FCPS Continuing to Pause Groups 4-6 for Return to School

By Office of Communication and Community Relations
December 03, 2020

Hello FCPS Families, Caregivers, and Staff,

As we shared prior to Thanksgiving break, we promised to update you with information on when additional students and staff could return for in-person instruction.

Current Metrics Exceed our Thresholds for Returning More Students

As you recall, we are currently using two of the three Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Core Metrics in making our return-to-school decisions. Unfortunately, these two health metrics continue to exceed our thresholds for returning more in person student groups to our schools.  Specific information around these indicators and thresholds can be found here.

Pause Continues for Groups 4-6

We are unable to transition our Group 6 students (Grades 1 and 2 and specialized Career Centers at Davis Center and Pulley Center) to in-person learning on December 8 as we had hoped.  Additionally, we must continue to pause in-person return for students in Group 5 (Early HeadStart, PreK and kindergartners) and Group 4 (specialized career preparatory programs and Burke School).

Update to School Board on Thursday, December 10th

I know how frustrating this news is to all of us.  Our goal remains to return all of our students to in-person instruction.  We will remain in a pause mode and will provide an update to the School Board on next steps at their work session on Thursday, December 10.  

Adding Third Core CDC Metric to Guide Return to School Decisions

We are working as a team to utilize all three of the CDC core indicators to guide our return-to-school decisions. The CDC’s third metric gauges the abilities of our schools and centers to implement health and safety measures to stem the spread of the virus, even when health conditions associated with the first two metrics remain elevated.  Using this third core metric is the key to a successful return to school for our students and staff.

Safety Teams Deployed to Schools to Monitor Third Core CDC Metric

As all of us continue to adapt to the disruptions and frustrations of this pandemic, we are working hard to help our current in-person staff and students adhere to health and safety practices. This is a crucial component to help additional students and staff return to schools and centers.

To this end, we are now mobilizing Safety Teams. These teams will be deployed throughout our division to monitor each schools’ adherence to the CDC’s five mitigation strategies to prevent the occurrence and stem the spread of COVID-19. Adherence to these strategies is the CDC’s third core metric.

These Safety Teams, consisting of FCPS staff members and retirees, will conduct random onsite checks, immediately deliver education and resources on the spot, and report data back to administrators.

Third Core Metric Consists of Five Mitigation Strategies

The five mitigation strategies set forth in the CDC’s Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-making guide are:

  1. Proper use of masks or face coverings
  2. Social distancing
  3. Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  4. Cleaning and disinfection
  5. Contact tracing in collaboration with the health department

While we remain hopeful about vaccine trials, we also realize it will be some time before enough doses can be administered to impact the pandemic. Success in returning students to school will rely on the proper implementation of this third core metric.

Let’s Work Together to Implement These Mitigation Strategies

We join with other community, state, and national leaders as we ask our families, students, and staff to continue to take simple preventive actions, as guided by the CDC, for social distancing, adhering to proper handwashing techniques, staying home when there are symptoms of illness, and wearing face masks in public. By monitoring your own health and modeling good hygiene for our children, we can all make a difference in our community.

I thank all of you for your continued patience and support.  We will get through this pandemic together.


Scott Brabrand,