Return to School

We began the 2020-21 school year with virtual learning for all students on September 8. 

September 28 - Check out this week's issue of Return to School News to get information on the plan for returning to in-person instruction, FCPS' Blue Ribbon Schools, Region 4 Teacher of the Year Lisa Rode, and technology resources for parents. 

September 21 - This week's issue of Return to School News has information on the metrics to be used for deciding when to return to in-person learning, TJHSST admissions changes, internet access assistance, and free meals for students. 

September 14 - Check out this week's Return to School News e-newsletter to get the latest information on meals for students, the virtual Mental Health and Wellness Conference, National Merit semifinalists, and student attendance. 

Return to School Countdown

Previous Issues - September 8August 31 | August 24 | August 17 | August 10 | August 4

The changing course of the COVID-19 pandemic with infection rates surging both nationally and regionally has required us to alter our plans for school year 2020-21.  We began the  2020-21 school year with virtual learning for all students. The online school year began September 8. 

Future Plans

At the School Board work session on Tuesday, August 18, Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand provided the preliminary metrics FCPS will use to decide when to return to cohort (more information below), hybrid, or full in-person learning. These include:

Virginia Department of Health Metrics

  • The number of new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population.
  • The percentage of tests that are positive (PCR test percent positivity).
  • Rate of Covid-19 outbreaks.
  • Percent of Covid-19 cases among healthcare workers.
  • Rate of emergency department visits for coronavirus-like illnesses.
  • Rate of confirmed Covid-19 intensive care unit hospitalizations.
  • Percent of hospital beds currently occupied.
  • Number of hospitals reporting trouble acquiring personal protective equipment.

Operational Metrics

  • Ability to staff the health room with a public health nurse or student health aide.
  • Classroom teachers available for in-person learning.
  • Available staff on-call to monitor in-person learning (including substitutes).
  • Administrative staff available for in-person learning.
  • Transportation staff available.
  • Food and nutrition managers available.
  • Custodial staff available.

Finalized metrics will be shared with the School Board at the September 22 Work Session at 4 p.m.

Cohort Learning Groups

FCPS has identified groups of students that are most in need of returning to in-person learning and hopes to bring them back using a phased-in approach (one group every two weeks) beginning in September. They include:

  • Group 1: Preschool autism and preschool class-based students, English learners with limited or interrupted formal education, and limited Adult and Community Education classes including English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), workforce training, and behind-the-wheel driving classes.
  • Group 2: Key Center and Kilmer Center students, secondary and elementary students who access the adapted curriculum, elementary comprehensive services sites, new English learners and PreK and kindergarten students.
  • Group 3: First and second grade students and Burke School elementary school students. 

View the complete School Board Return to School work session: Part I | Part II

Improved Distance Learning

For distance learning, our first priority is to provide access and equity in the learning experience for each of our students.  We understand that there are significant academic and social/emotional challenges to our students learning remotely.  We have strengthened our digital learning model so that we can provide an even more rigorous and engaging virtual-learning program with greater connections for all students at all grade levels.   

Weekly Learning Schedule

Students will receive virtual instruction 5 days per week. The week will include 4 days of live, face-to-face online instruction with teachers Tuesday through Friday. Mondays will be used for independent learning with some students identified for teacher-directed specialized instruction/intervention.

  • At the elementary level, students will receive real-time, interactive instruction Tuesday through Friday.
  • The elementary day will also consist of additional small group instruction, intervention supports, and independent learning activities assigned to students.
  • Middle and high school students will follow an A/B block schedule. 
  • Student work will be graded, and attendance is required.
  • Teachers will have planning time on Mondays and will provide intervention supports for selected students that we hope can be provided in-person.

Individual schools will communicate with parents regarding schedules and other information to prepare for online learning. 

Resources for Families


Share your thoughts on return to school