Health and Safety Guidance Document for 2021-22

FCPS Guidance on School Health Practices

FCPS Achieves WELL Health-Safety Rating™

FCPS recently earned the WELL Health-Safety Rating for all schools and offices.  In so doing, FCPS has joined a community of organizations pushing the boundaries of what health and safety look like in a post-coronavirus environment.

Consistent with Governor Northam’s phased reopening plan for Virginia schools, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), FCPS is providing the following:

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Face Masks (Cloth or Disposable)

  • Aligned with guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has established procedures for the use of face coverings/masks (cloth or disposable) for students, staff, and visitors designed to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and other identified infectious diseases during a health crisis. These requirements are outlined in Regulation 2109 (R2109), Face Coverings to Mitigate the Spread of Infectious Disease.   
  • As we bring larger numbers of staff and students back into buildings, out of an abundance of caution, FCPS will now require everyone to wear a mask indoors.  See Guidance for Wearing Masks.
  • ALL staff, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a face mask indoors, unless you are alone in an office or room.
  • •    Outdoor masking is recommended for anyone who is not fully vaccinated in crowded settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with others. 
  • There are some situations in school when students and staff are permitted to remove their masks, including:
    • When actively eating or drinking (if eating indoors, individuals are required to put their masks back on when not actually eating or drinking)
    • When outside (e.g., outdoor recess, outdoor physical education, outdoor instructional groups; anyone not fully vaccinated is recommended, but not required, to wear a mask in crowded settings)
  • An appropriate disposable mask will be provided for any student, staff or visitor not in possession of an acceptable face covering/mask while at school. 
  • Face Coverings/Masks recommendations are available in the following languages: EnglishAmharicArabicChineseFarsiKoreanSpanishUrdu and Vietnamese
  • Approved types of masks:
    • Disposable masks, cloth mask coverings, gaiters, clear masks and cloth masks with clear plastic panel
  • All face coverings/masks must meet the following requirements:
    • Face coverings/masks that fit properly (snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face)
    • Face covering/mask with two (2) or more layers of non-woven material
  • Face coverings/Masks that are not recommended:
    • Face coverings/masks that do not fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight)
    • Face coverings/masks or gaiters with one layer
    • Face coverings/masks with exhalation valves or vents
  • Specific guidance regarding what types of PPE are required during in- school instruction can be found at: PPE Strategies: Prevention of Infectious Diseases such as COVID-19
  • Any temporary exception to the requirement of wearing a face covering/mask during the school day will be under the direction and supervision of a school official(s) as outlined in Regulation 2109 (R2109), Face Coverings to Mitigate the Spread of Infectious Disease.
  • FCPS recognizes that it may be difficult for many students to wear face coverings/masks all day during in-school instruction. School staff may consider building in supervised breaks during the instructional day where students may go outdoors in order to take a break from wearing face coverings/masks.
    • Schedule breaks, if possible (mask breaks are generally not required)
    • Students must sanitize hands immediately before and after mask breaks
  • Training for students in the appropriate use of face coverings is available at: https://www.fcps.edu/resources/student-safety-and-wellness/school-health-services
  • Any student requesting an exemption to wearing a face covering/mask will provide a written statement from the physician that an exemption from this requirement is necessary due to a health condition, communication impairment or disability or it has been determined that the student meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for exemption from the face covering requirement (under the age of two (2) years or unable to remove their mask without assistance). 
    • School staff will maintain this documentation in the health section of the cumulative file and designate the exemption in the SIS on the Return to School tab. 
  • Refer to the CDC for exceptions for the most recent information regarding exceptions.

Layered Prevention Strategies in Special Settings

Setting Face Masks Physical Distancing
Buses/Public Transportation

Universal Masking

Passengers and drivers MUST wear masks

(exemptions continue to apply as outlined in the CDC Order)
Not Applicable
Cafeteria Masks required when not actively eating and drinking 

Physical distancing*, to the extent possible, while masks are removed (i.e., while eating or drinking).

Because FCPS will be serving over 99% of students in person, physical distancing will not be feasible in most schools. Universal masking is being implemented to mitigate this factor.

