Principal Page

Notes from the Principal

March 25, 2020

Dear Otter River Elementary Families,

If you’re like us, then the governor’s announcement to close schools for the remainder of the academic year leaves you with many questions. I want to start by saying that this is new and uncharted territory for everyone - including educators. We fully understand how upsetting and confusing all of this is because we are feeling it in many ways as well. Our teachers and staff immediately began expressing their sadness yesterday afternoon when we learned that time with our students was being cut short this year. That said, I want to be transparent in telling you that we aren’t going to have an immediate answer to every single question at this time, but I can assure you that as we receive information and develop plans we will share that information with you as quickly as possible. 

I want to go ahead and address a few things that may be on your minds, knowing that we will have much more to share in the days and weeks to come. It is important to understand that we are receiving new guidance from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and school division frequently, and this information is likely to be adjusted often. 

1. Medication Pickup - BCPS school clinics will be open on Thursday, March 26, 2020 and Friday, March 27, 2020 from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM. Our school nurse will be available to disperse your child’s medication or supplies to a parent or any other individual listed on your child’s emergency contact list. If this date / time poses a hardship for you, please email me ( 

2. Internet and email access – Teachers and the school are limited to contacting families with the emails that were provided in our PowerSchool system.  Many of our teachers are reaching out through Class Dojo as well. If you do not have internet please inform your teachers as they are preparing activities for your child.  Without internet access the school will have to mail packets of information and have completed work returned.  This will cause a significant delay in transferring materials. 

3. Pickup of Personal Belongings at School - at this time we 

are still in the process of developing a plan to provide students and families with opportunities to come and collect belongings from the building and return library books. We will share this plan with you as soon as it is available. All items are secured and locked in the building. 

4. Yearbooks – we had to submit our final yearbook and orders already. Due to the cost and early deadline we had to order yearbooks based on pre-order sales so we do not anticipate having any yearbooks for sale. We will notify those who pre-ordered yearbooks when they arrive. 


5. Refunds for Field Trips - our 4th grade field trip was canceled due to school closure. We have been in contact with the charter bus line about a refund.  They are behind in sending these but are working to get us a check.  Since this was the biggest cost of the trip we are waiting for these funds prior to sending refund checks to parents.  We will get those refund checks as quickly as we can once the bus check is received.


6. Learning Activities - while we await further guidance from the VDOE and school division regarding learning activities, our teachers are excited to do everything they can to keep our students learning. As such, we will be working to provide suggested learning activities for each subject for students and their families. Teachers will send these through Class Dojo, email, Google Classroom or other electronic media at least weekly. At this time, it is important to remember that these activities are not required, nor are they graded. 

Some of you have reached out about limited internet access, and we are currently working on a plan to identify more ways to share learning activities with our students. Please feel free to continue reaching out to your teachers directly through email. All staff email addresses are posted on our school website. 

Finally, I just want to say again that this is a new experience for all of us. I wish I could show you the countless calls, emails, and messages I have received from our staff and community asking what they can do to help. It is amazing to see how quickly we can mobilize when we are all committed to doing what is right for our students. While this is a perplexing time for everyone, it highlights the strength and unity of our school and community, and it makes me very proud to be a part of Otter River Elementary! 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at if you have any questions. 


Andy Greenough, M.Ed.


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