FCPS This Week - August 4, 2021

By Communication and Community Relations
August 05, 2021

FCPS Returning Strong: 2021-22 School Year to Start on Monday, August 23

FCPS has been planning for the return to school since spring, and we cannot wait to have students back in classrooms in-person five days a week! You can prepare for a strong start to the school year by visiting the Return to School page, frequently checking the Return to School FAQs, and reading FCPS This Week for the latest information. Here are five things you need to know this week:

Returning Strong: Health and Safety

Our focus is on creating a safe and healthy learning environment for students to learn together in classrooms all year. We will achieve this through layered prevention strategies, including universal masking in school buildings and widespread vaccination. The Return to School-Safety page has all the details about our safety strategy.

The two most important elements of FCPS’ layered prevention strategy are universal masking and widespread vaccination. We have more details about both, including the dates for our school vaccination clinics at the bottom of this newsletter.

Returning Strong: Academics and Social Emotional Supports

Teachers and staff will be prepared to address and support students’ specific needs when the new school year begins on August 23. A full Academic Support Plan, tied to FCPS’ proposed ESSER III spending plan - which was based on community feedback - will be a significant investment of funding and resources that will ensure our students have the academic and social emotional supports they need to thrive this school year and beyond. The final ESSER III spending plan will be approved by the School Board at their Board meeting on August 26 and we will share the details with you once it has been approved. 

Returning Strong: Transportation

Bus stops and route information will be shared with families via ParentVue accounts on August 10. Please be aware that all students will be required to wear a mask when riding a school bus or using school transportation.

Returning Strong: Athletics 

The return to school brings a return to fall sports. As with our entire return to school plan, safety is our top priority as we plan for fall sports to resume. The health and safety protocols in place this fall include universal masking when indoors in locker rooms or taking part in indoor athletics.

  • Outdoor activities – Masks are not required.
  • Indoor activities – Masks are required for coaches and all players who are not participating in the activity; this includes practices, games, and outdoor sports moving indoors for practices.
  • On buses – Masks are required.

All athletic safety protocols for the 2021-22 school year, including water, screening, equipment, and reporting are available on the FCPS website. We wish all our student athletes, coaches, and supporters a great season!

Returning Strong: Free Meals

When we return strong this fall, FCPS’ Food and Nutrition Services staff will be ready to serve healthy meals to students and staff. This year, all students will receive free breakfast and lunch. Find out more about school meals.

Mask Up!

Masks are an essential tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting those unable to be vaccinated. To ensure a safe start to the school year, masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, inside FCPS school buildings. Masks are strongly encouraged for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, inside all FCPS administrative buildings at all times.

Vax Up!

The most effective tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is widespread vaccination.

If your student age 12 or older has not received the two dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine series yet (not required), or if your student age 12 or older received one vaccine and is due to receive their second vaccine (at least 21 days after the first dose), please consider taking advantage of the vaccine clinics listed below. The Fairfax County Health Department is partnering with FCPS to hold COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the following schools:

The school-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics are for adolescents 12 years of age and older. To make an appointment for your child, visit the Vaccine Administration Management System.

Each school clinic site will also offer walk-in options from 2 to 7 pm.

Parental Consent for Vaccinating Adolescents Under 18

Parents who are unable to bring their child to a COVID-19 vaccination clinic during the work day may send their child with a responsible adult who is age 18 or older and can give permission for the vaccination on behalf of the parent. Many locations also offer evening and weekend hours. Find locations that suit your schedule.

Is Your Student Up-to-Date on Required Immunizations for Returning to School?

Returning strong means returning with an up-to-date immunization record. The pandemic disrupted our routines, meaning some children may have missed regular doctor appointments and are behind on the recommended vaccination schedule. In addition, the state issued new immunization requirements for seventh and twelfth-grade students. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so what better way to prepare for the return to school than getting your student up-to-date on the immunizations they need for school! 