Care Room Required Required

Layered Prevention Strategies

Stakeholder Face Masks Physical Distancing Daily Symptom Screening
Students

Indoors: Universal Masking (fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated students are required to wear masks)

Outdoors: Masks are not required

Indoors: A minimum of 3’ between K-12 students and 6’ between PreK and Preschool students in classrooms to the extent possible and distance may be reduced as needed to ensure all students can be accommodated for in-person learning.

Because FCPS will be serving over 99% of students in person, physical distancing will not be feasible in most schools. Universal masking is being implemented to mitigate this factor.

Outdoors: N/A

Yes

To be conducted at home prior to coming to school on the honor system as done in 2020-21
Staff

Indoors: Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status.

Outdoors: Masks are not required

Indoors: A minimum of 6’ between students and teachers/staff to the extent possible

Minimum of 6’ between teachers/staff who are not fully vaccinated to the extent possible.

Because FCPS will be serving over 99% of students in person, physical distancing will not be feasible in most schools. Universal masking is being implemented to mitigate this factor.

When schools are at full capacity, physical distancing will be maintained to the extent possible.                                                    

Outdoors: N/A

Yes

To be conducted at home prior to coming to school on the honor system as done in 2020-21
Visitors

Indoors: Universal Masking (fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated visitors are required to wear masks)

Outdoors: Masks are not required

Indoors: Minimum of 6’ to the extent possible

When schools are at full capacity, physical distancing will be maintained to the extent possible.

Outdoors: N/A

Yes

To be conducted at home prior to coming to schools / offices on the honor system

Considerations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, gloves, face shields, goggles, face masks or other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness. When used properly, PPE acts as a barrier between infectious materials such as viral and bacterial contaminants and your skin, mouth, nose or eyes (mucous membranes). When used properly and with other infection control practices such as handwashing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and covering coughs and sneezes, it minimizes the spread of infection from one person to another.
  • Cloth face masks are not considered PPE and should not be used interchangeably either in terminology or practice.
  • To minimize the spread of communicable disease, such as COVID-19, PPE should be used correctly. FCPS students and staff are required to complete training on the use of PPE in MyPDE.
  • Face shields may not be worn as a substitute for a face covering/mask, but only as an additional layer of protection.  The CDC states there is a lack of evidence of the effectiveness to control the spread of the virus when face shields are used alone.
  • School staff will need to make considerations for the necessary PPE on a case-by-case basis, depending on the activity, physical proximity and level of potential exposure throughout the day.
    • Moderate Risk: Tasks include those that require close contact with (i.e., within six (6) feet of) people who are not known or suspected to have COVID-19. These precautions are recommended since some students with the disease may not be showing any symptoms at the time of interaction. Although there is risk with these tasks, not all PPE listed may be needed for all situations. These tasks include, but are not limited to first aid, oral medication administration, vision screening, hearing screening, consultation, blood glucose checks (diabetes care), and inhalers for students with asthma.
    • High Risk: Tasks that require close contact (i.e., within six (6) feet of) with students’ bodily fluids or aerosol generating procedures such as suctioning of airways, toileting, feeding, transferring or direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions.
  • Specific guidance regarding what types of PPE are required during in- school instruction can be found at: PPE Strategies: Prevention of Infectious Diseases such as COVID-19
  • The Office of Procurement Services (OPS), the Office of Facilities Management (OFM) and the Office of Safety and Security (OSS) work together to provide the necessary supplies and infrastructure to schools. Supply allocations are based on the number of employees, student enrollment and program need. OFM has installed physical distancing signage (on walls and floors) and counter shields in schools and administrative offices. OSS will continue to work closely with the FCHD to monitor COVID-19 and provide health and safety information as we return to work and school.
  • Below is a list of all supplies and materials that are available to all FCPS sites:
    1. Hand sanitizer – 1-gallon pump bottles are available at the warehouse as needed.
    2. Face coverings/masks – cloth face masks or disposable masks will also be available for students, staff and essential building visitors who do not bring their own. Disposable masks will be provided for any student who does not have an exemption that prohibits them from wearing a mask.
    3. Gloves – to be used in custodial cleaning and by staff working in special capacities (i.e., special education, technology specialists, bus drivers, etc).
    4. Face shields – for use by bus drivers/attendants and special education staff and any other staff upon request.
    5. Gowns – for use by bus drivers/attendants and special education staff
    6. Cleaning supplies – additional supplies will be provided for custodians to use during routine and enhanced cleaning.  High schools will continue to use the VMI process.  Elementary schools and middle schools can order additional supply through FOCUS.
    7. Spray bottles and paper towels – to be used with Virex cleaning solution during enhanced cleaning by custodians and, possibly, staff cleaning their individual workspaces.
  • All the PPE currently available from the warehouse has been reviewed and approved by School Health and are acceptable.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Monitor Your Health Daily

Parental Guardian Health Screening Commitment Form: DISCONTINUED

FCPS is no longer requiring parents/guardians to complete the screening commitment form.

