PUBLIC NOTICE – Board Meeting



P.O. BOX 2069 STAUNTON, VA 24402-2069

Pursuant to Chapter 1283 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly, the Board of Visitors of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind will convene electronically on Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to conduct the business required or necessary to operations. Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus health emergency, the meeting will proceed under modified procedures.

This meeting is open to the public and will be available to join by phone at (562)247-8422 or available to view online at:


Registration URL

Webinar ID 819-065-387


Oral public comment will not be accepted, however, written public comment is always accepted on the Board’s email account at Written public comment received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 18th will be posted on the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind’s webpage. All written public comment will be provided to the Board in a timely manner.


Please contact (540)332-9000 for more information.

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2021 NFB BELL® Academy In-Home Edition: Applications Now Open!

National Federation of the Blind logo and tagline live the life you want

Attend 2021 NFB BELL® Academy In-Home Edition: Applications Now Open!

Enhance Braille and nonvisual skills with us

The National Federation of the Blind is offering three virtual programs of the NFB BELL Academy this summer to prepare blind and low-vision children to grow into confident and independent blind people by enhancing their education. Options are available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students for the following dates:

  • Session 1 – June 7-18, 2021
  • Session 2 – July 19-30, 2021
  • Session 3 – August 9-20, 2021

Receive Braille and other fun materials for lessons. Connect with experienced teachers. Build relationships with other blind students and mentors.


NFB BELL Academy, an annual summer program, is appropriate for blind and low-vision children, ages 4-12, who:

  • Do not receive enough Braille and nonvisual skills instruction in school
  • Could benefit from more Braille exposure over the summer
  • Would enjoy connecting with blind role models

While the program is typically in person across the country, we are excited to offer it virtually in 2021.

Apply Today

Take advantage of this opportunity for your child to connect with blind role models.

Limited space is available. Learn more and apply now!

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Vaccinate Virginia Partner Update – Feb. 24, 2021

FEBRUARY 24, 2021
The following information is provided to help partners communicate accurate and timely information to constituents. This information is subject to change as Virginia continues to refine the vaccination effort. Visit for more information.
If someone forwarded this message to you and you would like to receive future messages directly, please subscribe to the Partner Update.
What’s New This Week
The Vaccine Summary Dashboard continues to show Virginia’s significant progress in vaccinations, with more than 1.6 million doses administered. Although last week’s severe winter weather delayed vaccine shipments to Virginia, more than 9 in 10 of available first doses have been administered. (It is important to note that the number of doses shown as being “received” by hospitals and local health districts does not account for the doses they then redistribute to other partners such as physicians and pharmacies.)
The statewide vaccine pre-registration system at has received more than 518,000 pre-registrations since its launch on February 15. Including individuals who pre-registered through local health districts in the past, the new system now includes nearly 1.7 million residents and essential workers. All individuals who have previously filled out a survey or form or signed up for a waitlist to be vaccinated through their local health district have been automatically imported into the new statewide system and do not need to pre-register again. As data migration continues, some pre-registrations may not yet appear in the search tool. Anyone who experiences difficulties with the search function should check the spelling of their name and email address carefully and consider whether they may have used a different name, phone number, or email address in the past. Anyone with questions should call 877-VAX-IN-VA rather than their local health district. A public information toolkit is available to assist local health districts, localities, and community partners with graphics, talking points, frequently asked questions, and other materials.
The new central Vaccinate Virginia phone number, 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), has received more than 115,000 calls so far, and is available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Service is available immediately in English and Spanish, with real-time interpreter services available in any of more than 100 languages as needed.
Based on our population, Virginia is now receiving approximately 161,000 doses per week from the federal government. There are still simply not enough doses available yet for everyone who is eligible to receive them. Virginia is not likely to meet the demand for Phase 1b until March or April.  Unfortunately, it may be weeks or longer before vaccination appointments become available for those who have pre-registered.
As part of a federal retail pharmacy program, 140 pharmacy locations in Virginia are now receiving a total of 52,000 new first doses per week beyond Virginia’s normal allocation. Participating locations include CVS, Food City, Giant, Kroger/Harris Teeter, Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart, and multiple independent community pharmacies. The Commonwealth is working with these pharmacies to ensure that as many appointments as possible are offered first to people age 65 and older who are currently on local health district waitlists, rather than accepting new signups from the general public. Unfortunately, CVS has been unable to find a way to do this within the technical limits of their appointment system. Anyone 65 or older can check regularly as appointments become available.
Governor Northam has amended Executive Order 72 to expand opportunities for outdoor activities in light of improving COVID-19 case statistics. While limits on indoor gatherings remain the same (including a limit of 10 people at indoor social gatherings), the limit on outdoor social gatherings and exercise groups will increase to 25 people and the limit on outdoor racetrack and amusement venues will increase to 1,000 people. The amended order removes the stay-at-home order from midnight to 5 a.m. and extends the cutoff time for alcohol sales in restaurant dining rooms from 10 p.m. to midnight. These amendments, which will be effective March 1, follow the recent amendment in effect as of February 22 to increase the capacity limit for outdoor recreational sporting events to 250 spectators. Summer camps will be able to open as of May 1, using strict mitigation protocols such as small cohorts of campers. Today’s news release, detailed guidelines, and frequently asked questions about Executive Order 72 are also available.
Key Overview Points
The doses Virginia receives from the federal government are allocated by the Virginia Department of Health to local health districts, primarily in proportion to each district’s population. Local health districts are expected to determine the most equitable and efficient use of each allocation, leveraging any combination of their own staff and volunteers, hospitals, pharmacies, and individual providers. Additional doses help support targeted equity initiatives. Other doses reach some residents of Virginia through separate federal allocations for employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and certain other agencies; the Indian Health Service; and a federal contract to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities.
All local health districts in Virginia are in Phase 1b of vaccine eligibility. This means that approximately 50% of Virginia’s population is now eligible, including frontline essential workers, people aged 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions identified by the CDC, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Other than the healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Phase 1a, the Virginians in Phase 1b are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 or serious illness if infected.
While local health districts are allowed flexibility in how doses are administered to eligible individuals, roughly half of the available supply should be used for people aged 65 or older. The other half should be used for frontline essential workers, people with high-risk medical conditions as identified by the CDC; and people in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Frontline essential workers should be prioritized in the order listed in the Phase 1b details.
Anyone who receives the first dose of vaccine will receive the second dose three or four weeks later as appropriate. Vaccine providers should not hold back their current first dose supply for second doses; they will receive second doses in proportion to the first doses they administer.
Executive Order 72 maintains the 10-person limit on social gatherings, the requirement to wear masks in public places, guidelines for businesses, and other provisions. It is essential to continue these mitigation strategies even by people who are vaccinated.
How Localities Can Help
Support local health departments by ensuring that pre-registration options through and 877-VAX-IN-VA are promoted through local websites and other channels.
Emphasize to the public that because approximately 50% of Virginia residents are now eligible to be vaccinated, the limited supply of vaccine from the federal government means it will take weeks or longer to complete Phase 1b unless supply improves.
Closely coordinate with local health districts to plan smaller vaccination clinics now and larger ones once supply improves. Pooling venues, staff, volunteers, and other resources now will avoid delays later.
Remind everyone in the community that it is more important than ever to take the same precautions as always: staying home when possible, wearing masks when out, maintaining physical distance from others, washing hands frequently, and other best practices.
Remind everyone to always look for websites that end with “.gov” to make sure the information is official. When a vaccine appointment becomes available through a local health district, there will be no charge. State and local agencies will never call, email or text to ask someone for a social security number or immigration status in connection with vaccination.
Office of Governor Ralph Northam | P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218
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Superintendent’s Corner – September 2020

