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Newport News Public Schools and the Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Newport News Public Schools and the Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS: Frequently Asked Questions


Newport News Public Schools is committed to keeping families informed during the school closure. This webpage will address some of the questions NNPS has received from parents, students and the community. We will continue to provide necessary updates to the FAQs based on the feedback and questions that are received.

Update: SECONDARY At-Home Learning Plan, 4th Quarter


School Year Calendar

When will the current school year actually end now that schools are closed?

In accordance with the 2019-2020 NNPS calendar, the last day of school is slated for June 15.

Will NNPS continue providing at-home learning resources through June?

Yes, NNPS will continue to support students and families educationally. Please see the academic plans below.


High School Seniors and Graduation

What grading accommodations have been made for senior students?

Seniors who have not completed the necessary work to be successful as of March 13 will be contacted by their teachers and/or school counselor to ensure they are aware of the possibility of not graduating on time. Any seniors who were not on track for graduation on March 13 due to grades will have the opportunity to improve their grades during the fourth quarter. Seniors at risk of not graduating as of March 13 will be contacted by their school counselors to develop a specific plan towards graduation. For determination of the final grade for the course, all seniors will have the option of accepting their final average on March 13, 2020 or the inclusion of their fourth quarter assignments. This will allow all seniors the opportunity of improving their final grade. All seniors are expected to complete work being assigned by their teachers through the remainder of the school year.

How will Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Testing be handled? And what about the Early College Program and Virtual Virginia Courses?

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)Courses

For students who are currently enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, the College Board has announced and communicated to students that their AP exams will occur online at home. Please utilize resources on the College Board website: apstudents.collegeboard.org. Also, high school AP teachers will continue to work with their students to prepare them for these exams. However, if a student chooses not to take the exam, they will receive full weighted credit for the course, but will waive the opportunity for college credit. Please reach out to your AP teacher if you have questions.

International Baccalaureate (IB) has announced that their exams will be canceled. AP students should adhere to the guidelines for learning and work completion. IB teachers will direct students for further information on IB requirements.

Seniors enrolled in World Language IV will have an opportunity to participate in the Seal of Bi-literacy Assessment during the summer or when school reopens.

Virtual Virginia and Dual Enrollment Courses

Students who are in a Virtual Virginia online course should follow the directions given by their instructor regarding expectations for work and grading.

Regarding dual enrollment at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), if students are receiving instruction by a NNPS teacher as part of the dual enrollment program, they should adhere to the guidelines for learning and work completion being shared with all students. However, students in dual enrollment programs who receive instruction from a TNCC instructor will continue to have graded assignments that need to be completed on the timeline their TNCC instructors lay out for them, per TNCC requirements.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Courses

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has waived all industry certification tests for seniors needing a CTE credential for the 2019-2020 school year. A Credentialing Assessment Plan is being developed to support students in grades 9-11 who are currently enrolled in CTE courses that will occur during the 2020-2021 school year with priority being given to rising seniors needing a credential. For more information on CTE credentialing, refer to State Superintendent Memo 077-20.

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)Courses

For students who are currently enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, the College Board has announced and communicated to students that their AP exams will occur online at home. Please utilize resources on the College Board website: apstudents.collegeboard.org. Also, high school AP teachers will continue to work with their students to prepare them for these exams. However, if a student chooses not to take the exam, they will receive full weighted credit for the course, but will waive the opportunity for college credit. Please reach out to your AP teacher if you have questions.

International Baccalaureate (IB) has announced that their exams will be canceled. AP students should adhere to the guidelines for learning and work completion. IB teachers will direct students for further information on IB requirements.

Seniors enrolled in World Language IV will have an opportunity to participate in the Seal of Bi-literacy Assessment during the summer or when school reopens.

Virtual Virginia and Dual Enrollment Courses

Students who are in a Virtual Virginia online course should follow the directions given by their instructor regarding expectations for work and grading.

Regarding dual enrollment at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), if students are receiving instruction by a NNPS teacher as part of the dual enrollment program, they should adhere to the guidelines for learning and work completion being shared with all students. However, students in dual enrollment programs who receive instruction from a TNCC instructor will continue to have graded assignments that need to be completed on the timeline their TNCC instructors lay out for them, per TNCC requirements.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Courses

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has waived all industry certification tests for seniors needing a CTE credential for the 2019-2020 school year. A Credentialing Assessment Plan is being developed to support students in grades 9-11 who are currently enrolled in CTE courses that will occur during the 2020-2021 school year with priority being given to rising seniors needing a credential. For more information on CTE credentialing, refer to State Superintendent Memo 077-20.