Daily Health Screening Questionnaire

  • Parents, caregivers or guardians, are strongly encouraged to monitor their children for symptoms of infectious illness every day through home-based symptom screening and students who are sick should not attend in-person instruction.
  • A daily health screening questionnaire is available in the following languages: EnglishAmharicArabicChinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
  • Parents/guardians will receive frequent reminders from FCPS via multiple modes of communication, reminding them to complete their daily health screening questionnaire and to keep sick students at home. These communications will be developed in collaboration with the Office of Communications and Community Relations (OCCR), Office of Professional Learning and Family Engagement (OPLFE) and Language Services.
  • All staff and visitors must complete the daily health screening questionnaire prior to arriving on campus. The daily health screening questionnaire will be completed on an honor basis and will not be required to be submitted to the school. 
  • Any student, staff or visitor demonstrating symptoms of illness should stay home to help “Stop the Spread” of COVID-19. 

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces  daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
  • Transportation vehicles will be cleaned/disinfected twice a day at the completion of each morning and afternoon routes.(Added 9/16/21)

Ventilation

  • FCPS uses mechanical ventilation systems to provide classrooms with outside air.  FCPS schools are designed to ventilate fresh outside air and mitigate the buildup of odors and pollutants.  Fresh air is filtered and conditioned before it enters the space.
  • Every other window will be opened on buses (vans where possible) to provide increased ventilation. 

Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Schools

OFM has worked closely with FCPS custodians to ensure their cleaning processes.  FCPS custodians are using an effective disinfectant and sanitizing products to clean our facilities every day. 

  • Clean high touch surfaces at least once a day or as often as determined is necessary. Examples of high-touch surfaces include: pens, counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, stair rails, elevator buttons, desks, keyboards, phones, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Cafeteria tables and chairs must be cleaned and disinfected between lunch periods by custodial staff using Virex II 256.   Ensure no students or visitors are present in the room while disinfecting surfaces.  If surface cleaning with Virex II 256 must be done with students in the room, maintain a minimum of 6 feet between surfaces being disinfected and students in the room until the surface is completely dry.  For maximum effectiveness, allow surface to remain wet for 10 minutes.  However, a spray and wipe application is effective to a lesser degree when the full dwell time cannot be met.
  • Students and staff members are allowed to bring disinfecting wipes for personal use, so long as they are an EPA-approved disinfectant.  Virex II 256 will be used for all custodial cleaning and disinfecting and pre-mixed spray bottles of Virex II 256 will be available to teachers or staff members who choose to disinfect their work areas and do not bring their own disinfectant.  Teachers and staff members who do choose to clean with Virex must first complete a short safety video.  Facilities has also developed a Virex application video to help schools and offices when using the cleaning chemical.

Maintaining Water Quality at FCPS

  • The FCPS Safety Manual (VPN Required) provides security, maintenance and emergency procedures based on national and state regulations – including water systems.  
  • All FCPS facilities in use are connected to public water supplies (exc. Clifton ES), which are required to meet water quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and enforced by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).  
  • The safety of the drinking water is primarily the responsibility of the water authority that supplies the water.  Many of these water authorities have designated FCPS buildings as their distribution sampling sites.
  • The Offices of Safety and Security and Facilities Management work collaboratively with the water authority to provide samples at these designated sites each year. 
  • Since the beginning of the global pandemic, the water authority has not provided FCPS with recommendations for increased testing or frequency of flushing water systems.  However, the Office of Facilities Management began performing regular flushing of plumbing fixtures and systems at all schools in June of 2020, which reduces buildup of contaminants in the water lines.  
    • Work is scheduled and tracked through an automated work order system and carried out by maintenance technicians, custodians and/or operating engineers. 
    • Water system flushes occur on an average of once per month, with frequencies expected to go up as students return. 
    • In addition to centrally managed flushing, school staff are encouraged to include flushing of sinks, fountains and toilets as part of their daily schedule of activities.
  • FCPS will continue to monitor and update its procedures in accordance with VDH, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and local health department guidance for reopening schools

