department of Health, the Center for Disease
Control, the Governor’s Office and the Virginia Department of Education. Our initial thinking
was that we would most likely be still delivering instruction virtually, and therefore, the actual
earlier proposed start date would not in any way put anyone at risk. Students would still be at
home, but able to get a jumpstart on the new year and the next grade’s content. After much
thought and analysis, we believe that for the balanced calendar to be implemented fully as
designed and with integrity, we must delay this transition until we are cleared to actually go
back to school buildings in some way. We are awaiting more guidance in the next few weeks to
further guide our planning efforts moving forward. As always, we will keep you fully informed
every step of the way.

We will be meeting as early as Monday afternoon to begin revisions to our published 20-21
instructional calendar. We will post as soon as possible, our first draft of the plan to maintain a
relatively traditional schedule for the fall, with the potential for a balanced calendar with
intersessions built in beginning after the winter break. This will be, of course, subject to change
for the second semester until we get closer to that time and further into our journey with this
pandemic and its continued impact on resuming on-site school operations.
I am grateful for your understanding, flexibility, patience and support. We are all in this
together, and I sincerely believe, we will be stronger and better when these difficult days are
over and we can be reunited again safely. Until then, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Be safe and well. I miss you more than words can say.

Melody Hackney, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools