FCPS This Week e-newsletter - September 8, 2021

By Communications and Community Relations
September 08, 2021

Student-Athlete Vaccination Requirement: Your Questions Answered

Fairfax County Public Schools requires student-athletes be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus for the winter and spring sports seasons as an additional safety measure to support our layered prevention strategies

We want to thank you for your patience while we worked through the operational details of this important decision. We have hopefully answered many of your questions about the implementation timeline, how vaccination status will be verified, exceptions, safety, and more in these Frequently Asked Questions.

New Process to Speed Up the Return of Fully Vaccinated Students to Classrooms

FCPS heard from many of you about your concerns regarding the amount of time fully vaccinated students are being paused from in-person instruction when identified as a potential close contact to a COVID-19 positive case. 

FCPS collaborated with the Fairfax County Health Department to adjust this process and speed up the return to the classroom for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic students. We all share the goal of ensuring our students are in the classroom as much as possible, while also keeping our schools safe and healthy for everyone—staff, students, and visitors.

The new process benefits all students, including those of elementary school age who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Because contact tracers will no longer have to contact families of students who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, they will now be able to focus more resources on elementary school investigations. This will allow elementary school students, among others, to return to the classroom quicker.

More information is available online

COVID-19 Case Notification Update

Many families are finding it stressful and overwhelming to receive a new COVID notification email every time there is a positive case in their child’s school. We have updated our process to provide families some relief. Once a week, either on Friday or the last day of school for the week, school leadership will share an update if there were any reported COVID-19 positive cases in the school that week. The FCPS COVID-19 Health Metrics webpage will still be updated daily for families who wish to know about cases in real time.

Do Your Part: Vax Up!

Vaccination is the key to moving out of the pandemic and reducing the need for pauses in in-person learning.  

Video: School Lunch 2021-22

FCPS is committed to ensuring the health and safety of students and staff, even at lunchtime. Take a look at this video to see some of the unique ways that schools are using different spaces for lunch. 

20th Anniversary of 9/11 Commemoration

In recognition of the 20th anniversary of September 11, FCPS will commemorate and acknowledge the loss of life, the heroism of our first responders, and the resilience of our country.

Schools will have a special moment of silence on Friday, September 10, and all students in grades 3-12 should have the opportunity to learn about and recognize the anniversary of 9/11 on September 9 or September 10.  

School Bond Referendum on November 2 Ballot

A school bond referendum will be on the general election ballot 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 11, at 5 p.m.).

Bond sales, a form of long-term borrowing, are used to finance the building and renovation of schools and must be approved by voters since they are a future obligation for taxpayers.

Get more information about the school bond referendum

From the Healthy Minds Blog: NCS Offers a Wide Variety of After-School Programs

With the new school year under way, it’s important to remember that not all learning takes place inside the classroom. Children also learn through socialization and mentoring opportunities outside regular school hours. 

Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services’ (NCS) out-of-school-time programs cater to this need, providing a creative and safe learning environment where youth and teens can explore their own ideas, develop new skills, and build confidence in themselves. After school activities take place at Community and Teen Centers as well as online. There are also full-day options when school is out of session during spring, summer and winter breaks.

Multilingual Parent Podcast: Fairfax Health Department Specialist Talks About COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Listen and subscribe to a FCPS multilingual family podcast to hear timely, important information related to school news. The podcasts are produced in conjunction with the Office for English as a Second Language (ESOL) Services and the Office of Professional Learning and Family Engagement.

In this week’s episode, meet Kirsten Buchner, a community health specialist at the Fairfax County Health Department. Buchner answers questions about wearing masks for COVID-19 safety protocols and COVID-19 vaccinations. For more information, the Fairfax Health Department COVID-19 phone line is 703-324-7404.

At the end of the podcast, the hosts offer families information on the FCPS Parent Resource Center’s newest resource, PRC Packs, which are pre-packaged tote bags with books for adults and children on important topics such as supporting children and teens with attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and motivation.

Listen and subscribe:

Office of Auditor General Provides Independent Audit Services to FCPS

The Office of Auditor General (OAG) independently provides four primary areas of service to FCPS: (1) Annual risk assessment and audit plan, (2) Performance internal audits, (3) Management of the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline, and (4) Education and outreach. Learn more about OAG by watching this short video

How does OAG’s work impact FCPS students, parents, and other stakeholders? OAG is authorized to examine all operations of the school division and has access to all personnel and records. Every year, the School Board approves OAG’s annual audit plan, which includes audit objectives and other duties to be accomplished during the year. If findings are identified during our audits or other work, OAG makes recommendations to management to improve and enhance processes. The FY22 Audit Plan was approved at the July 15, 2021 School Board Meeting.

OAG manages a Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline (571-423-1333), with the objective being to provide FCPS employees and the general public a confidential means for reporting suspected wrongdoing involving fraud, waste, and abuse of school assets and resources. More information on the Hotline can be found online.

Stay up to date with OAG’s work by subscribing to OAG’s newsletter, Audit Buzz (through News You Choose). Prior editions of Audit Buzz can be found on the OAG Communications page.

FCPS Policies, Regulations, and Notices Available Online

Virginia’s Standards of Quality require all school divisions to notify the public annually of the availability of the school system's policies

Feedback Wanted on Fairfax County Government Strategic Plan

What issues do you think are most important for Fairfax County over the next 10 years?

Through extensive community engagement prior to the pandemic and throughout 2021, the Countywide Strategic Plan charts a path for the future of Fairfax County focused on the following nine priority areas:

  • Cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • Economic opportunity.
  • Effective and efficient government.
  • Empowerment and support for residents facing vulnerability.
  • Health and environment.
  • Housing and neighborhood livability.
  • Lifelong education and learning.
  • Mobility and transportation.
  • Safety and security.

Please share your input as Fairfax County government continues to develop the Countywide Strategic Plan. The fourth Community Survey is now available in multiple languages. The survey closes on Friday, September 24

To learn more, check out this short video or visit the Countywide Strategic Plan website.