Water Fountains

  • Students should bring their own water bottle for use during the day. School staff should develop a plan for refilling water bottles, as necessary. Water fountains should not be used as usual. Water fountains can be used to refill water bottles if practical, but students and staff should not drink directly from any water fountains or faucets, which could contribute to illness transmission; individual water bottles should be used instead.  Water fountains are not required to be covered.  School staff should develop a plan to flush water fountains that are not in use.  FCPS has developed signage for water bottle filling stations as part of the “Stop The Spread” campaign.    

Visitors to FCPS Facilities

  • Schools should not limit access for direct service providers, but can ensure compliance with school visitor polices.
  • Mentors supporting students are considered essential visitors in schools. All mentors visiting schools must comply with school visitor polices. This includes wearing a mask while indoors and completing a daily health screening prior to entering the building. Schools should emphasize the importance of staying home when sick. Anyone demonstrating symptoms of infectious illness, such as flu or COVID-19, should stay home and seek testing and care.
  • All visitors will be required to complete a daily health screening questionnaire prior to entering the building.
  • The daily health screening questionnaire is done on an honor basis and does NOT need to be collected.
  • Please be aware that the daily health screening questionnaire form is NOT part of the sign in/ log in form. They are separate forms and should NOT be combined into one form.
  • All visitors are required to sign in and out of the school building on the sign in/log in sheet. Schools and facilities may choose to do this via hard copy or electronically, based on the needs of their location. The daily health screening questionnaire form is NOT part of the sign in/log in sheet and should not be used for sign in purposes.
  • Any visitor responding “yes” to any of the daily health screening questions will not be permitted to enter the building.
  • All visitors are required to wear face coverings/masks (cloth or disposable) regardless of vaccination status, while indoors on school property (to include the buildings, school buses and other school-provided vehicles) during the school day or during any school-sponsored activity.
  • An appropriate disposable mask will be provided for any visitor not in possession of an acceptable face covering/mask while at school. 
  • Face coverings are not required for visitors when outdoors on FCPS school property.
  • Any student participating in distance learning that must visit the building for any reason will be required to complete the daily health screening questionnaire (on an honor basis) and wear a face covering/mask (cloth or disposable) while in the building.
  • Delivery personnel are NOT required to complete a daily health screening questionnaire or sign-in if only dropping off or picking up items.  If delivery personnel have to spend an extended period of time on site, they must complete the visitor procedures. 

Buses and Vans

  • Every other window will be opened on buses (vans where possible) to provide increased ventilation.

Strategies for the Classroom

Monitoring by Health & Safety Teams

  • FCPS will be using an independent third-party firm to perform safety team observations.  Safety teams will observe and report on the health and safety mitigation measures in schools and make sure they are being implemented with accuracy.  
  • In preparation for a strong return to 5 days of in-person instruction, FCPS will also continuously monitor our community health conditions as well as adhere to Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

Care Room/School Health Room/Responding to Illness

School Health Room

  • Support to students in the health room will continue to be provided by the School Health Aide. FCPS personnel will staff the care room.
  • Students with Individualized Health or Action Plans who require specialized care, medication administration and emergency care will be seen in the health room. Parents will be required to bring in medications needed to support their student during the school day prior to or on the first day of school.

Care Room Establishment, Requirements, and Staffing

  • The predetermined care room is a designated location and must be separate from the health room. It may be necessary for schools to identify a second care room due to the requirement for physical distancing and room capacity.
  • A designated staff member must be assigned to supervise students while in the predetermined care room should the need arise. The staff member will be provided with a gown or lab coat, gloves, and a face shield as appropriate. The staff member assigned should complete the trainings on COVID-19 and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • The Personal Protective Equipment - FCPS Staff Training video is now available in MyPDE. Users can access the video via the direct link below or by searching for any of the key words in the title (examples: “personal”, “protective”, “PPE”).
  • Direct Link to Video: Personal Protective Equipment - FCPS Staff Training
  • Staff will need to be available at various times throughout the day to supervise any student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 while awaiting pick up by the parent or guardian.

