Reopening Schools Plan - Future Shutdowns

FCPS must be prepared for the possibility of future school closures

Preparing for Future Shutdowns

Changes in public health data could necessitate rapid adjustments to the division’s operational approach at any time in the 2020-21 school year. Students, families, and staff attending in-person with social distancing in FCPS buildings should be prepared for the potential of building closure on short notice. Division leaders will communicate promptly to staff, students, and families in the event that local health conditions warrant school closure or a change in instructional delivery. In the event of closure, FCPS will implement an emergency model of full-time online instruction for all students. 

Experts studying health trends for COVID-19 and past pandemics recognize that there is the potential for a range of shifts in public health risk as we move toward eventual stability. As we begin to ease social distancing, we work from an assumption that the worst is behind us. However, analysis of historical data and trends from other areas of the world experiencing COVID-19 suggest the likelihood that we will see a resurgence in cases. This resurgence could take the form of a spike, possibly in late fall when flu season also prompts more COVID-19 transmissions. Another variation could bring recurring waves across many months until a vaccine is developed, reflecting loss of stamina for strict health and social distancing precautions.

possible variations in future COVID-19 public health data trends

Safety Protocols

During a health closure for one or more FCPS sites, no students would be allowed in school buildings for instruction. Staff would access buildings for critical purposes, as permitted within health department guidelines. In rare circumstances when a necessary specialized service cannot be provided remotely, individual students may be permitted into a FCPS facility by appointment and with strict mitigation strategies in place. 

Instructional Practice

In the event of shutdown, all instruction for the affected schools would be delivered online through enhanced distance learning practices. These virtual practices would reflect lessons learned from spring 2020 and would include expanded digital curriculum resources, as well as additional staff training. The division’s ongoing expansion of technology, connectivity, and blended learning strategies across grade levels and curricular areas will ensure FCPS students are able to access high-quality, rigorous instruction even in the event of a school closure. The division will continue to document effective virtual learning strategies and provide professional development and family resources in order to prepare for a possible transition to online learning.


Class schedules in an emergency online learning approach will mirror schedules used for students whose families requested full-time online instruction for the school year. See the sample full-time online instruction schedule illustrated in the prior section. In full-time online instruction, all elementary, middle, and high school students will receive four days per week of teacher-directed/synchronous instruction and one day per week of independent/asynchronous learning.

Reopening Schools Plan - Complete Information