Will all students pass this school year?

At the conclusion of the school year, grades will be calculated two ways:

  • Grades will calculate using students’ cumulative grades up to March 13, 2020. For year-long courses, grades will be calculated (1/3+1/3+1/3).
  • Students’ grades will also be calculated for grades during the fourth quarter (MP4), April 20-June 12.  If a student’s average improves with the inclusion of the MP4 grades, then the MP4 grade will be “included” in the calculation for the final grade.

Important Note: While students may be able to use #1 above as their final grade, students are still required to complete work during the MP4 (4th quarter) to demonstrate mastery of new learning.  Any student who does not show mastery (60 or higher) of new learning during MP4, will receive a grade of (I) Incomplete and final grades will not be calculated, nor will the student be able to move to the next level course until the (I) Incomplete has been removed. 

Refer to the "How will my child's grade be determined? (Secondary Students Grades 6-12)" section for more information.

How will senior class rankings be determined?

In keeping with School Board policy, senior class rankings were determined based on the students' grades at the end of their first semester in January 2020. The Valedictorian and Salutatorian for each of our six high schools were designated at that time.

How will graduation requirements be handled?

The State Superintendent has given assurances that seniors who have either completed or are currently enrolled in all needed classes and who were on track to graduate as of March 13, 2020, will graduate. It is imperative that those seniors who are determined to be in jeopardy of not graduating make every effort to work with their teachers and school counselors for the remainder of the year to ensure their grades are on track for graduation. Doing so will allow NNPS to grant our seniors the credits needed to graduate. We encourage parents or seniors to email their school counselor regarding their eligibility for graduation or other related questions.

The U.S. Department of Education has waived accreditation requirements this year. Consequently, the Virginia Department of Education has approved the cancellation of the administration of the Standards of Learning Assessments (SOLs) for the 2019-2020 school year. While specific graduation requirements such as verified credits (of courses students are currently enrolled in), CTE Credentials, online learning, CPR, W!SE Financial Literacy and the like is still being determined, school divisions have been given the ability to waive these requirements, and those that are required by law are likely to be addressed by the General Assembly soon.

Again, we want all our seniors to know that we are going to do everything we can do to make sure that they will still receive their diploma. Our high school staff will be working with each student and family to make sure they understand their current status and what they need to do to graduate. If you have more questions about graduation requirements, please email your child's school counselor.

Will NNPS have commencement ceremonies?

High school graduation is a milestone achievement for students, families and staff. It signifies hard work, dedication and perseverance. The Class of 2020 has certainly shown us that despite the challenges presented during the past few months, they are champions. While this school year has been unusual, Newport News Public Schools' commencement festivities will continue the time-honored traditions of celebrating the successes of our graduates.

After gathering input from the Class of 2020 and school leaders, Newport News Public Schools is proud to announce a multi-event plan to commemorate the accomplishments of our graduates.

All high schools will host Senior Spirit Week during the week of June 1-5. Activities include scheduled pickups for caps and gowns, cords, hoods and senior t-shirts; virtual recognitions and superlatives; and other celebrations.

Each high school will host a modified commencement ceremony at Todd Stadium the week of June 15, 2020 at the date and time noted below.

June 3rd Update: Graduation Update from the Superintendent

Visit www.nnschools.org/graduation for the graduation ceremony schedule and more information about the Class of 2020 festivities.

Secondary Students Academic Plan

What is the learning plan for middle and high school students?

On April 20, 2020, middle and high school students will begin the fourth quarter marking period (MP4) with a new At-Home Virtual Learning Plan for the remainder of the school year.  The plan includes the continuation of learning with opportunities for students to think creatively and learn using a variety of innovative online tools and resources. Teacher prepared lessons align with the Virginia Standards of Learning; therefore, it is the expectation that students participate and complete assignments, so that they are prepared for the next phase (grade, level, course) of their academic journey.

Is instructional support available for students with disabilities and English learners?

Instructional Support for Students with Disabilities

The Special Education Department is working to assist teachers with supporting small group instruction virtually. Collaborative teachers should plan with general education teachers to organize differentiated, small group instruction. A variety of online resources are also available to assist students and provide additional support for learning. Teachers are contacting students directly to meet their individual learning needs.

For meetings, the division will be utilizing electronic signatures for IEP/504 documents. When appropriate, parents will be contacted and provided instructions for the online signature process. In addition, computer-based testing will be administered, as needed. If necessary for eligibility determination, evaluations requiring face-to-face testing administration may be delayed with parental permission.

