Student Health and Safety Guidance Document

Guidance on School Health Practices

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)

Student Health and Safety Guidance Document

Consistent with Governor Northam’s phased reopening plan for Virginia schools, and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). FCPS is providing the following guidance to staff regarding school health practices for students:

Schools should follow all CDC, Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the local health department guidance for reopening schools:

All Phases

Prior to the reopening of the school, school administrators must identify the following:

Isolation Room Establishment, Requirements, and Staffing:

  • The predetermined isolation room is a designated location and must be separate from the health room.
  • A designated staff member must be assigned to supervise students while in the predetermined isolation room should the need arise. The staff member will be provided with a gown, 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”).
  • 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.

Daily Temperature Checks- Procedure and Staffing Requirements:

  • Has not returned the Parental/Guardian Health Screening Commitment Form
  • Any student who is not wearing a face covering (cloth or disposable). Face coverings will be provided for any student who does not have an exemption.
  • Temperatures will be taken throughout the day for any student who:
    • Arrives late to school, meeting the criteria above'
    • Takes off their face covering during the day, after arriving at school, and refuses to put it back on. This requirement does not apply when students are eating and drinking or during exercising, under the supervision of school staff
    • Additional guidance regarding physical activity during Health and Physical Education (HPE), recess, athletics etc. will be provided.

*****If the temperature of the student is greater than or equal to 100.4°Fahrenheit, the student will be escorted or sent to the predetermined isolation room for further screening. Escorts will maintain 6 feet of social distancing. School Health Room staff will then follow the FCHD established protocols for Care of the Sick and Injured.

Protocols for Student Illness and Contact Tracing:


Parental Guardian Health Screening Commitment Form:

  • Parents/guardians who chose a face-to-face instructional option for their child will be required to complete a Parent/Guardian Health Screening Commitment form.
  • This document indicates the parental/guardian’s agreement and commitment to completing a daily health screening prior to sending the student to school and also to keep ill students at home.
  • The commitment form(s) are available at the bottom of this page
  • Parents/guardians who have indicated that their child will attend face-to-face instruction will receive the commitment form electronically, or via hard copy, in their preferred correspondence language.
  • The form will be sent home to families prior to their student resuming face to face instruction.
  • Parents/guardians may choose to provide their response electronically, in which receipt will automatically be updated in the Student Information System (SIS), OR, parents/guardians may choose to return a hard copy form with their signature. In these cases, staff will be required to manually update the receipt of this information in SIS and file the original commitment form in the student’s health portion of the cumulative file.
  • Designated school staff will identify and run a daily report via SIS to identify and monitor those students whose parent/guardian have not submitted the commitment form.
  • School staff will contact the parents/guardians of all students who have not returned the Parental/Guardian Health Screening Commitment form (either electronically or via hard copy) to communicate this requirement until all forms have been received.

Daily Health Screening:

  • A daily health screening will be required for all students attending face-to-face instruction.
  • The health screening tool(s) are available at the bottom of this page
  • As indicated in the Parental/Guardian Health Screening Commitment form, parent/guardians, will complete the health screening each morning, prior to sending the student to school. In order to reduce the spread of communicable disease to student and staff, it is critical that parents/guardians accurately complete this screening daily and keep students home from school when exhibiting any symptoms. These health screenings will be done on an honor basis and will not be required to be submitted to the school. 
  • Parents/guardians will be required to make this commitment for all school-aged children in their household.
  • Parents/guardians will receive frequent reminders from FCPS via multiple modes of communication, reminding them to complete their daily health screening 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.
  • Students whose parent/guardian have not returned a signed the Parent/Guardian Health Screening Commitment form will be required to have their temperature taken daily by school staff until the form is received.
  • If the temperature of the student is greater than or equal to 100.4° Fahrenheit, the student will be escorted or sent to the predetermined isolation room for further screening. Escorts will maintain 6 feet of social distancing. For any student being sent home, parents/guardians or approved designee are to pick up their student within one hour.

Face Coverings (Cloth or Disposable):

  • All students who are two years of age and older are required to wear face coverings (cloth or disposable) while on school property (including inside FCPS facilities, during FCPS-provided transportation and school sponsored activities).
  • Refer to the CDC for exceptions for the most recent information regarding exceptions.
  • Any student not wearing a face covering for any reason, upon arrival to school will receive daily temperature check(s).

Training for students in the appropriate use of face coverings is available at


  • FCPS recognizes that it may be difficult for many students to wear face coverings all day during face-to-face instruction. School staff may consider building in supervised breaks during the instructional day where students may go outdoors and maintain social distance in order to take a break from wearing face coverings.


