Reopening Schools Plan - Elements Across Models

Details on the elements of the reopening schools plan that are found across operational models

Elements Present Across Operational Models

Some elements support continuity of learning across FCPS for students instructed under all operational models.

Technology and Connectivity 

In May, the School Board approved expanding the FCPSOn initiative to include all middle schools. This expansion is on top of current implementation at all  high schools and means that every FCPS student in grades 7-12 will have access to a personally assigned FCPS-provided laptop for use at home and at school. New and redeployed laptops will also be available for elementary school students in grades PreK-6, as needed. With these enhancements, all students PreK-12 will be provided with laptop computers, as needed, to support learning in-person and online. Additionally, the division has purchased additional MiFi devices for distribution to families, when reliable home internet access is not available.

With guidance and support from the Superintendent’s Technology Advisory Council, FCPS is reviewing video-conference contracts and service level agreements. Priority is to ensure reliable vendor performance and a safe and secure virtual learning platform to support enhanced online instruction in 2020-21. FCPS also continues to partner with internet service providers to expand free and low-cost home service options in communities.


The focus for student assessments within all reopening plans will be to help staff identify students’ learning needs and plan for upcoming instruction. Assessments geared to this purpose will be prioritized in the division assessment program. This includes use of measures for division-level analysis of learning loss that can be attributed to extended school closures. Resources and professional development will be provided for staff to support effective and appropriate assessment practices in an online learning environment, including limitations tied to test security in some cases.

Most standardized assessments are required to be administered in-person with strict test security measures in place.  With a virtual start to the school year, most standardized assessments traditionally provided in the fall will be cancelled for 2020-21. Alternative data sources and methods will be used in some cases for instructional and programmatic decisions, when prior assessment data are not available. When in-person instruction resumes in FCPS schools, standardized assessments will also resume. A new system of assessment by appointment will be implemented to ensure students participating in full-time online instruction can still access standardized assessments, such as federally required Standards of Learning (SOL) and English language proficiency exams.

Curriculum and Instruction

Recognizing the challenges and limitations many students may have experienced with learning during spring 2020, FCPS is revising curriculum guides at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Revised curriculum highlights essential standards for the grade level or course, as well as the prerequisite knowledge and skills learners need in order to be successful with new content. Updated pacing guides and resources ensure both the essential standards and prerequisite skills are fully addressed and offer strategies for staff to support learners with differing needs. Explicit resources are provided to support advanced learners, English learners, students with disabilities, and PreK learners. In addition to resources embedded in curriculum guides, specific strategies to support vulnerable learners, including economically disadvantaged students, are available. These include cultural responsiveness, digital citizenship, creating family partnerships, and using thinking routines.

Professional learning is provided for teachers to prepare for changes to teaching practices that will be necessary for online instruction and for in-person instruction with social distancing in schools. Best practices, samples, and guides support teachers to plan for an effective and engaging online classroom experience for the virtual launch. Additional best practices, samples, and guides will be published throughout the fall to assist staff in preparing to dial in for in-person instruction. Throughout these resources is a focus on building community, social-emotional learning, and establishing appropriate routines and procedures that maintain safe and healthy practices, such as attention to screen time, hand hygiene, and social distancing.  

Instructional schedules in 2020-21 provide significantly more student-teacher interactions for all students than in spring 2020. All FCPS instructional models ensure students can reliably access all courses and programs required under the Virginia standards of learning. However, restrictions with online models necessitate adjustments to some course offerings, such as those requiring hands-on experiences. General classroom instruction at all levels features whole group, small group, and individual support for students. 

Attendance and Grading

FCPS provides a 5-day educational program, and students are required to attend each day. Attendance is monitored daily for students participating in-person with social distancing, synchronously online, and independently/asynchronously. An electronic attendance notification will be sent to caregivers for any students scheduled for in-person or synchronous learning who are reported to be absent from class. Under the 2020-21 virtual launch for all, some students and families are in a position where they are unable to reliably attend online classes during normal school hours. A system will allow schools to document which students require an adjusted schedule for classes. Attendance for these students will be tracked via caregiver reporting at the elementary level and via student reporting at the middle and high school levels. Schools will monitor attendance patterns for all students to plan for intervention or supports, as needed. 

New instruction delivered in the 2020-21 school year will be graded at both the elementary and secondary levels. Staff will use standard grading practices following the established FCPS grading and reporting policy. Resources are available to assist teachers in ensuring fair and equitable grading for virtual classroom assessments, as well as resources to support use of a cumulative gradebook model to account for students attending on different schedules and with different instructional models throughout the year. 

Digital Resources 

Whether learning takes place primarily in an online environment or face-to-face, expanded digital resources will ensure students have consistent access to high quality learning tools. Staff will continue to receive training and support in applying blended learning strategies, which involve a mix of teacher-directed and self-directed learning. Expanded digital reading materials and intervention supports at the elementary levels will enable students at these grades to benefit from supplemental learning tools beyond what their teachers provide on a daily basis.

Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health

The direct and indirect impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic are expected to have a lasting effect on students and staff. FCPS will reinforce and enhance curriculum and supports focused on social-emotional learning, relationship-building, and successful transitions to new schools, classrooms, and environments, whether in-person or through distance learning. Instructional staff will participate in a series of professional learning modules on social-emotional learning and mental health supports within reopening. A new wellness screener and improvements to mental health resources and partnerships within schools and the county will offer another critical layer of support for students, families, and staff. 

Specific strategies will include:

  • Morning meetings or check-ins, intervention blocks, and advisory periods used to provide instruction in social-emotional learning and relationship building.
  • Clinical and counseling staff providing mental health support and resources, including group or individual counseling and consultation for students and families, as needed. 
  • Behavior intervention teachers, applied behavior analysis coaches, and school psychologists supporting students and caregivers with additional interventions and resources.

Intervention Services 

All learners will continue to require flexible and responsive support for their academic, behavioral, and wellness needs. FCPS has committed significant resources to support ongoing intervention services across 2020-21. Classroom teachers and support staff will receive professional development to plan and implement a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) reaching across synchronous and asynchronous instruction, in-person and online. Academic supports will provide focus and review of essential standards through whole-group and small-group instruction (Tier 1) and individual student intervention (Tiers 2 and 3). Schools will leverage resources and tools for systematic data collection, ongoing progress monitoring, and timely intervention. Support staff and resource teachers, including school counselors, psychologists, and social workers, will work flexibly across the school to address student needs. Students identified for intervention supports may be selected to receive supplemental teacher-directed specialized instruction on Monday mornings, outside their regular class schedule. This supplemental service could be provided through interactive online instruction or, when safety indicators allow, in-person at the school site.

Reopening Schools Plan - Complete Information