Becoming Ill While at School

 

Students sent home from the Care Room with COVID-like Illness

  • Students sent home from the Care Room may return to school when ALL of the following are met:
    • The student is fever-free without fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours
    • The student’s symptoms are improving
    • One of the following:
      • Proof of a COVID-19 Test
      • Physician’s Note
        Note from a healthcare provider following a clinical evaluation stating the cause of symptoms is not COVID-19 and clearing the student to return to school.
         

Students who are called in absent with COVID Like Illness

  • FCPS will no longer require the SICK STUDENT NOTIFICATION and RETURN to SCHOOL FORM for students who are called in absent with COVID-like symptoms/illness.
  • The student must be fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19

Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, may not return until all of the following have been met:

  • It has been at least ten (10) days since the student first had symptoms AND
  • The student must be fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication AND
  • The student’s symptoms are getting better AND
  • Provides one of the following (filed in the student’s cumulative folder): 
    • Copy of FCHD clearance letter (Sara Alert™ form) provided by the FCHD 
    • Note from healthcare provider
       

Students who have been identified as a close contact with someone with COVID-19

  • Unvaccinated students who are identified as a close contact with someone with COVID-19 must remain home for 14 days after their last exposure. 
  • Fully vaccinated students who are identified as a close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to remain home as long as they do not have symptoms.  Verification of the status of vaccination will be required before a student may return to school. Verification will be completed by the FCHD contact tracing process. 

Response to a COVID Positive Case at School

  • The school will send general notification to the staff when a student, staff member, or visitor reports they are COVID-19 positive, and the individual has been onsite during the infectious period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines the infectious period as starting two days before illness onset or, for individuals with no symptoms, two days prior to the test yielding a positive COVID-19 result. This notification will let staff know the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) will follow-up with contact tracing and case investigation.
  • FCPS will follow Health Department guidance and identify any potential close contacts and temporarily pause in-person instruction, athletics and school activities, or work for those individuals. A communication from the school will be sent directly to each of these individuals.
  • The Health Department will determine any close contacts, and then contact those individuals to provide the appropriate guidance as to when they may return to school or work. A close contact is defined as someone who has spent 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period within 6 feet of someone who has tested positive. The CDC indicates a K-12 exception to this definition. In the K-12 indoor/outdoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student when:
    • Both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks.
    • Other K-12 prevention strategies were in place in the K-12 school setting.
    • For the K-12 exception, the federal exception continues to include only indoor settings. However, FCPS is following the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guideline that includes outdoor settings. The VDH guideline for pausing after close contact affects "Students wearing masks who were within 3 feet or less of a Student COVID case in the indoor or outdoor K-12 classroom setting for a cumulative amount of 15 minutes or more within 24 hours. 
    • This exception does not apply to teachers, staff or other adults in the indoor/outdoor classroom setting.
    • More information on contact investigations is available from the Fairfax County Health Department and the Virginia Department of Health
  • Students and staff may be released from the pause to in-person instruction, athletics and activities by the following means:
    • The Health Department determines the student/staff is not a close contact during a case investigation and releases them from the pause. These individuals will be notified by FCPS when they have been released and may return.
    • The Health Department confirms the student/staff has provided verification of vaccination status and attests to being asymptomatic and releases the student/staff from quarantine. These individuals will be provided with a clearance letter from the FCHD to return to school.
    • The Health Department closes the case investigation and FCPS sends notification to remaining paused students the investigation is complete, and they may return to in-person instruction, athletics, and activities.
    • After 14 days from the date of possible exposure, if the Health Department has not yet completed the case investigation, FCPS is permitted to release the students/staff from the pause. These individuals will be contacted by FCPS and informed of the date on which they may return.
  • Please note that schools will send an end-of-the week notification to their entire school community notifying them of any cases that have occurred in their school that week.  If no cases have occurred that week, no communication will be sent. The FCPS COVID-19 dashboard documents positive cases reported at schools and is updated daily for those who want to review case reporting throughout the week.  