Seventh-grade students need:

  • One dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) given at age 7 or older.
  • One dose of Meningococcal Vaccine (MenACWY, Menactra, or Menveo) given at age 10 or older.
  • Two doses of HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine. The first dose shall be administered before the child enters the seventh grade. After reviewing educational materials approved by the Board of Health, the parent or guardian, at the parents or guardians’ sole discretion, may elect for the child not to receive the HPV vaccine. FCPS does not require opt-out documentation for the HPV vaccine.  

Twelfth-grade students need:

  • One dose of Meningococcal Vaccine (MenACWY, Menactra, or Menveo) given at age 16 or older.

More information on immunization requirements is available online

Meal Kit Sites Extended Through August 16

FCPS summer meal kit distribution has been extended at certain locations through August 16. Summer meal kits contain seven days of breakfast and lunch items packed in bulk and are available at no cost to FCPS students and children 18 years of age and under. Parents and caregivers may pick up kits for children, and adults may purchase kits for $28. 

The extended meal kit distribution will be at the sites below from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. or until supplies are exhausted:

  • August 6: Centreville, Edison, Mount Vernon, South Lakes, West Springfield and Woodson High Schools.
  • August 9: Falls Church High School, Hayfield Secondary School, Marshall High School, South County High School, and Westfield High School.
  • August 16: Falls Church High School, Hayfield Secondary School, Marshall High School, South County High School, and Westfield High School.

See the Return to School–Food webpage for additional information.  

Take Advantage of the Virginia Tax Holiday to Save on School Supplies, Clothing Purchases

Families in Virginia will get a sales tax break on clothes and supplies for school when the state holds its annual Virginia tax holiday, August 6-8.

To be eligible for the tax break, school supply items must be priced at $20 or less, and clothing and footwear must be priced at $100 or less. Clothing includes choir clothing, household and shop aprons, coveralls, gym clothes, lab coats, and uniforms.

Among the eligible school supplies are art and music supplies, calculators, composition books and notebooks, paper, dictionaries, crayons, lunch boxes, pens, pencils, and reference books. 

More information about the Virginia tax holiday, including complete lists of eligible school supplies and clothing items, is available online

2021-22 Kindergarten Registration

Will your child turn five years old by September 30? If so, contact your child’s school to arrange for kindergarten enrollment. All kindergarten programs are full-day and located in FCPS elementary schools. Check your school’s webpage or contact the school directly for specific enrollment information. Get more information about kindergarten registration

Collect for Kids School Supply Drive Stays Online for 2021

As we prepare to welcome students back to school buildings for five days a week of learning, many students need school supplies so they are prepared to learn. FCPS and the Foundation for FCPS are once again leading the Collect for Kids effort, to coordinate, promote, and provide school supply drives benefitting FCPS students who might otherwise go without them. 

Nearly 60,000 (34%) of FCPS students qualify for free or reduced-price meals in Fairfax County and struggle to afford basic necessities. Please help us ensure all our students have the tools they need to be creative, and successful, in school. Contributions can be made online through the Foundation for FCPS.

Request PSAT and SAT School Day Testing Accommodations and Supports by August 10

FCPS high schools will give the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) to tenth and eleventh graders on October 13. That same day, twelfth graders will participate in SAT School Day. Because these exams are operated by the College Board, students do not automatically receive testing accommodations or supports.

If you have a student with disabilities in tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade this school year, please review the accommodations request process and return forms to the high school by August 10, if you wish to request new College Board testing accommodations.

If you have a twelfth grade English learner (EL), please review the EL support request process and return forms by August 10 if you wish to request EL supports for the October 2021 SAT School Day. 

For questions about accommodations and supports for the PSAT/NMSQT or SAT School Day, contact your high school.

Requesting Accommodations for Dual Enrollment Courses

High school students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan who desire to earn college credit for completing a dual enrollment course using accommodations, must register with the disability support services at the college or university sponsoring the high school dual enrollment course.

Students taking a dual enrollment class aligned to a Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) course should review the accommodations request process.

If you have questions about requesting accommodations through NOVA for your dual enrollment class, please contact Kendria Valle, dual enrollment specialist, at [email protected].