Return to School - Frequently Asked Questions for Families

Questions and answers about the 2020-21 school year

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 will begin the  2020-21 school year with virtual learning for all students. The online school year will begin, as scheduled, September 8. 

2020-21 School Year

How have the plans for the fall 2020-2021 school year changed? (7/30/20)

FCPS will begin the 2020-2021 school year on September 8, fully virtual. The online instruction model will be the same one offered to families in our recent survey.  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 (asynchronous) with some students identified for teacher-directed specialized instruction/intervention.

What factors/data did FCPS consider to determine a virtual start for the school year? (7/27/20)

The course and direction of the pandemic is very different now than it was when we approved the original plan that offered an in-person learning option. COVID-19 is surging throughout the metropolitan area, in Virginia, and nationwide. The Washington Post reported that D.C., Maryland and Virginia reported 2,049 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, July 19. This was the highest single day increase since late May. 

The ability to provide students with access to the full range of FCPS courses and programs is also significantly impacted based on the current health conditions. We are experiencing decreases in substitute teacher availability, increases in staff taking a leave of absence, and an increase in teachers requiring ADA accommodations due to COVID-19 high risk categories. 

We must place the health and safety of our students, teachers, and families first. Despite the planning we have done to develop protocols for social distancing, face coverings, and schedules to minimize overcrowding in school buildings, we have concluded that the risks of in-person instruction are not manageable at this time. FCPS will continue to make decisions based on scientific data and what the medical community recommends for keeping our students and staff safe. It is important to note every major school division in the DMV is beginning with a virtual start.  We will continue to partner with our local, regional and state education leaders and health officials as we continue throughout the school year. We all want students and staff to return to school buildings, but we will only do so when it is safe.  

If a parent enrolled their child for the 2 days of in-person instruction (hybrid option), what will happen in September? (7/30/20)

All students will automatically be placed in the virtual option and receive virtual instruction 5 days per week beginning on Tuesday, September 8. 

What happens to parent selection for face-to-face or virtual instruction as FCPS begins to bring students back to school? (7/30/20)

FCPS understands that individual parent comfort level with returning to face-to-face instruction is an important consideration when bringing students back to the building. Schools have been provided with parent preferences related to face-to-face or virtual instruction for the 2020-21 school year. This preference information is being used to help schools create schedules and teacher assignments.

Why is FCPS starting school on September 8 instead of August 25? (7/30/20)

On June 15, FCPS presented the three options for reopening schools to the School Board, including online virtual instruction for all students, which we will be doing at the start of the school year.

On July 9, the School Board School adopted the revised 2020-2021 Standard School Year Calendar to provide additional time to plan instruction and provide professional staff development before the opening of the school year which will begin on September 8 for students.

Teachers will return (virtually) in August. Schools will use the time leading up to the first day of school to provide training for teachers as they prepare for full-time online instruction, and to prepare teachers to return to in-person instruction when health conditions allow. Teachers will participate in professional development on new technology tools and ways to engage students, learn new procedures about online assessments and grading, and receive updates on revised curriculum and plans for interventions for students. A large portion of time will be spent training teachers on how to support student social and emotional well-being, recognizing that the pandemic has been a difficult time for students, and we want to address the anxiety they may be feeling. 

In addition, schools will learn new safety procedures, test technology, and coordinate distribution of laptops to students for the coming year.

What time will the virtual learning school day begin? (7/30/20)

Schools will follow their 2019-2020 (pre-COVID) start times. As we begin to phase students back in for face-to-face learning, we will determine the need for any adjustments to start times based on the health data and social distancing guidance in place at that time. Sample schedules are available

Athletics and Activities

What is the plan for fall sports?  (updated 7/30/20)

On July 27th, the VHSL announced its plans for the 2020-2021 school year.  All VHSL sports and activities will be delayed until December 14th.  FCPS is accessing when school clubs could begin in virtual setting with the goal of a late September start.  This model leaves all sports in the season where they are currently aligned.

