FCPS This Week e-newsletter - August 25, 2021
Strong, Safe, In-Person Opening of Schools
This week, we welcomed back our students for the first day of the 2021-22 school year. All of our schools opened for 5 days of in person learning. This included welcoming 99.5% of our students back into our schools in person.
Our teachers and schools are excited to connect with our students and families and to build community in their classrooms and schools. We will start this school year focusing on relationships. To meet students where they are, we must know who they are.
Yesterday, Superintendent Scott Brabrand shared a report with the School Board on the successful first day of school for FCPS. He shared highlights of the opening of the 2021-22 school year, including:
- Universal no-cost breakfast and lunch for all students.
- Layered prevention strategies to create safe and healthy places to learn and work.
- The importance of vaccination and the strong rates of vaccination in Fairfax County, including among our students.
- How students and staff will be supported in the event of a pause to in-person instruction.
- Additional updates on staffing, the virtual program, and technology.
To see how students and staff celebrated the first day of school, go to the FCPS website to check out a photo gallery, or visit Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and search for #FirstDayFairfax and #FCPSReturningStrong.
We are ready for an awesome school year!
Sharing Our Successes
Our strong return to school builds on our foundation of success. Great things happen in FCPS schools every day. Take a look at Sharing Our Success, stories and highlights from the 2020-21 school year. You can pick up a print copy of this brochure in the lobby of Gatehouse Administration Center in Falls Church.
The Latest on Bus Transportation
Thank you for your patience and understanding these first few days of school as we work to address the impact the national bus driver shortage has on FCPS and your students. On the first morning of school FCPS saw 7,000 bus runs with just a handful of delays.
However, if these delays impacted you or your family, we understand your frustration. As we continue to recruit drivers and make adjustments to routes to be more efficient, there are three things you can do:
- Check the The Here Comes the Bus® app, a school bus tracking app that can simplify morning and afternoon routines for parents and students by giving them real-time bus location and text or email notification alerts, helping them get to the bus stop on time.
Here Comes the Bus® utilizes FCPS GPS data and an easy-to-use customizable map that works on one or multiple devices, such as a tablet or smartphone.
More information about the Here Comes the Bus app is available online.
- Stay up-to-date on school bus arrivals with FCPS' bus delay notification system. This system provides parents with timely notification of late bus route information. Parents may access the Bus Delay Notification System online or use the Here Comes the Bus mobile app (mentioned above) to receive the delayed bus report. Morning route information will be available until noon. Afternoon bus route information will be available from 1 to 7 p.m.
e-Notify (SchoolMessenger) email messages will also be sent to announce bus delays of at least 30 minutes. Need assistance or have questions? Contact the Transportation office listed for your school. For any concerns after hours (after 5:30 p.m.), contact Safety and Security at 571-423-2000.
- Carpool, walk, or bike to school if you are able to do so. If you plan to walk or bike to school, watch this short video on pedestrian safety with your child.
Making Our Schools Even Safer
Last week, FCPS announced that all employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by late October or submit to routine negative COVID-19 tests, a move that reinforces existing layered prevention strategies and the division’s commitment to safety.
Calendar Reminder: Schools Closed September 3-September 6 for Labor Day Break
Virginia legislation requires that schools opening prior to Labor Day must be closed the Friday immediately preceding Labor Day.
As a result, Friday, September 3, is a holiday for students and staff members in addition to the Labor Day holiday, Monday, September 6. See the complete 2021-22 school year calendar.
In Case You Missed It: What Is Schoology?
Fairfax County Public Schools’ new learning management system, Schoology, is a learning space that enhances face-to-face and distance learning through communication, collaboration, and personalized learning.
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 in mid-August. To access Schoology, parents will need to have an active SIS/ParentVUE account.
Safety Drills During the School Year
Keeping students and staff safe is a priority for all of us. Each school has an emergency preparedness plan to respond to incidents such as fires and tornadoes. Schools are required by state law to practice emergency drills, including lockdown drills, each year. Schools are required to notify parents and guardians at least 24 hours before a school conducts a lockdown drill. However, schools are not required to give the specific date and time of the drill in advance.
The first lockdown drill of the school year must take place within the first 20 days of school. Preschool and kindergarten students are exempt from practicing the first lockdown drill.
Your child may come home and talk about their experience during the drill. We encourage you to talk with your child about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Here are some helpful tips for families to use to support their students before and after school lockdown drills.
Working together, we create a safe, secure environment for students to learn and grow in our schools.
Glasgow Staff, Students Ready to Skate Into New School Year
Glasgow Middle School Principal Victor Powell had a surprise in store for teachers and he was determined to keep it a secret.
A week before the start of school, Powell summoned 170 masked staff members to the school cafeteria to gather in groups of 12 for what was billed as a “Board Meeting.” And it was a “board meeting,” of sorts.
Each team of teachers began receiving pieces of a skateboard—wheels, deck, and design equipment ready to assemble for a very important client—a Glasgow student.
Telephone Parent Information Line Available in Eight Languages
Parents who speak Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, or Vietnamese can call a telephone information line for general information about FCPS and to receive support if they are having difficulty communicating with their children's schools due to a language barrier.
Remembering 9/11 Through FCPS Service Learning and Volunteer Fairfax
VolunteerFest 2021 will be held on Saturday, September 11, to align with Patriot Day, a National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. While we will each remember and reflect on this somber day in our nation’s history in our own ways, we want to provide the community with ways to come together through volunteerism as we remember those we lost.
A community collaboration effort between Volunteer Fairfax, Fairfax County Public Schools, local community nonprofits, and government agencies has formed to provide opportunities for teens and families to participate in a community wide day of service event called VolunteerFest. Come and lend your support, strength, and talents by joining thousands of others around the country in participating in service projects on this day. We will do good as we remember those lost that day and honor the heroes who continue to serve the country and community post-9/11.
Volunteer sign-ups are now open. For more information, please visit the Volunteer Fairfax website for more information.