Return to School News - October 12, 2020

By Communication and Community Relations
October 12, 2020

FCPS Begins Gradual Return to In-Person Instruction

This past week, FCPS began its gradual return to in-person instruction with select specialized high school career preparatory programs—such as firefighting classes at Chantilly Academy—resuming one to two days a week.

Next week, Preschool Autism Classrooms (PAC), Early Childhood Class-based students (ECCB), and additional select specialized high school career preparatory programs will return.

Students who attend Key Center and Kilmer Center, secondary and elementary students who access the adapted curriculum, elementary Comprehensive Services Sites, SLIFE students (English learners with limited or interrupted formal education in grades 3-12), English learner newcomers who entered the U.S. after June 2019, elementary-age students attending Burke School, and high school students enrolled in select specialized high school career preparatory programs will return the week of October 26. 

Get a Return to School Update at the School Board Work Session on Thursday, October 15, at 6 p.m.

On Thursday, October 15, at 6 p.m., Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand will present his plan to the School Board for bringing additional students back in November, prioritizing early learners and transitioning students for in-person instruction. You can watch the meeting live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) or on the FCPS website

Important Information About Meals During the School Year

Fairfax County Public Schools is currently offering all students nutritious meals at no cost. Meals are offered at school sites and along bus routes Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) with both breakfast and lunch being served at the same time. Breakfast and lunch meals for Saturdays and Sundays are distributed at all locations every Friday. Grab and Go Meal Sites and Bus Routes 

Changes to bus routes are posted on the website by 5 p.m. each day. If there are bus delays while distributing meals, the information will be posted on the FCPS Bus Delay website. 

New: Dinner and Snacks, Fairfax Meal Kits Offered at Select Locations 

Dinner and snacks are now offered at select locations. Please refer to the website for locations and times. Additionally, Fairfax Meal Kits are also available at certain sites, offering seven days of breakfast and lunch for pick up in bulk. The goal is to provide every FCPS student daily access to nutritious meals.  

More information is available online or by calling the Office of Food and Nutrition Services at 703-813-4800.  

Photos of the Week

See teachers and bus drivers distributing supplies, students participating in Walking Wednesday, and kindergarten students learning about Johnny Appleseed in this week’s photos.

Fairfax County School Board Votes to Proceed with Name Change for Mosby Woods Elementary School

The Fairfax County School Board voted to proceed with a name change for Mosby Woods Elementary School at its business meeting on October 8. The Board has directed Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand to make recommendations for a new name at its October 22 business meeting.

After receiving recommended names, the Board will begin a one-month public comment period, including a community meeting and a virtual public hearing, including a community meeting on Tuesday, November 30, and a public hearing on Thursday, December 2. 

The School Board is scheduled to take action on a new name for the school at its December 3 business meeting.

Get more information on the Mosby Woods name change

TJHSST Admissions Changes Town Hall

Superintendent Scott Brabrand held a virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, October 7, to discuss possible changes to the admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). Watch the virtual Town Hall.  

Superintendent Will Present Revised Proposal for TJHSST Admissions Process in November 

Based on feedback from the October 6 Fairfax County School Board work session, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand will present a revised admissions process proposal for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) next month. The proposal would promote access to the governor’s regional school for historically underserved students. 

The School Board reached consensus that the TJHSST admissions tests and application fee should be eliminated. The Board also agreed that the Superintendent’s revised proposal should include a capacity increase at TJHSST to be more comparable with other schools in the division; examine an approach that considers the applicant pool by pyramid and middle school; present a holistic admissions process that considers lottery and non-lottery options; and initiate the revised admissions process timeline for the Class of 2025 to begin no later than the end of January 2021. 

Get more information on TJHSST admissions

Ombudsman Provides Confidential Resource for Students, Families, Employees, and the Public

Fairfax County Public Schools provides the Office of the Ombudsman as an independent, confidential resource to help resolve problems, complaints, and other student-related issues.

