FCPS This Week e-newsletter - October 20, 2021
Superintendent and Community Health Leaders Share Plans for Screener Testing and Vaccination Rollout for Younger Students
This week, Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand presented the School Board with FCPS’ plans for the rollout of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. The combination of screening testing and the expansion of vaccination to elementary school students are both aimed at keeping schools and offices safe places to learn and work this year.
- November 1: Screening testing for student-athletes starts.
- November 8: Screening testing for elementary school students starts.
- November 15: Screening testing for middle and high school students starts.
- Vaccination for children ages 5-11 will start as soon as the FDA approves the vaccination for this age group and the vaccine becomes available in clinics in this area.
On September 26, community transmission of COVID-19 declined to substantial transmission in Fairfax County. This is welcome news, but FCPS remains vigilant in continuing to make use of layered prevention strategies and encouraging vaccination to keep students learning in-person.
Supporting Vaccination for Children Ages 5-11
Fairfax county vaccination rates are some of the highest in the country and a coalition of organizations are preparing for the next watershed moment of the pandemic—the availability of vaccinations for children ages 5-11.
FCPS is collaborating with the Fairfax County Health Department, the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Inova Health System in its coordination of the anticipated vaccine rollout for ages 5-11.
Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand was joined by Colin Brody, assistant public health emergency management coordinator and COVID-19 response director, Fairfax County Health Department; Dominic Bonaituo, director of central region, Government and Community Affairs, Inova Health System; Joanna Fazio, vice president at Inova Children's Hospital; and Dr. Michael Martin, president, Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to share the collaborative effort to support COVID-19 vaccinations.
The plan includes multiple opportunities to support different needs, ranging from community vaccination sites to targeted vaccination clinics in evenings and on weekends, and targeted vaccination clinics during the school day.
COVID-19 Screening Testing
In support of our commitment to safety, FCPS will begin optional COVID-19 screening testing in schools. FCPS will test at least 10% of students who are not fully vaccinated and have parent/guardian consent, which follows the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Screening testing for students will begin:
- The week of November 1 for student-athletes (required for participation in VHSL).
- The week of November 8 in elementary schools (optional and with parent/guardian consent).
- The week of November 15 in middle and high schools (optional and with parent/guardian consent).
Parent/guardian consent is required for students to be part of the testing pool. Parents may provide their child(ren)’s vaccination status and indicate consent via a secure online portal. More information, including links to the online portal, will be available soon.
Test results are kept confidential, like all medical records. Parents/guardians will receive their child’s test results through the vendor’s online portal. There is no cost to families for testing.
Snow Days Will Stay
FCPS has announced updates to its inclement weather policy for the 2021-22 school year.
- The first five inclement weather days will be traditional inclement weather days. These five days may occur consecutively due to a single weather event or may take place as several individual events.
- Once these five days have been taken, FCPS will use the flexibility provided by the General Assembly to have unscheduled virtual learning days, wherever possible, to maintain continuity of learning.
Calendar Reminder: Two-Hour Early Release on October 29; Student Holidays November 1-2
As a reminder, Friday, October 29, is the last day of the first quarter, and a two-hour early release for students. Also, schools are closed for students on Monday, November 1, and Tuesday, November 2, for teacher work days. See the complete 2021-22 school year calendar.
Correction: Mask Policy for Speaking During School Board Meetings
Last week, our newsletter implied that speakers at School Board meetings can take off their masks when it is their turn to address the Board. We kindly ask that you keep your masks on at all times when in FCPS buildings, including when you address the School Board during public comment. Per the Governor’s order, masks are required to be worn properly, covering the nose and mouth, indoors in FCPS buildings at all times.
Anyone with a mask exemption or who needs to take a mask break should move to the overflow room to watch the meeting. Registered speakers will be escorted back to the auditorium to address the Board.
Reminder: School Board Meeting on October 21
The next regular business meeting of the FCPS School Board will be held on Thursday, October 21, at 7 p.m. at Jackson Middle School. The meeting will be broadcast on FCPS Cable TV Channel 99 (Verizon Channel 11), and will be live streamed on the FCPS website. Current agenda items include:
- New Business:
- Legislative Program.