Pause, Quarantine, and Contact Tracing

  • Pausing, quarantining, and contact tracing are tools we use to keep schools safe when a positive COVID-19 case is reported. 
  • Only the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) can release a student from pausing, pending completion of an investigation.
  • Please refer to the Pause, Quarantine, and Contact Tracing webpage for more information.
COVID-19 Case reported to the school for student, staff or visitor. School identifies potential close contacts to the positive case and sends pause letters to impacted families.  School identifies potential close contacts to the positive case and then sends pause letters to impacted families. The school notifies the Health Department and shares contact information for the positive case and potential close contacts.

 

Return to School Process for Symptomatic Students and Students who are NOT Fully Vaccinated

See the process

Return to School Process for Fully Vaccinated, Asymptomatic (no symptoms) Students

See the process

Seating Charts

  • Elementary schools will provide seating charts for classrooms and cafeterias, to minimize the number of potential close contacts.
  • Middle and High Schools will provide seating charts for classrooms.

Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the offering of no-cost breakfast and lunch to all students through school year 2021-2022.  Visit the FNS website

Indoor Dining

  • Required:
    • Masks when not actively eating and drinking
    • Tables/eating areas cleaned with sanitizing solution in between lunches 
    • Sanitizing stations located in cafeteria/eating areas - encourage student use before/after meals
    • Elementary - Seating charts
  • Whenever possible:
    • Use outdoor seating areas
    • Have students facing in one direction
    • Space students apart 
  • Physical distancing*, to the extent possible, while masks are removed (i.e., while eating or drinking).  FCPS shall not exclude students from in-person learning to keep a minimum distance requirement.
  • See FCPS This Week for more information.

Requirements for Playground Areas

  • Face masks are not required on the playground
  • Handwashing and Hand Sanitizing
    • Students are to wash hands before going to playground areas and immediately following with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is to be made easily accessible in playground areas for students and staff. 

Playground Apparatus (swings, jungle gym, etc.)

  • Playground apparatus (large structural equipment, swings, jungle gym, etc.) is approved for use. 
  • Students must sanitize their hands immediately before and after using the apparatus/equipment.

Playground Equipment (balls, hula hoops, jump ropes)

  • Students should wash/sanitize hands immediately prior to and immediately after use of playground equipment.
  • Students may share equipment during recess.
  • Prior to using any piece of equipment, schools should determine if it can be effectively disinfected.  (Nonporous items such as those made of plastic or rubber are recommended.)  
  • Spray or wipe down equipment during the day if possible.

Online Resources for Outside Play

School Programs/Protocols

FCPS’ Current Athletic Protocols

  • Out-of-season athletic workouts are focused on expanding opportunities for students to be physically active in a familiar environment supervised by trusted adults. The overall health and safety of our students and coaches is paramount.
  • Out-of-season workouts may be held in accordance with the established Virginia High School League (VHSL) athletic calendar under the following parameters:
    • All students participating in out-of-season workouts MUST have a complete, valid VHSL physical on file with the school.
    • Any equipment used MUST be disinfected according to established procedures before, during and after the workout.
    • Each coach supervising an out-of-season workout MUST complete the FCPS training program offered by their local school.
    • Coaches MUST submit a workout plan to the supervising administrator for review prior to conducting a workout. This plan must address, at minimum:
      • Dedicated periods for disinfecting equipment used during the workout.
    • Any individual with symptoms associated with COVID-19 should not participate in a workout. Please stay home.
    • Workout participants will complete a screening process upon arrival, to include a symptom questionnaire, before participating in a workout:
      • Students displaying any symptoms will be directed to return home.
      • At the conclusion of the workout, students will be directed to return home immediately to shower and change clothes.
  • In-season athletic activities, including tryouts and regular season and post-season practices and competitions may occur during the appropriate in-season period as defined in the current VHSL athletic calendar.  While certain sports have unique considerations, all in-season athletic activities will be held in accordance with the following parameters:
    • Each coach supervising an in-season practice or competition MUST complete the FCPS training program offered by their local school.
    • Any individual with symptoms associated with COVID-19 should not participate in a workout. Please stay home.
    • All participants (students and coaches) will complete a screening process upon arrival, to include a symptom questionnaire, before participating in a workout:
      • Students displaying any symptoms will be directed to return home.
      • At the conclusion of the workout, students will be directed to return home immediately to shower and change clothes.
    • Any equipment used MUST be disinfected according to established procedures before, during and after the practice or competition.
    • Physical distancing is to be maintained when not actively participating in sport-related activities.
    • All participants (students and coaches) are required to wear a mask when not actively participating in practices or games while indoors, to include while riding the bus to practice or an event.  Students and coaches are not required to wear a mask while outdoors.
    • Students and coaches may temporarily remove their mask as needed if they distance themselves from other participants.
    • All participants must bring at least 32 ounces of water in a personal water bottle to all practices and competitions.
  • Information on sport-specific mitigation protocols is available from the school’s Director of Student Activities (DSA).

