Reopening Schools Plan - Introduction

An introduction to plans for reopening schools for students and families

Introduction to the FCPS Reopening Schools Plan

On June 9, Governor Northam announced a phased reopening for Virginia public schools. This plan outlined guidance on instructional and service delivery for the 2020-21 school year. This document is intended to communicate specific components of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plans and preparations for reopening schools in fall 2020. Based on lessons learned from spring 2020, review of state guidance, and reflection on stakeholder input, FCPS has refined its approach to flexible educational delivery. Expanded options reflect the needs and concerns of families and staff while maintaining priorities for health, safety, robust instruction, and support service.

Reopening Schools Task Force 

Following the May 11 Fairfax County School Board work session, where the Board considered initial fall reopening challenges, the superintendent and deputy established a new task force structure to prioritize and expedite information-gathering and development of recommendations for reopening school. The task force is charged with developing specific action plans to address two reopening models: full-time online instruction and an in-person instruction continuum with social distancing in FCPS schools.   

Task force membership reflects diverse perspectives to actively involve stakeholders in the planning process. The following perspectives ensure a range of community, staff, and student needs are considered as plans as established:

  • Staff representing classroom teachers and FCPS professional organizations, including Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, Fairfax Education Association, Association of Fairfax Professional Educators, and Support Services Employees’ Advisory Council;
  • Student representatives; 
  • Parent representatives from Fairfax County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, Special Education Parent Teacher Association, Parents of Autistic Children, and Title I Parent Advisory Council;
  • Members of the Fairfax County School Board;
  • Representatives from School Board advisory groups, including Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee, and Advisory Council for Students with Disabilities;
  • Staff from the Fairfax County Health Department;;
  • Department staff from communications and community relations, facilities and transportation services, financial services, human resources, information technology, instructional services, professional learning and family engagement, school support, special services; and 
  • Region and school leadership, including principal representatives from each level.

The task force was formed to address six key action areas: Facilities and School Operations, Instruction. Technology, Communication, Community Partnerships, and Human Resources. The superintendent and deputy assigned division leaders to oversee the work of each of these action teams. Action teams meet regularly and include additional members who bring direct knowledge and skills for identifying specific issues and generating a plan to address each of the identified critical actions.

Guiding Principles for Reopening 

FCPS has identified five principles to guide all planning for school reopening.

  1. Ensure safe learning and working environments for students and staff.
  2. Provide family choice in student learning format, offering two options for families:
    • Full-time online instruction for the year; or
    • In-person instruction continuum delivered flexibly throughout the year based on changes in public health data.
  3. Ensure all students receive instruction that meets state and federal standards and have the necessary supports for success, including:
    • Access to technology and connectivity;
    • Social-emotional wellness and health supports; and
    • Additional supports to meet needs of special populations.
  4. Provide training, time, support, and flexibility necessary for staff to prepare for successful reopening. 
  5. Provide proactive, clear communication (with translations) to all families and staff.

Reopening Schools Plan - Complete Information