- Secondary Course Offerings.
- Recommended Changes to the Governance Manual Regarding Community Participation.
- Action Items:
- Increase of Substitute Hourly Pay.
- Divisionwide Comprehensive Plan.
- Award of Contract-Division Superintendent Search.
Applications for TJHSST Open October 25
Middle school students who have an aptitude and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are encouraged to apply for admission to the Class of 2026 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) beginning Monday, October 25.
The application will be available on the TJHSST Admissions Office webpage starting October 25, at 4 p.m. Applications must be started by 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 17, with a deadline to submit the application by Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m.
Deadline to Return Impact Aid Forms Is November 5
FCPS is asking all families to fill out a Student-Parent Survey for Federal Impact Aid by November 5. Returning this form is really important, because information from this survey results in an additional $3 million in grant funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education. These funds are used to support all FCPS schools and centers—but only if you complete the form.
For each school-aged child in your household, please complete, sign, date, and return the survey to your child's school. If sections 1 and 2 of the survey do not apply to you, just check the boxes in Section 3. All forms must be signed, dated, and returned by November 5. All results are confidential.
Early Voting Now Open and the School Bond Referendum Is on the November 2 Ballot
A school bond referendum will be on the general election ballot on Tuesday, November 2. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents of Fairfax County may vote if they are 18 years or older on Election Day and have registered to vote 22 days prior to the election (on or before October 12, at 5 p.m.).
Early voting is now open and available through October 30. See the Fairfax County early voting website for hours and locations.
A new or renovated school is 40-50% more energy efficient—supporting the School Board’s phased goal for carbon neutral energy use by 2040.
The building and renovation of schools is not financed through the school system’s operating funds, but through bonds. Bonds sales must be approved by voters since they are a future obligation for taxpayers. As long as debt service costs do not increase significantly as a percentage of combined general fund disbursements, the county's bonded debt is not likely to be a contributing factor to any increase in local taxes.
Students Helping Students: Aspiring Medical Workers Get Hands-On Practice Performing Vision and Hearing Tests Across FCPS
Students from the Medical Assistant class at Falls Church Academy are learning on the job by helping out the Fairfax County Health Department perform vision and hearing screenings on fellow FCPS students.
The screenings are required for students in kindergarten, third, seventh, and tenth grades, but the COVID pandemic forced last year’s screenings to be postponed for those in virtual learning; so this year, there are hundreds of additional students being screened. The Medical Assistant students, along with Public Health nurses from the Fairfax County Health Department, are working together to get the job done.
Become a Substitute Teacher and Save the Day!
Want to make a difference in the life of a child? Fairfax County Public Schools is looking for enthusiastic, engaged, and dedicated substitute teachers.
Substitutes help our students thrive when their teacher must be out of the classroom and are essential members of every school’s team.
Multilingual Parent Podcast: Establishing Routines Helps with Time Management
Listen and subscribe to an FCPS multilingual family podcast to hear timely, important information related to school news. The podcasts are produced in conjunction with the Office for ESOL Services and the Office of Professional Learning and Family Engagement.
In the latest podcast, hear suggestions for daily school routines to promote time management. Routines can offer parents a peace of mind and ease the stress of hectic days.
Listen and subscribe:
Assistive Technology Enhances Learning
The 2021 Real Assistive Technology for Everyone (RATE) Conference is free and will be held on Saturday, October 23, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The conference is sponsored by Assistive Technology Services, part of the Office of Special Education Instruction in the Department of Special Services.
This year’s conference will be virtual with a keynote presentation and synchronous (live) sessions via Zoom. The RATE Conference focuses on strategies for using assistive technology tools and supports to enhance learning for all students, especially those with special needs.
All FCPS parents are invited to attend. Registration closes on Friday, October 22, at 10 a.m. For more information, the conference schedule, registration, and session descriptions visit the conference website.