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!  Despite the pandemic, VSDB has had a smooth start to the new school year! Students arrived to campus for Registration Day on August 16th in preparation for the first day of school, Monday, August 17th.  VSDB opened providing five days a week in-person instruction in order to meet the needs of its diverse and complex population.  After months of the campus being quiet and empty, VSDB was alive again with students and employees!  Everyone was happy to be back and to have the opportunity to see friends and get back to the business of learning!

Many hours went into the planning and reopening of VSDB.  VSDB’s COVID-19 team worked diligently to address student, parent, employee, and community concerns, and to develop the VSDB Health and Instructional Mitigation Plans.  The plans were developed with every aspect in mind to support a safe, healthy learning and working environment to the greatest extent possible.  The team worked closely with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the local Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to ensure compliance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as well as those set forward by the VDOE and VDH.  The team examined all aspects of “a day in the life of a student” as well as “a day in the life of an employee” and established processes and procedures to support a safe return for everyone.  The VSDB Health and Instructional Mitigation Plans are a work in progress and are updated as needed given new information and guidance.  The Plans can be found on the homepage of the VSDB website.

VSDB looks forward to a great school year and is confident that with teamwork with parents, employees, and the community, that VSDB students will be served effectively during these challenging times.  Please review the VSDB website for more information regarding VSDB programs and services as well as the COVID-19 resources that are posted and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Here is to a great 2020-2021 school year!



Pat Fahed Trice


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Extraordinary Awards for an Extraordinary Student

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) congratulates one of its 2020 graduates, Taode Ogden, for his high academic achievements during his tenure at VSDB!  During Taode’s  last two years at VSDB, in addition to his classes at VSDB, he also attended the regional Governor’s School for part of the day, where he excelled in his studies. Taode earned three additional academic seals for his hard work:
  • The Board of Education Seal
  • The Board of Education’s Seal for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
  • The Board of Education’s Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology.  

Taode has been accepted and plans to attend the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York.  Taode, best wishes and good luck!  VSDB is proud of YOU!

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Expanded Core Curriculum – Learning for Life!

Join us for a webinar –

Expanded Core Curriculum – Learning for Life!

for families of children with blindness or vision impairment, birth through elementary school

June 25, 2020, 4:00 – 5:15 pm

Register now at:

(you may have to cut and paste this into your browser)

Registration deadline is noon, June 22, 2020. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Join us as we explore the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).  Learn how your family can start early in sharing concepts and skills from the ECC with your children throughout normal, daily activities!

Some of the areas uniquely affected by impaired vision and included in the ECC are:

  • Sensory Efficiency: Using all senses to access information in an efficient manner;
  • Orientation & Mobility: Navigating independently and safely by knowing one’s position relative to other people, objects and places;
  • Social Interaction: Learning how to behave in social situations without the benefit of non-verbal cues;
  • Recreation & Leisure: Participating in physical activity and learning how to plan for and incorporate social and leisure time in one’s schedule; and
  • Independent Living: Taking care of oneself as independently as possible.

Target Audience:  Parents of children with blindness or vision impairments and professionals.  The focus is on children from birth through elementary school, but all are welcome.

This webinar is sponsored by Education Services of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired and Outreach Services of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind.

We hope you can join us!

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