Health and Physical Education (HPE)

  • Students must wash/sanitize hands immediately before and after class.
  • Face coverings must be worn during physical education classes held indoors.  Physical distancing to the extent possible should be maintained. (It is recommended that teachers engage students in low intensity activity indoors in well-ventilated spaces and engage in higher intensity activity outside.)
  • Face coverings may be removed during physical education classes held outdoors.  Physical distancing to the extent possible should be maintained.
  • Locker rooms will be available for students who choose to change clothes for physical education.  In accordance with regulation 3210, it is recommended but not required that students change clothes for physical education. Students should wear clothing/footwear that is comfortable and safe for activity and appropriate for the weather.
  • Students may share equipment during class.  Equipment should be sprayed or wiped down with approved cleaning products periodically during the day if possible and at least once per day.
  • Non-porous equipment that can be easily sanitized should be used. 
  • Students are encouraged to have their own water bottle for use during class.
  • Teachers should consider use of electronic whistles.

Dance (K-12)

  • If possible and weather permitting, consider outside spaces for dance instruction, activities, and events.
  • Masks are not required for outdoor rehearsal or performances.
  • Wash and sanitize hands when entering and exiting all dance spaces. 
  • Students will maintain physical distancing to the greatest extent possible within the dance classrooms and dance spaces.
  • Students, teachers, and staff must wear masks during indoor dance activities unless they have an approved face covering exemption. 
  • As face coverings may become sweaty during dance activities, advise students to have a second mask to wear following class. Students should place the used mask in a plastic zip lock bag or a closed paper bag.
  • Limit activities that require close contact between performers particularly when indoors.
  • Across the floor movement may occur, but dancers should remain in accordance with physical distance guidelines to the extent possible.
  • Sanitize dance barres with approved disinfectants. 
  • Limit the use of shared items between persons when feasible.  Clean shared props and materials with approved disinfectants.
  • It is not recommended for the dance classroom to be utilized for other purposes to ensure protection and cleanliness of flooring.

Theatre Arts (K-12)

  • If possible and weather permitting, consider outside spaces for theatre instruction, activities, and events.
  • Masks are not required for outdoor rehearsals or performances.
  • Wash and sanitize hands when entering and exiting all theatre spaces. 
  • Students will maintain physical distancing to the extent possible within the theatre classroom and theatre spaces.
  • As face coverings may become sweaty during theatre activities, advise students to have a second mask to wear following class. Students should place the used mask in a plastic zip lock bag or a closed paper bag.
  • Limit activities that require close contact between performers particularly when indoors.
  • As possible, provide individual scripts, librettos, and dramatic texts for students or digital copies (copyright permitting).
  • Limit the use of shared items between persons when feasible.  Clean shared props, materials, and equipment with approved disinfectant.
  • Clean technical tools, materials, and equipment after use and on a regular basis.
  • Students must use individual makeup kits and supplies.  Temporary makeup tools should be discarded after single use.
  • Costumes and wigs should be washed and cleaned regularly.
  • If a microphone is used during a theatre event or performance, it must be properly wiped down after each use and stored in a clear location.  Consult your building supervisor to obtain proper cleaning materials approved by Facilities and appropriate for theatre equipment.

Instrumental Music (4-12)

  • Students in elementary schools can utilize the cafeteria, band/strings room, or other dedicated space to store student instruments and to prepare rooms for physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • Students in secondary schools can utilize their designated instructional rooms and instrument lockers. 
  • Musical instruments that are shared should be properly cleaned between use.
  • Physical distancing around each student to the greatest extent possible.
  • Spit valves should not be emptied on the floor but into an absorbent disposable material that can be discarded.
  • Bell covers should be attached to woodwind and brass instruments.
  • Masks can be removed for the playing of woodwind and brass instruments. Students can also utilize specialized instrument face masks with a slit for the mouthpiece for indoor rehearsals, concerts, or other performances 
  • Masks/instrument covers are not required for outdoor rehearsals, concerts, or other performances.

