Return to School Plan and New Bell Schedule

By Office of Communication and Community Relations
February 03, 2021

Dear FCPS Community, 

I am excited to share that the Fairfax County School Board has given us unanimous consensus to proceed with the Return to School plan and we will begin bringing student groups and staff back for in-person instruction on February 16. Watch video on Return to School

Based on the latest guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), FCPS will begin bringing back our youngest learners, students with disabilities, and English learners first. Under the updated plan, students who have already selected to return to in-person instruction will be able to do so for at least two days a week by March 16

Dates of Return for Student Groups

Feb. 16 Group 1-4: Select CTE and Special Education

Feb. 23 Group 5: PreK, Kindergarten and Special Education

March 2 Group 8: Grades 8, 9, 12 

March 9 Group 6: Grades 1-2 & Group 8: Grades 7, 10, 11 and Poe, Glasgow, Holmes - Grade 6

March 16 Group 7: Grades 3-6

The updated plan meets the research-based, scientific decision-making protocols outlined by the VDH and Fairfax County Health Department. We are implementing the five health and safety mitigation strategies in our schools and using Safety Teams to monitor adherence to the mitigation strategies.

Even though community numbers and transmission rates remain in the highest category, FCPS is proving successful at keeping our own school communities in the lowest category possible, and therefore as safe as possible, through effectively  implementing the five mitigation strategies across our schools.

We have also been working to hire classroom monitors. We have hired 74 percent of the monitors we need and are continuing to advertise to fill the remaining positions. 

We continue to work with the Fairfax County Health Department and Inova Health System to offer COVID-19 vaccine to staff. To date, 90% of FCPS staff have signed up or scheduled appointments to receive the first dose of the vaccine. While the vaccine is an important mitigation measure against the spread of COVID, it is not a criteria for returning to school under the VDOE/VDH model.

All schools will transition to a new bell schedule on February 16. The bell schedule adjustment is necessary due to social distancing requirements which limit capacity on school buses. The bell schedule change will apply to both in-person learning as well as students who are doing full-time virtual learning.

I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of our principals, teachers, and staff. FCPS believes in-person instruction is best to meet our students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. We have a robust plan to implement mitigation measures including education, monitoring, feedback, and support to ensure schools remain a safe place for learning. We are looking forward to welcoming staff and students back in our school buildings.


Scott S. Brabrand