New Process to Speed Up the Return of Fully Vaccinated Students to Classroom
Dear FCPS Families,
We have heard from many of you about your concerns regarding the amount of time fully vaccinated students are being paused from in-person instruction when identified as a potential close contact to a COVID-19 positive case.
FCPS collaborated with the Fairfax County Health Department to adjust this process and speed up the return to the classroom for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic students. We all share the goal of ensuring our students are in the classroom as much as possible, while also keeping our schools safe and healthy for everyone - staff, students, and visitors.
Following the Labor Day break, fully vaccinated, asymptomatic students will be able to return to in-person learning and activities following a simple process that will reduce the time needed to process potential close contacts. Our goal is to streamline this process so it takes the least amount of time possible to complete while keeping our school community safe.
Parents and guardians who have been notified by their child’s school that their child is a potential close contact will need to complete the COVID Contact Vaccination Verification form if their child is fully vaccinated. Parents and guardians will be able to access this form through a link that will be embedded in the pause letter sent to all parents and guardians whose child has been identified as a potential close contact to a positive case.
In the COVID Contact Vaccination Verification form, parents and guardians will need to take two steps:
- First, you will provide proof of your child’s vaccination status by electronically uploading the vaccination record or card.
- Then you will complete a Health Department survey to confirm the child is asymptomatic, if appropriate.
The Health Department will quickly verify the information provided and send a personalized student clearance letter to the parent/guardian who completed the survey.
The portal will be monitored by Health Department staff seven days a week between the hours of 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Letters will be sent via email within hours for submissions received during business hours or by the next day for after-hour submissions.
Your child will be able to immediately resume in-person learning and activities when you submit the clearance letter to their school.
If you or your family does not have access to a computer or email, the Health Department will contact families by phone.
This new process benefits all students, including those who are not fully vaccinated and those who are symptomatic. The time needed to complete investigations is decreased when the focus can be on individuals who are more likely to require quarantine as a result of the exposure.
Students who have not submitted the vaccination documentation, who are not fully vaccinated, or have reported symptoms will receive follow-up from the Health Department with appropriate recommendations and next steps as quickly as possible. The Health Department will also send a daily list of all cleared students to FCPS, so students can return to in-person activities in a timely manner.
If you have misplaced your child’s COVID-19 vaccination card or need documentation of their vaccination status, visit the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccination Record Request Portal.
This webpage is a helpful resource to better understand the pause and quarantine process and the common COVID-19-related terms used by FCPS and the Health Department. Another great way to stay up to date on everything you need to know is to read FCPS This Week, our weekly newsletter for families.
I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated – this is our best tool to ensure the least disruption to in-person learning and to keep all of us safe. And, now, it also means students are less likely to miss out on athletics, extracurricular activities, and all of the great moments that happen in our schools.
When does this become effective?
This new process starts on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 for students identified as a potential close contact on September 7, 2021 and beyond.
Parents/guardians of students currently paused will receive a separate communication from their child’s school with the link to the COVID Contact Vaccination Verification form so that they can access this form immediately.
What is the process for turning in your vaccination card? Where do I find the link?
The link to the form will be included in the pause letter sent from the school to parents/guardians of children identified as potential close contacts. If you get a pause letter, please complete the form linked in the letter, if appropriate.
This form does not need to be completed for students who are not fully vaccinated or for students who are experiencing symptoms.
Do I still need to pause at all?
Students need to pause until they receive one of the following:
- Clearance email from the FCHD (NEW PROCESS); or
- Communication from FCPS that the FCHD has cleared your child to return to school; or
- Direction from the FCHD regarding quarantine or isolation with a return to school date. Students in this category are required to submit the Return to School Form completed by a physician or an FCHD Sara Alert Clearance Letter upon return to school following completion of their designated quarantine or isolation period
What happens if my child is experiencing symptoms at home and does not have instructions to pause or quarantine?
Any child experiencing symptoms should seek advice from a medical professional.
You can find more information about the pause, quarantine, and isolation process on the FCPS website.
Assistant Superintendent, Special Services Department
Fairfax County Public Schools