Special education teachers are providing work and communicating in the same manner as general education teachers to meet the needs of students. Special education teachers are working with general education teachers to provide strategies and accommodations to meet Student Learning Plans. IEP Progress Reports will be mailed with report cards.

504 case managers and general education teachers are providing specific accommodations for students with a 504 plan to meet the Student Leaning Plan.

If you have additional questions, please use the following link to contact a Special Education Administrator: www.nnschools.org/sped/contact.html

Instructional Support for English Learners

English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers are providing work and communicating in the same manner as general education teachers to meet the needs of students. ESL teachers are working with their collaborative general education teachers to provide ESL strategies and accommodations based upon each student's English Learner Support Plan (ELSP) as appropriate.

In order to support communication with families, teachers and staff will utilize the Voiance interpreting services. At the district level, all communications are transmitted in English and Spanish.

Newcomer students are also receiving instructional packets mailed to their homes in order to provide a hybrid of online and paper practice for students. Newcomer and Transition English students have access to Imagine Learning. The ESL department is working with teachers on supporting literacy instruction and providing needed small group mini lessons for literacy gaps.

EL Language Progress Reports will be mailed with report cards.

What are the expectations for students?

As active learners, the following expectations are encouraged ofsecondary students for successful at-home virtual learning:

  • Check email twice daily (AM/PM) for teacher announcements
  • Work to complete and strive for mastery on all assignments
  • Review teacher's feedback on all assignments
  • Review Zoom Schedule to participate in live lessons
  • Contact teachers for instructional assistance during office hours
  • Contact your school counselor for support or special circumstances
  • Contact your teacher or principal if you do not have a device or internet service
  • Use the resources on the NNPS Home Page for enrichment
  • Exercise, do something fun, and take time to unplug daily!

NNPS will follow the schedules below for teacher office hours and teacher/student virtual meetings via Zoom.

Secondary School Schedule

Download Secondary School Schedule (pdf)

How will instruction be provided for middle and high school students?

Middle and high school teachers will continue to provide online learning through Google Classroom and other media tools. Gmail accounts were created for all middle school students this week to improve communication. Please visit Student Support for At-Home Learning to learn how to activate accounts or for additional assistance on how to use the accounts. All high school students who already had Gmail accounts may communicate directly with their teachers via email. To continue with online learning for all students, a limited number of Chromebooks are available for students. Middle and high school students who do not have a computer in the home or internet access, should contact their teacher or principal immediately.

Teachers are planning lessons and using various instructional tools, videos and resources to provide engaging lessons for students. Additionally, teachers are communicating with students and families to provide support and feedback on their learning. Grades will be recorded in StudentVue and ParentVue regularly. Students who do not master learning will be provided opportunities to improve assignments by completing a similar task or assessment. It is the expectation that all students will complete the lessons and assignments to continue their learning and to receive credit for courses for the 2019-2020 academic school year. View additional at-home learning resources.

How will my child's grade be determined? (Secondary Students Grades 6-12)

Based on federal and state guidance, instruction at the middle and high school levels will be continued. Clear guidance from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) dictates that students must show mastery of learning for the full year in each content area. Therefore, NNPS has developed a plan for continuous instruction to ensure that all students are engaged in continuous learning for the remainder of the school year. The following section outlines grading practices for third (MP3) and fourth (MP4) marking period grades.

MP3 Grading Practices

Third quarter (MP3) grades concluded as scheduled on April 3, 2020. For MP3, grades will be calculated based on a student's grade as of March 13, 2020. Please note, students can improve their third-quarter grade by completing missing assignments and assessments that would have normally been allowed had the quarter continued with schools open. This includes any work that has been completed since schools have closed. 

MP3 grades were due on April 14, 2020.  MP3 grades will be calculated based on a student's grade as of March 13, 2020.  Any final grade of F for MP3 will be converted to an I (Incomplete) and submitted as the MP3 grade on April 14, 2020. All (I) Incompletes for MP3 work should be submitted by May 15, 2020.

Note: Teacher discretion to support individual students will vary with guidance from lead teachers and school administration.

MP4 Grading Practices

The new at-home virtual learning plan will begin on April 20, 2020. In order for students to receive credit for the course and move to the next level, students must show mastery of new learning during the fourth quarter (MP4). All students who do not show mastery of new learning will receive a grade of (I) Incomplete; this includes seniors. Teachers will make every effort to provide students with opportunities to improve assignments/grades to resolve the “Incomplete.” However, we do ask students to follow the suggestions listed in the Expectations for Student Learning section.

