Return to School Countdown - August 17, 2020

By Communications and Community Relations Staff
August 17, 2020

Superintendent Holds Town Hall Wednesday, August 19

Join FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand for another opportunity to ask questions and voice your thoughts on Wednesday, August 19, from 6 to 7 p.m. Special guests at this week’s town hall include school staff from FCPS’ social work and clinical teams to talk about taking care of students' and families' emotional health during these trying times. View the livestream on or Channel 99 (Verizon, 11).  Send your questions in advance to or call into the town hall live at 1-800-231-6359. View last week’s town hall here.  

Dr. Brabrand with previous town hall guests

School Board to Hold Return to School Work Session August 18

The Fairfax County School Board will hear updates on Return to School at its work session on Tuesday, August 18, beginning at 1 p.m.  This virtual meeting will include information on proposed health metrics and operational metrics that will be used to determine when schools should be opened or closed; technology initiatives, and special education updates. The session can be viewed on Channel 99 (Verizon, 11) or online.

New Videos Feature Help with Google Classroom, Padlet, Flipgrid

As students prepare for the virtual start to the school year, parents are encouraged to learn some of the technology applications their children and classrooms may be using this fall by viewing videos posted here. The list will be continuously updated.

This week, three new videos have been added to the Virtual Learning Tips and Tricks playlist on YouTube.  

Locating Assignments in Google Classroom: Courtney White, education specialist, created this video to show you where to find your student assignments in Google Classroom. Log into your student's account to access Google Classroom.

Padlet TutorialPadlet is an online bulletin board for students to post and collaborate. Jenn Choumil, biology teacher at McLean HS, created this resource for parents to better understand how the app works.

Flipgrid ScreencastThe Deer Park ES school-based technology specialist is back to demonstrate how to use Flipgrid to make a screencast. It's a fun way for students to share their work with the teacher and classmates. Parental permission is required for students to use this app.

Healthy Minds logo

Healthy Minds Podcast Debuts

FCPS has launched a new weekly Healthy Minds podcast to provide relevant, actionable information on emotional health and well-being to parents and teens as they endure the ongoing pandemic and prepare for the school year. Listen here. The first guest was McLean High School counselor Beth Werfel who talked about managing and coping during uncertain times.


Preparing for the New School Year

To help prepare students for a successful a virtual start to the school year, parents are asked to ensure children have the tools and connectivity that will be needed.  If you currently have an FCPS issued laptop at home, please help your school’s technology team prepare devices to receive county updates by doing the following once per week until school starts:

  • Plug the laptop into an outlet.
  • Turn the laptop on and let it boot up.
  • Login to ensure it connects to the internet at that location.
  • Launch Google Chrome and visit the FCPS website to ensure the internet is connected on the computer.
  • Leave the laptop on and connected to the internet for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, the laptop may be shut down.

In the next few weeks, students will receive learning updates that will include information from your child’s classroom teacher and the daily instructional schedule for distance

Return to School 2020-21

Fairfax County Introduces Return to School Program in 37 Schools

Fairfax County has announced a supporting return to school program (SRS) in 37 Fairfax County Public Schools intended to serve children of families residing in Fairfax County or the City of Fairfax. Each classroom will have a group of no more than 10 children who will stay together each day, along with consistent County staff to support online learning and in-person connections. Health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be implemented. Enrollment for the SRS program begins August 24 and space is limited. A sliding fee scale is available for income-eligible families. Additional information on fees and enrollment, including an online registration option, will be available soon on the Fairfax County Government website  or by calling 703-449-8989

Parents, Please Update Your Contact Information

For parents to stay current on school news and plans, current contact information is essential. This is especially important because schools will need to regularly notify parents about program changes and opportunities, such as laptop distributions, school supply lists, and other essentials. Once school begins, your school team may need to reach parents about student absences and academic and other concerns. Parents may update their information through Parent View.

Collect for Kids

The 2020-21 school year will begin in a few weeks, and some students in need are still without basic school supplies. A donation to Collect for Kids will help provide the supplies students need in order to participate fully in class. Nearly 60,000 students whose families may not be able to afford to purchase their own will receive school supply kits this year through Collect for Kids. A $50 contribution will provide school supplies for five students. Please help us make sure all students have what they need to be creative and successful in school. Thank you!

school supplies

Parent Resource Center Offers Workshop on Virtual Learning

Are you worried about managing your child’s virtual schooling this year? Do you hate becoming the “school police” when your child won’t focus? Do you have to balance your child’s schooling with your own remote workload? We hear you, and we’re here to help. 

An free online webinar to provide support for adults will be offered on September 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and on September 11 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

Learn how to avoid parent-child conflict around academics with practical tips for:

  • Establishing routines and expectations that really work.
  • Creating ideal spaces for virtual learning.
  • Keeping kids focused while learning online.
  • Minimizing distractions from video games and other screens.
  • Getting your own work done at the same time (Yes, it’s possible!).

Don’t tackle this unusual year without a plan. Instead, join us and feel more prepared and confident for the year ahead, with a toolbox full of practical strategies that actually work. Register online or call 703-204-3941 for more information.


As was previously mentioned, FCPS will cover the cost of the SAT for any twelfth grade student who wishes to test on Wednesday, September 23. By August 24, parents of seniors should fill out the form sent by their school to indicate their intent to participate on September 23.

For the August 29 SAT testing, we have worked with College Board to open overflow sites at Centreville and Westfield High Schools to support the large number of registrations for Chantilly High School. Students who were registered to test at Chantilly High School on August 29 will receive confirmation of their testing location directly from College Board.

We are aware that there was an unintended cancellation of the SAT at Lewis High School causing students who were registered for the site on August 29 to have to re-register with the College Board. We apologize for the unnecessary stress caused by this error. Based on the guidance from the health department, FCPS moved to limit the capacity at the site by requesting College Board close the registration for Lewis. Unfortunately, the request was misinterpreted by the College Board, and they canceled the August 29 test. Test registration was reopened with priority given to those students who were previously cancelled from the August 29 test.

Special Education Newsletter Features News, Support for Families

The August 14 edition of the Special Education Newsletter has been published and includes information on social-emotional learning, at-home learning tips, and suggestions on how to help build independence. Read it online

signage explaining social distancing


Visitors to FCPS Buildings:  Please Note

Anyone visiting FCPS schools and facilities should be aware that there are new health screening protocols in place. Advance appointments are strongly encouraged. These are for the health and safety of all staff and visitors to FCPS. Please make yourselves aware of them prior to your visit.