  • Season 1 (Winter) December 14 – February 20 (First Contest Date – December 28)
    • Basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim/dive, wrestling
  • Season 2 (Fall) February 15 – May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
    • Cheer, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, volleyball
  • Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)
    • Baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field

VHSL announced a final plan for the fall sports on July 27

What is the plan for marching band activities this summer and fall? (8/3/20)

Marching band has been cancelled for the fall and will be reassessed in alignment with the VHSL.

How will FCPS handle outside groups who use the school after hours, including after school classes sponsored by PTA? (7/17/20 - updated 7/30/20)

The reopening of FCPS grounds and facilities to outside non-FCPS or Fairfax County Government will be determined as FCPS determines the plan to return to face-to-face learning.

Calendar

Will there be any changes to the 2020-2021 student and/or staff calendar? (7/10/20)

The School Board voted to support the Superintendent’s recommendation to move the start date for students to September 8 to give school administrators added time to plan schedules and staffing assignments for both virtual and in-person instruction and provide teachers additional professional development and planning time, when they return in August. There are no other changes to the student calendar. The staff reporting dates will not change. 

Change in Conditions

How will FCPS determine when it is safe to have students and staff return to in-person instruction and what will the return look like? (7/30/20)

The School Board directed the Superintendent to determine what metrics will be used to determine if we can begin to offer in-person instruction starting with our most vulnerable students. The School Board requested that the Superintendent provide an update on the metrics to the Board no later than August 15. 

Should health conditions improve, we would first bring back students for intervention support on a limited basis. Following that, we would work to bring students back to school as soon as possible starting with elementary school students, select PreK-12 special education students and English Learners.

If the health conditions improve, how will things change? (6/28/20)

State, CDC, and Fairfax County Health Department guidance will inform future changes that allow for additional student capacity and changes to health and safety protocols as social distancing requirements are eased.  If health conditions improve that would allow FCPS to resume in-person instruction for all students, we would reassess FCPS’s operating status at that time. 

Curriculum

Will there be any changes to the curriculum for 2020-21?

Yes, FCPS will provide teachers with streamlined curriculum guidance and resources that recognize the impact of school closures on all students, potential content gaps, and readiness for new curriculum.

Can students who enrolled in courses offered through the FCPS online campus (pre-COVID) still access these courses for 2020-21? Will other students be able to access the online campus? (7/10/20)

The Online Campus currently has 1,200 students enrolled for fall and the plan is to honor those registrations. As in normal operating conditions, the online campus will provide potential solutions for students who have schedule conflicts.

Will there be any changes to music offerings? (7/10/20-Updated 7/30/20)

At the elementary level, general music, band, and strings will be offered.  Chorus will not be offered first semester but will be reconsidered during the second semester.  All music programs will be available at the middle and high school level. 

Distance Learning

How will distance learning for 2020-2021 look different from the distance learning in the spring of 2020? (7/30/20) 

Our primary goal is to open schools virtually with a schedule that is as close to normal as possible. Schools throughout the division will follow a consistent instructional schedule and provide more live, face-to-face online (synchronous) student learning.

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 (asynchronous). Some students will receive additional teacher assistance or intervention as needed on Mondays.

  • Elementary 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. Significant investment in new digital resources will provide a more personalized approach to learning in both mathematics and language arts.
  • Middle and high school students will follow an A/B block schedule.

All students will receive work that will be graded, and student attendance is required.

Students and parents will notice a more rigorous and engaging virtual-learning program with greater connections for all students at all grade levels.  Parents will be supported with additional resources to assist their online learning. A help desk that parents can contact when they need technical assistance will also be available.

The staff at each school will continue to work together to ensure that each student has consistent, reliable technology in order to access instruction each and every day. Laptops, mifis, and other resources will be available to support every student.

What platform(s) will be used to provide distance learning and will schools/teachers have a choice in what they use? (7/2/20)
 
Teachers may choose to use FCPS 24-7 Learning (Blackboard) or Google Classroom as their Learning Management System (LMS). There are seventeen schools who will be piloting Schoology during SY2020-21. Teachers at those schools will use Schoology as their LMS and may choose to integrate Google within that system.