Students will engage in a variety of lessons that align with the Virginia Standards of Learning that will require independent work.  However, some instruction will be flexible and provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively with their teachers and peers. Teachers will provide on-going written and verbal feedback to students and provide opportunities to improve work before a final grade is recorded.  Teachers will communicate through Google Classroom, Google Docs, emails, Zoom conferences, Student/Parent Vue and/or phone calls.

In an effort to keep parents and students informed of work being completed and received, or not received, teachers will use the following codes as placeholders until the assignment has been graded, and/or feedback has been provided to students to improve a grade.

  • TI - Turned In - Student has submitted the assignment and the teacher is in the process of grading the assignment. Teachers will convert to a numerical grade once the assignment has been graded, and/or the teacher has provided feedback to the student to improve the grade, if needed.
  • NT - Not Turned In - Student has not submitted the assignment.

If a student does not receive a minimum passing grade of 60 on the first submission of an assignment, students will have up to 5 days to improve assignments.  Note: Teacher discretion to support individual students will vary with guidance from lead teachers and school administration.

Final Grades

At the conclusion of the school year, grades will be calculated two ways:

  • Grades will calculate using students’ cumulative grades up to March 13, 2020. For year-long courses, grades will be calculated (1/3+1/3+1/3).
  • Students’ grades will also be calculated for grades during the fourth quarter (MP4), April 20-June 12.  If a student’s average improves with the inclusion of the MP4 grades, then the MP4 grade will be “included” in the calculation for the final grade.

Important Note: While students may be able to use #1 above as their final grade, students are still required to complete work during the MP4 (4th quarter) to demonstrate mastery of new learning.  Any student who does not show mastery (60 or higher) of new learning during MP4, will receive a grade of (I) Incomplete and final grades will not be calculated, nor will the student be able to move to the next level course until the (I) Incomplete has been removed. 

Report cards will be mailed to the students’ address in Synergy (the student information system).

Will teachers be allowed to introduce new topics and assign grades?

Yes, new topics can be introduced.

Is technology available to assist middle and high students with online learning?

To ensure that our middle and high school student are able to fully participate in virtual learning during the closure, the school division will work to ensure that secondary students have access to a computer, or other device, and internet access. NNPS has a limited number of Chromebooks that may be checked out to those students who have the greatest need. Families are encouraged to contact their child's principal via email or phone message to request that they be added to a waiting list for these devices. Please be sure to give your child's full name, student ID number and your contact information.

Is technology assistance provided for students with NNPS devices?

Support is available for students who are having trouble with their Chromebook or other NNPS-issued device. Visit Student Support: At-Home Learning to complete a Technology Support Request or access virtual learning support. Students may also access assistance at nnschools.org/coronavirus .

If parents are looking to purchase a device, can NNPS offer discounts through its vendors to parents for such purchases?

Dell allows our families to receive their employee discount. NNPS parents and staff can receive members only pricing on all personal PCs from Dell, and exclusive members only elite offers (up to 30% OFF list prices for select configurations of Dell consumer PCs). Order by calling dedicated member # 1-800-695-8133, or by purchasing online at www.dell.com/epp. To receive your exclusive discount over the phone, NNPS families and staff must mention Member ID#KS15941399, or if purchasing online members must enter this Member ID at www.dell.com/epp.

Will middle and high school students take SOL tests this year?

SOL testing will not take place this year. The Virginia Department of Education is submitting a waiver to the federal Department of Education to release students from taking mandated state testing. If a student is a senior who needed a verified credit, the requirement will be waived as long as they were enrolled in the needed course on March 13, 2020.

Will students will be able to move to the next grade level? Will all students pass this school year?

At the conclusion of the school year, grades will be calculated two ways:

  • Grades will calculate using students’ cumulative grades up to March 13, 2020. For year-long courses, grades will be calculated (1/3+1/3+1/3).
  • Students’ grades will also be calculated for grades during the fourth quarter (MP4), April 20-June 12.  If a student’s average improves with the inclusion of the MP4 grades, then the MP4 grade will be “included” in the calculation for the final grade.

Important Note: While students may be able to use #1 above as their final grade, students are still required to complete work during the MP4 (4th quarter) to demonstrate mastery of new learning.  Any student who does not show mastery (60 or higher) of new learning during MP4, will receive a grade of (I) Incomplete and final grades will not be calculated, nor will the student be able to move to the next level course until the (I) Incomplete has been removed. 

