FCPS Delays Return of Group 5 Cohort

November 16, 2020

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand announced today that the district is delaying additional in-person learning, including students and staff members in the Group 5 cohort (early HeadStart, pre-K, kindergarten, and select students who receive special education services) that had been scheduled to return to school on November 17. Any new pilot programs and classes that were scheduled to start tomorrow will also pause.

This decision was made because the current health metrics for COVID-19 cases in the community now exceed the threshold to expand in-person learning. Therefore, district leadership is pressing “pause” and will delay expanding in-person instruction to Group 5 and to new pilot programs and classes that were scheduled to start November 17. Leadership is monitoring health metrics daily, but Group 5 will remain virtual until at least November 30. Additional updates will be communicated when available. 

In a letter to parents, guardians, and staff, Brabrand said, “We made this decision as soon as new health metrics were released and are communicating it to you immediately as promised. We always anticipated the need to potentially adjust our return to school plans as necessary during this ongoing pandemic.
“Students and staff members who have been attending in-person classes (Groups 1-4) and existing pilots will continue to do so,” he explained. “Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) allow us to keep small cohorts of students in schools.” Specific health metrics that guide FCPS decisions on when new groups of students can begin in-person instruction are posted online. These metrics also determine the criteria for if or when existing in-person instruction may need to be transitioned back to a virtual setting.

Brabrand will host a virtual Return to School Town Hall on Thursday, November 19, from 6 to 7 p.m. The Town Hall can be viewed on the FCPS website; questions can be submitted in advance to returntoschool@fcps.edu or during the Town Hall at 1-800-231-6359.

“We will continue to monitor Fairfax County metrics to determine when we can return to expanding our in-person learning,” he added. “These next few months will be not be easy. Know that I am committed to keeping you informed and updated as changes occur that impact FCPS students, families, and staff.”
To help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Brabrand urged members of the FCPS community to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and stay home when ill. More information on how to stay healthy is available online.