FCPS This Week - August 17, 2022

By Communication and Community Relations
August 17, 2022

Community Conversations with the Superintendent

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid greets a young student with a high five during a Welcome Walk with Kings Park Elementary School. The neighborhood walks help students and their families meet their teachers and get excited for the year ahead. This year, Dr. Reid also got to know this neighborhood and its families better. 

For those not lucky enough to have a surprise visit from her at their home, Dr. Reid will be hosting Superintendent Community Conversations across the division this fall to get to know our communities. Events are being scheduled at high schools in each pyramid. Schools will share registration information with families and employees in advance of each event. See the list of events that have been scheduled

Dr. Reid also recently updated the community that we are very close to being fully staffed for the first day of school. Join her for a live virtual update Wednesday, August 17, at 6 p.m. or Thursday, August 18, at noon.

Five Days to Go Until the First Day of School!

Are you ready? Join our countdown on the FCPS homepage and social media.

Since Friday, we’ve encouraged community members to be sure to register their children, update immunization records, view the school year calendar, update their weCare contact information, and sign up for News You Choose. Visit the countdown webpage to see any days you may have missed. 

Check out today’s tip to learn all you need to know about preparing your student for meals at school

Share in the countdown fun with us and make sure you, too, are ready for #FirstDayFairfax.

First Day of School

FCPS parents, students, and staff members are invited to share their favorite pictures or videos from the first day of school on social media using the hashtag #FirstDayFairfax. We will share some of the photos on the FCPS Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages. 

COVID-19 Health and Safety Updates

Earlier this week, FCPS sent an update on COVID-19 layered prevention strategies that will continue to be in place this school year. While we had hoped that the pandemic would be behind us, it seems that COVID will be something we must manage as a community for the foreseeable future. FCPS will continue to follow the guidance of national, state, and local health experts when determining the layered prevention strategies that are needed to keep our schools safe and open for learning. It is important that we all work together towards this goal. 

Highlights from that guidance include: 

  • FCPS continues to require families to review the Daily Health Screening before sending students to school. 
  • The 5 Day Isolation Period will continue for COVID positive students and staff.
  • The CDC recommends the COVID vaccine as a safe and effective way of significantly lowering your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death if you get infected. Vaccines are now available for our youngest students. However, COVID vaccines are not part of the required immunizations for school entry. 
  • At this time, masks are not required. The current CDC COVID-19 Community Level for Fairfax County is low. However, should the community level rise to “high,” FCPS would then require all students, staff, and visitors to wear a face covering when indoors on school property (to include the buildings, school buses and other school provided vehicles; except while actively eating/drinking). The Code of Virginia allows parents/legal guardians to elect for their child not to wear a face covering while on school property.
  • Diagnostic testing is now available for FCPS students and staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Information on diagnostic testing will continue to be updated on our website.
  • FCPS will no longer send a daily or weekly COVID case update. Parents/Guardians will only receive an email from their child’s school when several cases of COVID-19 occur in a single classroom, sports team, or extracurricular activity within a 14-day period. Individual case reports will be available on the FCPS COVID-19 Dashboard on our website.

To stay up to date, please continue to review our Health and Safety Guidance on our website.

Traffic-Related Back-to-School Safety

Roads will become more congested in the mornings and evenings as students return to school. Review safety advice from the Fairfax County Police Department on how to keep everyone safe this school year. 

Parents can Receive Text Messages from FCPS for Emergencies and Essential Information

Make sure your cell phone numbers are listed in the parent/guardian contact information section on the emergency care information form for each of your children. Parents and guardians can view and update emergency contact information online using [email protected]

Text messages will be sent in the event of emergencies, delays or school closings, if buses are running more than 30 minutes late, if your student missed the morning attendance deadline, and for other important reminders. 
Standard message and data charges may apply for text messages depending on your cell phone service plan. More about text messages is available online.

Health Information in [email protected]

While reviewing your information in [email protected] to ensure you’re getting texts, also be sure you update your students’ Health Information Form. 

Sharing Our Success

At the start of the new school year, we invite you to look back over the 2021-22 year and relive some of our greatest moments. From the announcement of Dr. Michelle Reid as our new superintendent, to welcoming students back to the classroom five days a week, there was much to celebrate! 

What Is Schoology?

Teachers use Schoology to post their classroom materials online; to provide a safe forum for students to discuss their ideas and collaborate on projects; and to assign and collect homework electronically. It helps students stay organized and it keeps the class connected.