Choral Music (7-12)

  • Physical distancing around each student to the greatest extent possible.
  • A Choral Mask or face mask should be worn by the students and teachers during indoor rehearsals, concerts, or other performances. 

General Music (K-6)

  • Maximize physical distance to the greatest extent possible, especially while singing, playing the recorder, and participating movement activities that produce increased exhalation.   
  • Musical instruments that are shared should be properly cleaned between uses. Students should wash/sanitize hands immediately prior to and immediately after using instruments that are not easily cleaned, such as xylophones.
  • During recorder playing, students can use a disposable mask with a slit cut for the mouthpiece.  Bell covers for the recorder should be used and can be made from a disposable mask.  

School Supplies, Art Materials, and Communal Classroom Items

  • Students should wash hands before and after using communal classroom supplies or equipment.
  • Clean electronic devices, toys, games or learning aids between uses.
  • Cleaning washable items with soap, detergent, or disinfectant wipe after each use. Classroom supplies and equipment need not be disinfected (with an EPA-approved disinfectant) unless a person with a suspected or confirmed infection has been in contact.
  • Paper books may be used in the classroom
  • Papers, tools, and supplies do not require an isolation period.

Library Program

  • Hand sanitizer station is required at the entrance of the library
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes or disinfectant should be made available at the checkout station and used immediately after checking books in or out
  • Book Checkout
    • Students and staff are permitted to browse shelves and select books while following distance and mask guidelines
    • Self-checkout stations qualify as high-touch surfaces and should be cleaned according to current guidance
    • The circulation desk requires plexiglass installation where face-to-face checkout takes place.
  • Books that are returned or handled do not require an isolation period.
  • Additional guidance to support in person library use and browsing can be found in Library Facility Safety Recommendations

Health and Safety Science (K-12)

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as Safety Goggles, glasses, gloves, aprons, face masks, face shields should not be shared, but if they are shared, they should be cleaned between each use by the student using a 10% bleach solution.  Ethanol wipes are not permitted for this use.  It is strongly recommended that individual goggles be issued to each student. If each student has been issued their own goggles they do not need to be cleaned between each use.
  • Microscopes, Balances and other scientific equipment should be cleaned between use with ethanol wipes found on List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Wipe the surface until visibly wet, then allow to evaporate.
  • Students and parents must sign the FCPS safety agreement and complete the safety quiz. Digital versions are acceptable. 
  • Extra effort should be made to minimize the consumption of food and drink in science classrooms.
  • For additional K- 12 Health and Safety Science Guidance teachers should refer to their mandatory compliance trainings.

Specific Instructional Program Considerations

Generally, all instructional programs will adhere to the guidelines communicated above. Specific guidelines are listed below. The Instructional Services Department staff will continue to develop guidelines that are relevant to various instructional programs.

World Language

Recommend teacher use a clear mask rather than cloth face covering to support instruction.

Assessment Procedures

  • Staff employ the most current school-based health and safety procedures when delivering classroom assessments and standardized assessments.
  • Caregivers may access summary general Health and Safety Protocols for Assessments.

Early Head Start, PreK

  • Gowns will be worn and changed after toileting, feeding or consoling a child.
  • A minimum of 6’ between PreK students in classrooms to the extent possible and distance may be reduced as needed to ensure all students can be accommodated for in-person learning.
  • Water bottles are provided by PreK program
  • Disinfectant wipes are not allowed in the PreK and Early Head Start classrooms

Travel Restrictions

Currently, the CDC and VDH do not mandate quarantine after travel domestically or out of the country. FCPS is following this guidance.

  • VDH urges all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel, especially if you are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 or if you will be visiting someone at higher risk of serious COVID-19. This recommendation applies to everyone, even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have fully recovered from COVID-19. OCCR will support public messaging for families in the coming weeks.
  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommends (but does not require) that all people get tested before and after travel and stay home or reduce non-essential activities for at least 7 days after travel.
  • Students and staff are not required to quarantine or provide COVID 19 test results.
  • Families may opt to keep their students at home for 14 days after they return from travel, however, it is not required.
  • The daily monitoring of symptoms is required. 
  • For further information, please refer to the requirements for domestic and international travel:

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