Refer to the "How will my child's grade be determined? (Secondary Students Grades 6-12)" section for more information.

How does the school shutdown affect students at New Horizons?

New Horizons teachers will be in touch with their students on how their courses are continuing. All New Horizons teachers are required to have office hours. If you have not heard from your teacher, please reach out to New Horizons. Their website can be accessed through this link: nhrec.org.

How will Driver Education classes and behind-the wheel instruction be handled?

Per the VDOE and the Division of Motor Vehicles, students are required to complete 30 hours of face-to-face synchronous instruction via video conferencing.  NNPS will conduct driver education classes via the Zoom platform.  In order to meet the 30-hour instructional requirement, students will begin classes the week of April 13.  All students enrolled in driver education for the third and fourth nine weeks will receive correspondence from their teacher regarding times and dates for instruction.  Students must attend ALL scheduled Zoom meetings in order to receive their Green Card.

Behind the wheel driver education will be cancelled for the remainder of the school year. The summer schedule will depend on the Governor's decisions about schools and programs.

How and when do students return textbooks and other materials?

A plan is being developed and will be provided in the upcoming weeks.

Will report cards be issued this school year?

Yes, report cards will be issued for students in all grade levels.


Meal Service for Students

Will meal service continue?

The Child Nutrition Services Department is providing meals-to-go for any student in need through June. The meals-to-go include a lunch and a breakfast snack for the next day and are available for pick up at 21 locations throughout the city each weekday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (updated 4/21/2020). Two new locations were added this week. View a complete list of our meals-to-go sites.


School Office Hours

Can we go to school to pick up what we need?

Beginning April 15, all schools will have office hours every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parents will be able to pick up medications and other essential items, and register and withdraw their children by appointment only. Parents may request an appointment by visiting the "contact us" link at the top of the school's webpage or by calling the school and leaving a message. A school administrator or office professional will contact the parent to set up an appointment time. Parents are asked to bring a photo ID to their scheduled appointment and should avoid coming to the school if they are ill.

Newport News Public Schools is scheduling pickup and drop off opportunities for students and families to retrieve personal items left at school and to return textbooks, library books, instruments, Chromebooks, Wi-Fi hotspots and school uniforms from June 1 through June 12. To adhere to social distancing and in-person gathering restrictions, school administrators will establish and share specific dates and times for students and families to come to the school for safe pick up and drop off of these items.

On the students' assigned day and time, they will be able to retrieve their personal belongings and return school issued items with limited contact. Upon arrival, students and families will be asked to follow the direction of the onsite staff coordinator.

All middle and high school students who checked out a Chromebook or Wi-Fi hotspot to participate in virtual learning during the closure must return their device(s) on their assigned day and time. Ninth, tenth and eleventh grade students participating in the one-to-one computing program at An Achievable Dream, Denbigh and Heritage high schools may keep their devices over the summer.

Anyone who has potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or who is showing any symptoms is asked to refrain from coming to the school.

Your school will provide you with information about your scheduled pick up/drop off. School schedule information is available here.


Canceled Field Trips and Events

May I get a refund for a canceled field trip or event?

Parents and students should contact their school for information about refunds. Click on the "contact us" link at the top of the school's webpage or call the school and leave a message. Please be sure to include your name, your child's name and a contact number, and identify the field trip or event. A school staff member will contact you and provide you with additional information.


Summer Learning

Will SPARK be held this year?

NNPS is currently developing a summer learning plan. This information will be shared in a future update.

Will we continue to have Career Pathways Summer Internships and STEP?

The school division would like to continue to provide these valuable internship experiences for our high school students but is unable to make that determination at this time given building access restrictions and social distancing requirements. If the internship program and STEP are reinstituted for this summer, the information will be posted on the NNPS webpage in upcoming months.


Student Emotional Health and Well-Being

Is emotional support available to my child during the closure?

NNPS has created a Social/Emotional Support area within the COVID Academic Plan website. To assist in supporting students and families with additional mental health needs, contact information for social workers and psychologists is listed on this site as well as several activities individuals or families can do to assist with stress and anxiety. Please contact our professionals for assistance. Throughout the remainder of this virtual school year, this site will continue to be updated. For information, please visit bit.ly/2QSQKyT.


Contact us to submit additional questions and comments.

Wash Your Hands

Stay Informed

For timely, accurate information on the coronavirus, please visit:

Employee Rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (pdf)