Reopening Schools Plan - Full-time Online Instruction

All students will begin the 2020-21 school year online.

Full-time Online Instruction

As noted in the chapter on the FCPS operational approach for 2020-21, FCPS is providing families two options for instructional format during the 2020-21 school year. Once the division begins to dial in on the in-person instruction continuum to provide educational opportunities in FCPS school buildings, the family choice will become available to continue with full-time online instruction for the academic year. 

The full-time online option is designed with the overarching aim to provide families the stability for their schedules and routines. The model stays constant throughout the year regardless of changes to public health conditions. Families choosing this model recognize and accept that their children will not have regular in-person interactions with teachers and peers. Rather, they will engage in interactive lessons online. According to its design, this model is intended to be a full-year commitment between the school division and family. However, if health conditions should improve substantially allowing “maximum in-person for all” within the in-person continuum, the division will consider what additional choices may be offered to families at that time.


The full-time online model involves independent online learning each Monday and  teacher-directed synchronous instruction Tuesday through Friday. Students participating in the full-time online model are likely to have larger class sizes than their peers taking the same course under the in-person continuum. Individual student schedules for online instruction will be finalized and communicated by the end of August 2020.

  • All Levels: Students access independent, asynchronous learning each Monday. Certain students are identified to receive additional intervention or specialized instruction on Monday morning to meet their program needs, such as IEP goals.
  • Elementary School: Tuesday through Friday, students participate in:
    • 3 hours per day (PreK-2) or 3.5 hours per day (grades 3-6) of teacher-directed, synchronous instruction for core curricula. 
    • 1 hour per day of specials classes (music, art, physical education, etc.)
    • At least 1 hour for independent practice or specialized instruction, as needed, such as ESOL or special education services. The amount of special education service will be determined by IEP teams, with consideration given to individualized student needs. 
    • Students will have opportunities to participate in choice activities each day to practice skills and extend their learning away from a computer screen.
  • Middle and High School: Students participate in teacher-directed synchronous instruction on a block schedule Tuesday through Friday, with odd-numbered periods on Tuesday and Thursday and even-numbered periods on Wednesday and Friday. Schedules vary depending on assigned courses and align to the base school whenever possible.

weekly schedule for full-time online by chioice

To the extent possible, elementary and middle school students will be served by dedicated online FCPS teachers in a cohort model with other students from their school, their region, or the division. Courses will be taught using online courseware and digital curriculum resources along with synchronous direct instruction and support from an online FCPS teacher. High school students will be served through a combination of Online Campus courses, Virtual Virginia courses, and specialized course instruction from FCPS staff.  When a cohort model cannot be established for a course or grade level, a hybrid model may be leveraged, in which staff support a combination of in-person and online learners using blended learning strategies and digital resources. 

Family Understandings and Commitments

Families were initially asked to communicate their intent to participate in the full-time online model by mid-July and commit to continuing with full-time online instruction for the full academic year. When the division begins to dial in to offer some in-person instruction, families will receive additional information about potential opportunities to adjust their initial choices. 

Families of full-time online students should be prepared to support their children’s active participation in all online learning activities. They will need to ensure their children have adequate space, materials, and technology access for their daily online instruction, requesting school assistance to provide a laptop and internet service, as needed. Families will need to be ready to follow the established daily learning schedule and will need to work with school staff to arrange for their children to participate in standardized assessments and other mandated educational activities. Families should recognize that full-time online instruction may not be able to support some specialized programs and course offerings that would otherwise be available to enhance student options and experiences, such as immersion, magnet, and certain specialized courses.

Reopening Schools Plan - Complete Information