Will middle and high school students attend all of their classes or follow a block schedule (A/B day)? (7/17/20- updated 7/30/20)

Middle and high school students will continue to follow an AB block rotation for their classes.

Are there any courses that will not be available online for 2020-21? (7/10/20- Updated 7/30/20)

This is being reevaluated at this time.

Homeschool

If I decide to homeschool my child, what do I need to do?

Parents may elect to provide home instruction for their school-aged child in lieu of attendance. Parents/guardians must provide notice of intent to homeschool for the 2020-21 school year by August 15, 2020. Additional information about home instruction is available at: https://www.fcps.edu/registration/home-instruction

If a parent wants to homeschool their child, are they able to access FCPS curriculum and resources? (7/17/20) 

Parents who choose home instruction for their student(s) are not enrolled as FCPS students.  Parents are responsible for their curriculum resource choices and do not have access to FCPS distance learning.

Meals

Where are grab and go meals available?

FCPS is committed to providing information to assist families that rely on free and reduced priced school meals and is providing grab and go meals at no cost for students as several sites throughout the county. FCPS students are welcome to come to any of the sites to pick up a meal during these time periods. 

All FCPS students (regardless of age) are eligible for free grab and go breakfast and lunch, as well as other county children, under the age of 18. Adults picking up meals for children should let staff know how many children's meals they need. Adults may pay $2 for the meals as well.

FCPS is providing grab and go meals at several schools and community centers, pop-up locations, and along several bus routes throughout the county. The FCPS sites, locations, bus routes, and curbside service are available Monday-Friday only. 

Find grab and go locations.

Find bus routes for grab and go meal distribution.

As a reminder, it is important to follow social distancing guidelines. Be sure to stand a minimum of 6 feet apart from others and practice regular hand washing, including prior to leaving a residence to pick-up meals, upon returning home, and before consuming food.

Mental Health

Given the impact school closures have had on the well-being of students, what resources will be available this year to support their mental health?

Social emotional and mental health resources will be available to support students this fall. Schools may use morning meetings/ check-ins, intervention blocks, or advisory periods to provide instruction on social emotional topics using new and existing curriculum. FCPS instructional staff will have required professional development that focuses on understanding mental wellness and appropriate tools to support students.  

Clinical and counseling staff will provide mental health support and resources, including group counseling and consultation for students and families as needed as well as individual counseling with students and related consultation with families and staff.

SACC

 

What will SACC be offering for 2020-21? (7/10/20- updated 7/30/20) 

Due to new health and safety protocols, including social distancing required when providing child care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the School Age Child Care (SACC) program is poised to deliver services on a modified scale and using smaller group sizes. The full-day program will provide support and assistance for children’s online learning experiences as well as implement a curriculum to engage children and support their growth and development.

The Fairfax County Office for Children will continue to provide technical assistance to community child care programs serving school age children as programs adapt in response to the virtual return to school. 

Special Education 

Answers to common questions about Child Find, evaluations, reevaluations, eligibility, IEPs, 504 Plans, and special education instruction. Find out more

Technology

What resources will be available to students and families if they need technical assistance during distance learning? (7/27/20)

We currently have a project team culling together support for families for the fall. Among those supports are resources in multiple languages that will provide simple tips for accessing virtual learning applications. We will also be launching a phone number for parents in August that will go to a tech help desk for simple troubleshooting of tech issues, and we will be providing more direct methods for older students to request tech help themselves.  

Schools are also planning some orientation sessions this fall to help families with setting up and navigating their devices. 

Will all students be issued a laptop this year? (7/30/20)

High school students will continue to use their FCPS issued laptops. Middle school students will be assigned a laptop. Elementary school students (PreK-6) will have a laptop available to them. Families will receive additional information about laptop distribution dates from their schools. Most laptops will be distributed in the last two weeks of August.

To ensure all students have internet access in the fall, additional MiFis have been purchased and partnerships have been established to provide free and low-cost internet to all families who need it.

