Return to School - Frequently Asked Questions for Staff

Questions and answers about the Fall 2020 Return to School Plan for Staff

Staff-Specific Information

How will teachers be selected to teach online courses? 6/24/20

Student demand for online learning will drive staffing needs. Any teacher may request a full-time online teaching assignment. Teachers placements will be contingent upon student enrollment numbers in the online program and tiered by teachers eligible for accommodations under federal law; family medical need; and preference. Instructional staff will be asked to submit their request to teach online by July 10, 2020, and to provide the reason for such request, including accommodation requests that have been submitted.

How can a teacher ask for a full-time online placement and is it guaranteed? 6/26/20

On Monday, June 29, teachers received a questionnaire asking for their teaching preference – in-person or virtual. Virtual placements are not guaranteed and will be tiered as follows:  

  • Individual medical issues including membership in a high risk COVID-19 category
  • Medical issues of a member of your household
  • Personal preference

Student choice will drive the ability to grant teacher preferences for telework.

Will teachers assigned to in-person instruction be responsible for providing learning materials for students on their asynchronous learning days? 6/28/20

Teachers who deliver in-person instruction will be planning both the in-school and at-home learning tasks for students. To support the multiple teacher preparations at the elementary level, FCPS is planning to purchase new digital resources in mathematics and language arts that will allow for more self-directed learning for students when not in school. 

If a school has more students who choose in person rather than virtual, how will staff who want to continue with distance learning be allocated?  Is it only by school-based numbers? 6/28/20

To the greatest extent possible, staffing assignments will be managed within individual schools. In special cases, online staff could be assigned to teach a class that combines students from their base school and students from one or more other schools. 

Will telework and leave policies for staff remain in place for the 2020-2021 school year to address medical and childcare concerns? 6/24/20

FCPS is creating a regulation to address teleworking options moving forward.  

Individuals with health concerns may qualify for an accommodation in the workplace and are encouraged to submit requests for such accommodations as soon as possible using the ADA form. Older adults, those 65 years or older, and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Some of these medical conditions include chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and liver disease. For more information about requesting an ADA accommodation based on a medical condition, click here. Questions can be sent to

Employees who do not qualify for ADA accommodations based on an individual health condition, but have health-related concerns such living with someone who is medically fragile or has a compromised immune system, may consider:

FFCRA options noted below.

Questions about these leave options can be addressed to:

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides for additional paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Please see FFCRA information. These provisions apply from April 1 through December 31, 2020. If an employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons, they should notify their principal or program manager as soon as possible. Please visit the Fairfax County website for additional childcare options.

What childcare provisions are being considered for staff who reside inside of the county and outside of the county? 6/26/20

FCPS is exploring several childcare options for staff including:

  • Expanding regulated childcare options in collaboration with Fairfax County Office for Children.
  • Offering childcare during the school day using a vendor.
  • Offering supervised care during the school day using FCPS employees. 
  • Working with Fairfax County Office for Children to consider operationalizing all day SACC options.
  • Allowing Instructional staff’s school aged children attend classes four days a week.

Can staff members who live outside of FCPS place their children in FCPS for one year without cost to address personal childcare issues?  6/26/20

Currently, we are exploring options for Fairfax county residents and students. However, we are collaborating with local school divisions on continuity of planning to support staff who live outside of our jurisdiction. 

Will SACC or other childcare programs be available to students on days when they are not attending FCPS? 6/24/20

Fairfax County is working with regulated providers to expand childcare services to school aged children. Families can find licensed community childcare through the Fairfax County Office for Children’s Child Care search. The plan for SACC has not yet been finalized and will be communicated at a later date.

Will additional custodial staffing be provided to support cleaning of buildings? 6/26/20

No. Current daytime custodians will focus on cleaning high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, fixtures, etc.) with a medical grade sanitizing solution with frequent monitoring and cleaning of restrooms throughout the day.  Each evening additional deeper cleaning will be provided by evening custodians.  Contracted cleaning services will be available if needed to provide response cleaning.

How will social distancing be enforced and how will situations be handled when students are not adhering to the expectations? 6/26/20

The expectation to maintain social distancing has been and will continue to be communicated to parents, students and staff.  Staff will set the expectation, model, instruct on the importance of this measure, positively reinforce and know that there will be some challenges due to the various developmental levels of students.  The compliance to this policy would consider factors of student understanding and needs based on developmental levels, similar to other expectations set by schools. Teams often consider individual factors when addressing behavioral concerns and this will be the same for the practice of social distancing.


What should a family do if they do not know their child’s Student ID number to fill out the school enrollment option form? 7/2/20

Parents should contact the school their child will be attending for help with obtaining their child’s Student ID number from the Student Information System(SIS). Schools should have a staff person available who can look up the Student ID number in SIS for the parent so that the parent can complete the school enrollment option form to meet the July 10th deadline.

How will rooms be configured for social distancing? 7/1/20

•    Consistent with CDC guidance, Desks will need to be placed so seating is 6 feet apart and facing the same direction.
•    Tables can be used by seating students only on one side of tables, spacing seating 6 feet apart. Some ideas include using stickers for seats to be used is one way to help with the layout.
•    Consider combining available furniture from other rooms within your building to achieve capacity.
•    Facilities is working on layout examples to help with creative thinking as this will continue to be a collaborative effort

What is FCPS doing to ensure clean air circulation in FCPS buildings? 7/2/20

FCPS follows CDC and Virginia Health Department guidance to reduce the risk for exposure to coronavirus.  Schools are designed to ventilate outdoor air throughout the day to reduce the buildup of pollutants and odors. Maintenance staff conduct routine and preventative maintenance on all mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems – including replacing air filters. Custodians and operating engineers conduct building checks to identify where workers might be at risk while at work (e.g., checking exhaust fans in restrooms for proper operation).  In areas where an indoor air quality concern is identified we use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to enhance air cleaning.   

