Superintendent Return to School Update - October 23
Dear Parents and FCPS Staff,
Our first three weeks of in-person cohort learning have gone very well, and we have had no incidents to cause concern. We are bringing back additional groups of students as we continue to meet the health and operational metrics that have been established for in-person instruction including low transmission rates, mitigation strategies, planned response for confirmed cases, and availability of teachers and staff.
On Monday, November 16, we will open in-person cohort instruction for Early Head Start, PreK, and Kindergarten, Intensive Support Needs, and Specialized Center-based Programs - Special Ed (Group 5). Then on Monday, November 30, in-person cohort learning will begin for Grades 1-2, and Specialized Career Centers – Special Ed (Group 6).
As new grades open, our plan is to employ concurrent instruction for in-person students, a model in which students receive two days of teacher-led instruction in the school building and two days of teacher-led instruction at home. We have concurrent instruction pilots underway in several of our schools and I will bring back to the School Board at their Nov. 12 meeting an update on this instructional method.
This approach maximizes teacher-led instruction by allowing in-person students to “log into” class on at-home days. Here is a video that demonstrates how a concurrent classroom will look.
FCPS will continue to honor family choice in the student learning format. Schools will be contacting parents and caregivers to reconfirm the choices made in July. Based on your experience with virtual learning, you can choose to remain all-virtual or choose the concurrent model of two days in person and two days online. If your circumstances have changed, we will try to accommodate your request based on staff and space availability. As we transition to in-person instruction, some students may experience a change in schedule or class assignment based on staffing availability.
In either format, Mondays will be a full day of independent learning for students to give our teachers more time to prepare and plan the week’s lessons. This will begin on Monday, November 9, 2020 for Group 5 and on November 16, 2020 for Group 6. November 12 and 13 will be teacher workdays and independent learning days for Group 5 students to give our teachers time to prepare and plan for in-person instruction. November 20, 23, and 24 will be teacher workdays and independent learning days for Group 6 students.
As we look ahead, my recommendation for the rest of our students is to resume in-person instruction on the following schedule:
(Group 7) Jan. 4: Elementary School Students in Grades 3-6, Secondary Public Day Programs—Spec. Ed. (Burke MS, Cedar Lane, Quander Rd.) and Davis & Pulley Center (students w/ target learner profile)
(Group 8) Jan. 26: Middle and High School Students in Grades 6-12 and Davis & Pulley Career Centers. Middle school students in Grade 6 at Holmes, Poe, and Glasgow will be included in this group.
The School Board has directed us to come back with a plan on Nov. 12 that could possibly bring back Groups 7 and 8 for in-person instruction earlier than the current schedule.
We are returning to in-person instruction in a gradual and measured manner. It is our plan and hope to provide all students with in-person learning no later than the beginning of the second semester in February. We continue to monitor all of the metrics that apply, and will keep you informed as we continue through the first semester. I encourage you to review the return to school update we presented to the School Board last week. I greatly appreciate the partnership with the School Board whose members are actively engaged in providing oversight during this process.
Thank you for your many messages of understanding and support. Thank you, in particular, for all you are doing to help FCPS students succeed throughout this very challenging time.
Scott Brabrand, Superintendent
Fairfax County Public Schools