A Schoology Parent Account gives you access to:

  • Your child’s classes.
  • Your child’s upcoming assignments.
  • School, class, and group announcements.

Parent accounts will be available after August 18. To access Schoology, parents will need to have an active SIS/ParentVUE account. More information on how to login and use Schoology is available online.

Lightspeed Parent Report on Child’s Device Activity

FCPS has tools to help parents and guardians know more about their child’s activity on any FCPS device. These tools are provided by Lightspeed, our internet content filtering service, at no cost to families. You may sign up for a weekly Parent Report, which will provide a list of the top sites your child visited. If you want more detailed information, sign up for the Internet Use Parent portal and log-in anytime to see more detail about your child’s browsing and “pause” access to the internet during non-school hours. Find out more and sign up for these services on our website.

2022 Student Rights & Responsibilities Includes Cell Phone Usage Update

The Student Rights and Responsibilities document (SR&R) explains expectations for student behavior and adult responses to enhance school safety and to create a fair, equitable, and supportive school environment. Read the Letter from the Superintendent on the 2022-23 Student Rights and Responsibilities: A Guide for Families.Key changes to the document for the 2022-23 school year include: 

  • Adding rights to protect citizenship and immigration status from unauthorized sharing.
  • Changes to FCPS’ Acceptable Use Policy Regulation for Technology.
  • A new section on cell phones.

The new section on cell phones prohibits cell phone use in classrooms. We recognize that this new policy will be a shift for many students and families this year, but research shows that managing phone use during class time will support students’ attention and ability to fully engage in their learning. Schools are partnering with parents to have students understand the importance of putting their phones away to minimize distractions during class.

If a parent or guardian believes their child requires access to a personally owned device(s) as an accommodation, they should contact child’s school team—i.e., 504 Committee, Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team, English Language Committee, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Team—to schedule a meeting to have their request considered. 

Parents should talk to their child(ren) before the start of the school year about these expectations for this upcoming school year. More information about the SR&R is available online.

New Assistant Ombudsman for Special Education

Katherine (Kathy) Murphy, who currently serves as FCPS Section 504 Program Specialist in the Department of Special Services, has been named the new assistant ombudsman for special education, effective August 15. In this role she will support parents, students, and employees who have special education concerns and will provide deeper knowledge and understanding related to the special education process.

The FCPS Office of the Ombudsman provides an independent, confidential resource for students, families, community members, and employees who are seeking informal help to answer questions, resolve concerns, and voice complaints regarding FCPS matters. 

Examples of services the Office of the Ombudsman provides include:

  • Sharing strategies for parents to improve communication with, and between, school and home.
  • Helping to resolve disagreements between parents and schools or disagreements involving employees in the workplace.
  • Providing ideas to foster parent participation in Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings.

However, the Office of the Ombudsman does not:

  • Change or make decisions, policies, or regulations.
  • Take sides.
  • Provide legal advice.

Contact the Office of the Ombudsman by using the "Submit a Question" button at the top of the Office of the Ombudsman webpage, by calling 571-423-4014, or emailing [email protected].

2022-23 Annual Notice of Survey, Records, Curriculum, Privacy, and Related Rights

Fairfax County Public Schools wants all parents to understand its policies regarding surveys, records, curriculum, privacy, and related rights.

In its Annual Notice of Survey, Records, Curriculum, Privacy, and Related Rights and Opt-Out Forms (Annual Notice), FCPS provides explanations of the rights listed above as well as forms that may be used to exercise opt-out choices. Two versions of the Annual Notice are available—a grades K-8 version and a grades 9-12 version. Parents with children at different grade levels should read each applicable version of the Annual Notice because the notices and opt-out rights vary depending on the student’s grade level.

Get more information and view the 2022-23 Opt-Out Booklets.

Calendar Reminder

Labor Day Holiday

Friday, Sept, 2, and Monday, Sept. 5, are Labor Day holidays for all FCPS employees and students. We hope everyone takes the long weekend to celebrate a strong start to the school year and enjoy time with family and friends. 

See the complete 2022-23 school year calendar.

Correction: May FCPS Cares Winners

Last week, we incorrectly listed one of the winners of the May FCPS Cares employee recognition program. The winner from Central Office is Pedro Rivera from ERFC. Read more about his nomination in the full list of May winners