Do HVAC systems contribute to the spread of COVID? 7/2/20

FCPS works closely with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) to communicate the latest health information with our staff and community to better prepare for returning to school. During a June 15, 2020 School Board Work Session, Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Director of the FCHD, was asked if there was any possible COVID transmission implications through building ventilation systems.  Dr. Addo-Ayensu discussed that COVID transmission is droplet based, not airborne, and this factor has led to the general guidance of 6 feet socially distancing.  Ventilation systems play more of a role in airborne disease transmission.  

Which employees will be asked their work preferences for working in person or virtually? 7/2/20

Initially, teacher scale employees with assignments at a school or other student instructional site (alternative sites, etc.) and SBTS will be asked their preferences for supporting instruction in the fall. Itinerant teacher groups budgeted out of ISD or DSS, with school instructional assignments, will receive the questionnaire.  

There may be opportunities for some of our support/operations professionals to work with our teachers in a virtual setting to support instruction.  We will assess those opportunities later in July after a review of online student preference.  The assessment will be prioritized in the same manner as the teacher telework requests.

How will pregnancy be treated with regard to telework options? 7/2/20 

Teachers who are pregnant may qualify for telework options.  It is dependent upon what underlying issues may be associated with that pregnancy.  In any case, a doctor’s note would be needed to confirm the accommodation.

If a teacher is teaching full-time virtually, will they be responsible for attending any in-person meetings or are there any other requirements that would restrict them from living outside of the area while teaching online? (7/2/20)
All efforts will be made to accommodate virtual meetings.  There may be circumstances that a staff member may have to come to the physical worksite.  In that instance, he/she should work out a plan with his/her administrator.

What is the closure date for retirement or resignation without prejudice? 7/2/20

The superintendent offered an initial extension of June 30.  He has since extended the deadline to accommodate the completion of the teacher questionnaire surveys.  As a division we have said we would be as flexible as we could be during these difficult times.  At this date (June 30), we have not confirmed a final deadline.

Will there be any changes to FCPS sick leave for 2020-2021? (7/2/20)
Pay and leave time administration will be slightly different for the remainder of calendar year 2020.  Additional pay/leave time will be provided to employees affected by COVID-19 related reasons for emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and/or emergency family medical leave extension (EFMLE) under the recent provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  More information on the FFCRA is available at   

Normal employee sick time accruals will continue with each pay period.  Employees are always encouraged to stay home when not feeling well, but during this pandemic period, those directions become even more important.  If an employee does not feel well, they should not come into the workplace and either make arrangements with their supervisor to work remotely where possible or access sick leave as needed.

What platform(s) will be used to provide distance learning and will schools/ teachers have a choice in what they use? 7/2/20

Teachers may choose to use FCPS 24-7 Learning (Blackboard) or Google Classroom as their Learning Management System (LMS). There are seventeen schools who will be piloting Schoology during SY2020-21. Teachers at those schools will use Schoology as their LMS and may choose to integrate Google within that system.  

Will teachers and students be assigned to different schools under this model (virtually or in person)? 7/2/20

One of the primary goals in the FCPS Reopening School Plan is to provide students with choice in learning format (in-person or online). The default rule will be to have students receive instruction at their base schools (either in-person or online). In select instances where student preferences cannot be met at their base schools, we may explore coordinating scheduling across schools in the division. However, no definitive plans have been developed for this yet and any decision to move forward with this approach would only be taken after the first phase of base school scheduling has been completed.  

In the event that the practice of scheduling across schools is used, teacher assignments would be based first on teacher interest/preference; if necessary, teachers would be assigned based on the least amount of seniority. Teachers would be supervised by the principal at their assigned school and would have rights to return to their base school the following year. 

Beyond keeping children from the same family together, do schools have any flexibility in how they build their master schedules to group students with like needs in the same classes on the same days? 7/2/20

Beyond keeping children from the same family on the same schedule, schools have the same flexibility for creating student class assignments as they would under normal/routine operating conditions. 

The student transfer window is closed.  If the staff member now needs their child to attend the school they teach in, can they submit that request for consideration? 7/2/20 

Yes, FCPS employees may submit student transfer applications after the application deadline.  To request a student transfer for a Child of FCPS employee - A parent resides in Fairfax County and is a FCPS employee, defined as a person working in a budgeted Full Time Equivalent (FTE) position (FTE transportation and food services positions included) and eligible for leave, retirement, and health benefits coverage.  Student transfer requests will be for the school in which the parent is employed or for the school closest to the employee’s work location.  If the request for student transfer is to the school in which the parent or guardian is employed, capacity issues will not prevent the transfer.  
Please note, the online student transfer application verifies employee status and work location with Lawson at the time the application is submitted.  For employees with a new assignment, once the work location is updated in Lawson you may submit the application.
Instructions for submitting application for Child of FCPS Employee.
For detailed information on the student transfer application process, please visit the FCPS Student Transfer website.