Visitors to FCPS Facilities:

  • Visitors to all FCPS facilities will be limited and requests will be reviewed by the principal, or designee, on a case by case basis.
  • When possible, appointments should be made in advance by contacting the front office at the school.
  • All visitors will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire and a temperature check prior to entering the building.
  • Any visitor responding “yes” to any of the health screening questions or demonstrating a temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit or greater will not be permitted to enter the building.
  • All visitors must wear face coverings while on school property and inside FCPS facilities.
  • Any student participating in distance learning that must visit the building for any reason will be required to complete the health screening process above and wear a face covering (cloth or disposable) while in the building.

School Supplies and Communal Classroom Items:

  • Sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect is to be discouraged. Students will be required to label and maintain their own personal set of required classroom supplies, keep them in their backpack and take them to and from school each day.
  • Electronic devices, toys, books, games or learning aids are not to be shared unless they can be cleaned or disinfected.
  • Students should bring their own water bottle for use during the day. School staff should develop a plan for refilling water bottles, as necessary.
  • Whenever possible, and when developmentally appropriate, supplies/school materials should be placed directly into backpacks by students.

Considerations for Recess:

  • Communal equipment, such as playground equipment, balls, ropes, etc. should not be used.
  • School staff should consider teaching students games or recess activities that minimize close physical contact and allow for social distancing.

Considerations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, gloves, face shields, goggles, facemasks 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 coverings 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 will receive training at the onset of the school year in the appropriate use of PPE.
  • 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.
  • The Office of Procurement Services (OPS), the Office of Facilities Management (OFM) and the Office of Safety and Security (OSS) are working together to provide the necessary supplies and infrastructure to schools as preparations for reopening and fall activities begin. Supply allocations will be based on the number of employees, student enrollment and program need.  OFM is installing social distancing signage (on walls and floors) and counter shields in schools and administrative offices. This work will continue through the month of July. OSS is working closely with the FCHD and CDC to monitor COVID-19 and provide health and safety information as we prepare to return to work and school.
  • Below is a list of all supplies and materials that FCPS sites will receive when returning to work.  Additional supplies and materials will be available for purchase from the OPS warehouse once school begins.  Working groups are reviewing a phased approach to ensure we capture all program requirements as our return to school models continue to develop.

Supplies and Materials for Schools:

  1. Hand sanitizer – automatic dispensing stands for entrances and individual use bottles (500ML) will be provided to all schools and administrative centers.  Additionally, 1-gallon pump bottles will be provided for every classroom.
  2. Face masks/coverings – cloth face coverings or disposable masks will also be available for students, staff  and essential building visitors who do not bring their own. Face masks/coverings 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 (For example, 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. Temporal thermometers –  for use in school health rooms.  OPS has purchased 1 thermometer for every 100  students.
  7. Cleaning supplies – additional supplies will be provided for custodians to use during routine and enhanced cleaning.    
  8. Spray bottles and paper towels – to be used with Virex cleaning solution during enhanced cleaning by custodians and, possibly, staff cleaning their individual workspaces.

Food and Nutrition Services (FNS):

  • Food and Nutrition Services is currently planning school year 20-21 meal distribution to support students engaged in virtual learning.  Updated service information will be available on the FCPS website and as soon as it is available.

Athletic Protocols:

This document will be updated with additional information regarding Phase III activities as it becomes available and will be consistent with the Virginia High School League (VHSL). The following information references FCPS’ current athletic protocols.

The FCPS plan for a return to athletic activity during Phase III is 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.  Beginning Tuesday, September 8, schools may begin to offer out-of-season workouts under the following parameters:

  • All workouts MUST be focused on individualized work in a small group setting
    • The maximum number of participants per athletic program is 50 students
    • Students should be organized into smaller groups (maximum of 10, including the coach) that are consistent from workout to workout
  • Workouts CONTINUE to focus on individual skill development, strength, agility and conditioning activities
  • Beginning September 8, all students participating in out-of-season workouts MUST have a complete, valid VHSL physical on file with the school
  • A limited array of athletic equipment MAY be utilized.  Any equipment used MUST be disinfected according to established procedures before, during and after the workout.
  • All workouts MUST be conducted outdoors- no use of indoor facilities (locker room, meeting/team room, weight room, gyms, etc.) is permitted
  • Each coach supervising a workout during Phase III 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:
    • Staggered drop-off/pick-up times so that no more than 10 students are arriving/departing at any given time
    • Location(s) to be utilized and how social distancing (minimum of 6 feet from another person) will be maintained throughout the activity
    • 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.
  • Vulnerable individuals (students and coaches) may participate in these workouts but should limit participation in situations in which appropriate social distancing may not be practical
  • Workout participants will complete a screening process upon arrival, to include a symptom questionnaire and temperature check, 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