How will families pick up laptops for their students if they don't want to come into the building? (7/10/20)

We will design curbside processes to allow families to pick up their computers with minimal contact and without having to access FCPS buildings. They will, however, need to come on-site to log onto the network and retrieve the device.

If parents want to use their own technology for virtual learning, what do they need to do to ensure it is compatible? (7/30/20)

If a personal device is used in place of an FCPS-issued laptop, the personal device needs a screen, keyboard, webcam and microphone. Smartphones, tablet readers, and wearable technologies are generally not acceptable substitutes for an FCPS laptop. The personally owned device must be able to run Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office products.

Additionally, parents should check in with their school about what applications might be needed for their student’s learning.  FCPS does not have the licensing authority to install applications on personal devices, so parents would be responsible for securing any necessary app’s their student may need that are not web-based. 

Please note that FCPS cannot provide tech support for personally owned devices.

What support will be put in place to help families and students at home with setting up technology, understanding different learning platforms, and accessing tech support? (7/17/20- updated 7/30/20)

A project team is putting together supports for families for the fall. Among those supports are resources in multiple languages that will provide simple tips for accessing virtual learning applications. We will also be launching a phone number for parents in August that will go to a tech help desk for simple troubleshooting of tech issues, and we will be providing more direct methods for older students to request tech help themselves.  

Schools are also planning orientation sessions this fall to help families with setting up and navigating their devices.

Additional information will be provided to schools and families prior to the start of the school year. 

 

Questions Submitted / Answered Prior to July 21

Overview of Plan (6/28/20)

At their June 23 meeting, the School Board reached consensus on a plan to offer students a choice in how they return to school in August for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. The plan offers families two choices: 

One day each week will be set aside for teacher planning and intervention support for some students in either scenario. The plan includes increased in-person or synchronous instruction for students with disabilities and English Language Learners.  New instructional content will be offered to all students and student work will be graded.  Attendance will be required.     

If there is a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus that requires a closure of schools or an individual school, all students would participate in online distance learning. Students would receive four days of synchronous instruction and one day of asynchronous learning with this model.

State, CDC, and Fairfax County Health Department guidance will inform future changes that allow for additional student capacity and changes to health and safety protocols as social distancing requirements are eased. 

When do I need to submit my enrollment form and indicate which option I choose for my child?

The enrollment form was due Wednesday, July 15.

What are the options for parents if they do not want their child to return to a building this fall? (7/10/20)

Parents have the option of enrolling their child in distance learning full-time for the 2020-2021 school year. This can be done if there is a medical need for the student, a health need for someone in the household, or based on parent preference. Under this model, students will receive four days of synchronous instruction from home and one day of asynchronous instruction. 

Programs and course offerings in this model may be limited and FCPS cannot guarantee the availability of all programs due to scheduling constraints. The full-time online program may also include larger class sizes to maximize student course selections and to maximize the number of students able to attend in-school instruction under social distancing guidelines. 

To appropriately staff schools and create schedules for students, parents must make this election by July 15. 

Will families have the option of changing their child’s placement from face-to-face to online or vice versa at any point during the year? (6/28/20- updated 7/17/20) 

Parents and caregivers need to commit to one of these options for the entire 2020-21 school year for each child. We recognize it is difficult to make a year-long commitment without being able to forecast the public health situation. The year-long commitment is needed to successfully staff both virtually and in-person instruction. If health conditions improve that would allow FCPS to resume in-person instruction for all students, we would reassess FCPS’s operating status at that time.

What outreach and education will the district be doing to make sure parents can make informed decisions for next year? (7/17/20) 

FCPS will be sending messages to parents via email and text message in English and the top 8 languages (Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese) through eNotify. FCPS will also utilize social media, newsletters, printed flyers, and the website which features a translation button allowing the user to select their language.

The Office of Communication and Community Relations is coordinating with Instructional Services to also communicate information about the upcoming school year by sending a letter via the postal service to all parents, including new parents who have registered their students.

Visit the Return to School website for additional details about upcoming townhalls and other events.  