The Office of the Ombudsman has dedicated staff members who listen to concerns and complaints, review available information, and supply resources for information and referral. Staff members are neutral advocates for fairness, equity, inclusion, and consistency, and they work to foster positive working relationships. 

Get more information on the Office of the Ombudsman

FCPS Virtual College Week Is October 19-23

This year, FCPS is holding a Virtual College Week October 19-23 instead of the traditional College Fair and College Night activities. This event will feature two live virtual sessions each evening starting at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. During these sessions, FCPS students and families will be provided an opportunity to meet virtually with subject-matter experts and ask questions about college admissions, standardized testing, financial aid, and postsecondary planning.  

Advance registration is required. You will receive a unique access link 24 hours before the event(s) that you register to attend.

The 2021-22 FAFSA Form Is Now Available; College Access Fairfax Is Here to Help

Parents of high school seniors—did you know that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now open? Parents are encouraged to work with their students to complete the FAFSA as early as possible and definitely before March 1, 2021, as you prepare for your child to begin college in the fall of 2021. Parents and students should start by creating an FSA ID and then begin the FAFSA.

Also, thanks to our partners at College Access Fairfax, there are a variety of virtual workshops available to help you plan and prepare:

  • Scholarship 101: October 13 at 7 p.m.
  • Scholarship 101: October 17 at 10 a.m.
  • FAFSA Line-by-Line: October 24 at 10 a.m.

Families may find more information and register for these presentations on the Calendar page of the College Access Fairfax website. Registration is required and closes 24 hours before the workshop. Space is limited. If you are unable to attend a workshop, you can visit the College Access Fairfax website to view the PowerPoint presentation for these and other programs on the Workshop Description page.

Recordings of each of the workshops will be available soon. College Access Fairfax is also available for virtual one-on-one help to complete the FAFSA. Interested families should email to make an appointment. It’s never too early to start learning about how to pay for college.

Get more information at the College Access Fairfax website

Fairfax County Public Library Checkout Now Available to All Students

Effective October 1, all FCPS students (preK-12) are able to check out materials from the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL), even if they don’t have a traditional library card or a card has been blocked due to fines. 

Under the Library Equity Access Pass program (LEAP), a partnership with FCPS and FCPL, students need only their name, not a physical library card, to check out three items at a time for six weeks each (no renewals). LEAP accounts are never charged fines or fees.  

A student can have a LEAP account in addition to a standard library account. Standard accounts allow users to place holds on materials and access FCPL’s digital resources, such as eBooks and databases. 

Families can apply for a standard account online and in library branches.  

Video Playlist: 2020 Mental Health and Wellness Conference

This year’s Mental Health and Wellness Conference was held virtually over a three-week period from September 14 to October 3. Several sessions were recorded and are now available on the FCPS YouTube channel. See the Mental Health and Wellness Conference video playlist.  

Healthy Minds Podcast: Warning Signs of Addiction        

Join substance abuse counselor Kelly Rankin for a conversation about early signs of substance use disorder and how to have an important conversation with your child about addiction in this week's Healthy Minds podcast

From the Healthy Minds Blog: Five Ways to Activate Empathy in Children

Feeling understood and cared about is a human need and a way we relate to others. Such is why empathy is considered essential for building strong communities. Empathy is the ability to understand another person's perspective and share in what that person is feeling, thinking, or experiencing. In other words, it is understanding what it must be like to walk in another person's shoes while demonstrating compassion for that individual.

While we are born with a capacity for empathy, it is developed and shaped over time. Research suggests these five ways you could activate empathy skills in children

Guidelines on Religious Accommodations for Students

FCPS makes reasonable accommodations so that our students are able to meet their personal religious obligations. Parents, teachers, and administrators are encouraged to consult the Guidelines for Religious Activities for Students.

These may be accessed directly from the Calendar of Religious and Cultural Observances on the Calendars menu from the home page of the FCPS website, or by going directly to the Guidelines for Religious Activities.

If you have questions about religious accommodations for students, contact your child’s principal.

FCPS in the News