Return to School

Returning Strong

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will be returning to five days a week of in-person learning in the fall.

More than 109,000 students have returned for in-person learning, while keeping in-school COVID-19 transmission rates low.

With the success of the spring return to school effort, FCPS is planning to return all students to five days a week in-person in the fall.

Physical Distancing Changes

For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, FCPS will be requiring students and staff to continue to wear masks and socially distance during instructional time both indoors and outdoors on school grounds including for recess. Complete details on masks and social distancing are available

FCPS will maintain CDC requirements of 3 feet social distance in classrooms and 6 feet social distancing in our cafeterias through June 15. 

Students should carry a mask on them at all times to ensure they have one available when required.

As per national, state and local guidance, there are unique and specific mask and social distancing requirements for graduation, athletics, school performances, and other school-specific events held indoors and outdoors. FCPS will be transitioning to updated guidelines for these specific events starting May 28, 2021.


Definition of Outbreak

School outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14-day period, who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing. The size of outbreaks is determined by the Health Department.

Decision Making Process – 3 feet or 6 feet

Decisions regarding the minimum level of physical distancing (3 feet or 6 feet) for each middle and high school during "high" community transmission will be made by the Superintendent/designee and will be based on each individual school’s data unless many FCPS middle and high schools experience school outbreaks within a 14-day period and the FCHD recommends adjustments to mitigation, including physical distancing.

Classroom Instruction Guidelines

  • It remains preferred that students face the same direction.
  • If it is not feasible, then students may face one another as long as they are masked and are physically distanced.

Additional Guidance - When six (6) feet applies

Any changes in guidance from three (3) feet to six (6) feet applies to the space between students. Spacing remains at six (6) feet for the following: 

  • Between adults in the school building (teachers and staff), and between adults and students. 
  • When masks can’t be worn, such as when eating 
  • During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band, or sports and exercise. 
  • In hallways

Note: Students from the same household do not have to adhere to the physical distancing requirements.

View the COVID-19 Health Metrics for the latest data on community transmission

Letters to the Community

COVID-19 Case Reporting

News for Parents

June 16 - In the final issue of FCPS This Week for the 2020-21 school year, get information on summer food distribution, mask guidance for summer school, Outstanding Employee Award winners, and graduation highlights. 


Resources for Families