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Schools after COVID-19:

Measures will be implemented to ensure that common areas and equipment, and personal workspaces, are regularly cleaned and sanitized. OFM has worked closely with FCPS custodians to adjust their cleaning processes to better address current considerations. FCPS custodians are using effective disinfectant and sanitizing products to clean our facilities every day. Along with these measures, they are taking the following steps to maximize our sanitizing efforts:

  • Refreshed Cleaning Methods/Processes- FCPS cleaning personnel will be sanitizing and disinfecting restrooms more frequently. Their cleaning protocol will include thoroughly disinfecting and sanitizing all surfaces, doors, toilets, handles, etc. and ensuring that all supplies are always fully stocked.
  • Increased Cleaning to High-Touch Surfaces/Points- FCPS cleaning crews will be sanitizing touch surfaces/points thoroughly (i.e., door handles, glass, elevators buttons, doors, tables, chairs, light switches). Daytime custodians have been instructed to continuously disinfect and sanitize all touch points throughout the day. In addition, we will be increasing daytime custodian coverage where appropriate, depending on building occupancy.

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.

Early Headstart, Preschool, Kindergarten:

  • Face shields or clear masks so children can see the teachers/ instructional assistants (IA) face for relationship development, language development and social emotional development.  
  • Individual materials (e.g, crayons, makers, scissors etc.) including a calming box
  • Scrubs/covers must be worn and changed after toileting or consoling a child  

Instrumental Music Grade 4-12:

  • Students should stand during class.  Chairs can also be used but will require teachers/students to disinfect in-between student use.
    • Some instruments require seating due to size:
      • Cello, Bass, Tuba, Bassoon, Bari saxophone, guitar and students that need to sit for additional reasons.
      • Students can be assigned one chair for use in order to limit cleaning and sharing.
    • Music stands/chairs can be placed, socially distanced, 10 ft. apart, for students.

General Music (K-6):

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds or sanitize hands before/after class
  • Tape spots on the floor for social distancing
  • Do not sit in a circle
  • There should be no shared materials, instruments, or supplies
  • Avoid large group singing, while social distancing guidelines are in place
    • Substitute humming for singing
    • No large group chanting – whisper or use inner voice while moving lips
  • No activities that require students to touch and/or violate social distancing guidelines. (i.e.: play parties, group dances, etc.). These activities could continue to be part of instruction if movements can be adjusted to avoid violating social distancing guidelines
  • Metal instruments such as triangles which are used infrequently, may be shared only if disinfected after every use
  • Sharing of Orff instruments is not permitted
  • Recorders
    • Students should not play recorders in school until the results of the COVID-19 aerosol study are complete
    • At that point, if teaching recorder, each student must have their own individual instrument which they keep with them (Recorders must not be kept in a common storage area in the music room).

Library Program:

  • Hand sanitizer and wipes or disinfectant made available at checkout station and used immediately after checking out books
  • Self-checkout only for grades 3 – 12 and adults
    • Librarians should print library cards for students with their barcodes to avoid multiple students using the computer keyboard or number pad. Students may keep their library card and bring it with them to the library.
  • Checkout at the circulation desk for PreK-2 
    • Adults shall use masks and sanitize or wash hands between classes.
  • Books that are returned require 72 hours of isolation out of sight or without access by students and staff. Books do not need to be disinfected.

Health and Physical Education (HPE):

  • Recommended social distancing during physical activity is 10 feet; capacity of facility limited to 50% or 250, whichever is less
  • Multiple classes in the gym requires use of curtain/divider to separate spaces and capacity must maintain social distancing requirements in each individual space
  • Additional activity spaces including auxiliary gym, dance/gymnastics room, weight room, wrestling room should have capacity determined based on 10’ of social distancing with capacity limited to 50% 
  • Adapted physical education classes need a separate teaching area with space to maintain social distancing
  • During adapted physical education, it often is not possible to maintain social distance.  Staff will need appropriate PPE and training.

World Language:

  • Recommend teacher use face shield or clear mask  rather than cloth face covering  to support instruction

Assessment Procedures:

  • Specific guidance on testing expectations and delivery options for state and division-mandated assessments is in development. Final guidance for both paper-pencil format and computer-based assessments will be communicated by early August. Guidance will include any special social distancing protocols for in-person administration and the viability of at-home testing for certain online assessments.