James River chose to have in-person schooling last year for each child each day. While most other schools were struggling with virtual learning, our students were gaining the benefits that come with being in person--academically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this.
- Two days ago, the surgeon general declared the country to be in a Youth Mental Health Crisis. While none of us have escaped unscathed, James River students have largely been shielded from the devastating effects that came with extended time in distance learning.
- A recent Wall Street Journal article, Remote Learning Fails the Test, reported that the test scores of students in virtual learning environments were significantly lower than the scores of students with in-person learning. The article goes on to say, “It’s also notable that Virginia had the greatest decline in math pass rates—31.9 percentage points—between the 2018-19 and 2020-21 school years. Of the twelve states studied, Virginia also offered the least amount of in-person instruction.”
I also know we are all feeling “done” with all the COVID-19 precautions. And yet we must persist in using caution as we gather over the holidays. Thanks to the partnership we have with you, our parents, our health record during the pandemic has been remarkable. I’d like to share a few pertinent statistics:
- Our absentee rate has remained low during this time, due in part to our policy of wearing masks while in the building.
- We have only had to quarantine (one grade) once this year, and we only lost one day of in-person schooling as a result.
- Most notably, there has been ZERO in-school transmission of COVID-19 during the entire pandemic. Students and faculty occasionally have contracted COVID-19, but the source of the illness was external to the school in each case.
I think we are all needing and looking forward to our Winter Holiday Break. I hope you will all enjoy this time together as families with your traditions and celebrations. At the end of our break--when the New Year approaches--we must all begin thinking about our return to school on Tuesday, January 4. At that time, if you feel your family might have been exposed to COVID-19, please keep your children home and report any illness to the school nurse.
Connection is something we need as human beings and the relaxed pace of the holiday season will help us feel rejuvenated. We all hope this upcoming break will be restful, peaceful, happy, and filled with the connections that make the holidays glow in our memories.
About the pictures included here, I thought families would like to see some pictures of last Friday's (December 3) Hanging of the Greens, an annual December tradition at James River Day School. Students enjoyed hanging the snowflake ornaments they had decorated earlier in the week. Eighth graders also made paper chains that included their holiday wishes for one another. The paper chains were used to help decorate the edge of the stage for the 3rd grade play, The Grumps of Ring-a-Ding Town. (Look for those pictures in the near future!)