Where can I find links to the town halls Dr. Brabrand has done? (7/17/20)

Town hall recordings are available at the return to school website

If a student enrolled in the virtual program moves during the year, will they continue to access the instruction from the same school or will they need to enroll in the school based on their new address? (7/17/20) 

Students who move during the school year in FCPS should enroll at their new base school even when enrolled virtually.  Students who move outside of Fairfax County should enroll in the school system that serves their new residence even when they are currently enrolled virtually.

If parents have joint custody of their children, do they have the option of picking different options (face-to-face and online) for the days the child is with them? (7/17/20) 

Each student is assigned to one school based on their residential boundary and registered by one enrolling parent.  As a student still attends the same school even while living in two locations with different custodial parents, only one curriculum option can be chosen for each student.

Will students in AAP and honors courses be separated in both virtual and in-person? (7/10/20)

In middle school it is possible to combine the AAP and honors students in the same class.  Level IV eligible students will have access to Level IV curriculum.

Will students use locker rooms to change for Health and PE? (7/10/20) 

No, locker rooms will remain closed and students will need to come to school dressed for activity.

If the health conditions worsen, how will things change?

Students may have to move from in-person learning to online learning at some point in the year if health data and recommendations from the Fairfax County Health Department necessitate closing an individual school or multiple schools.

FCPS will regularly monitor developments with Fairfax County Health Department authorities regarding cases, exposures, and hospitalizations that might require a change in school operating status.

If there is a diagnosis of COVID-19 in a school building, what will happen?

FCPS will work closely with the Fairfax County Health Department to determine the appropriate next steps if there is a COVID-19 diagnosis in a school. The response to an individual case will depend largely on the circumstances surrounding the case and contact(s) the individual had within the school setting.

Class Size

How many students will be in a classroom in the fall in the in-person model?

It depends on the physical size of the classroom and ability to socially distance based on Health Department and CDC guidance (currently 6 feet). While an average size classroom may be able to accommodate 12-15 students with social distancing in place, classroom sizes vary and some classes will have fewer students while others may have a greater number of students.

How will schools split their student population for in-person learning days? (6/28/20)

In order to support families’ childcare needs, FCPS will work to provide families with children in different grades and different schools with consistent schedules for in-school and at-home learning days. For in-person instruction, the school’s population will be split based on alphabet by last name to the greatest extent possible. For siblings at different schools and/or with different last names, adjustments will be made to allow families to have the same schedule for their children’s in-school attendance, whenever possible. At the elementary level, further consideration outside of alphabet by last name may be given to class assignments to meet the needs of individual students and create balanced classes.

Will the online curriculum be the same as the in-person curriculum? (6/29/20)

FCPS is currently revising curriculum guidance to teachers to address the current teaching and learning conditions.  It is expected that all students enrolled in the same grade level/course will learn the same identified essential standards during SY2020-2021. There will be learning tasks that take different forms due to students learning in a variety of settings: in-person, at home direct/synchronous instruction, and independent/asynchronous instruction but the expected outcome will be the same. 

Will students have to change elective course selections? (6/29/20)

While we will do our best to honor student course requests, there may be circumstances where it is not possible to offer a student a specific elective course based on the teacher availability in an online or face-to-face setting and/or other hard schedule conflicts. 

How will immersion classes be organized? (6/28/20)

Students enrolled in immersion classes will receive their English language classes and their world language classes each day that they are in-person and will work asynchronously on the days they are learning at home.

We are planning to continue offering our immersion programs to students from base schools and those that have been pupil-placed via the immersion lottery.

How will immersion programs be managed this year? Will students enrolled in an immersion program outside of their base school be required to return to their base school if the program is not offered for the 2020-2021 school year? (updated 7/17/20)

FCPS is intending to continue to offer immersion programs in the fall.  If a family chooses not to participate in Immersion due to the challenges associated with the two models, they will need to return to their base school and work with the principal to determine if they could enter the program for the following school year.  

If, after collecting information from families and teachers, a school is unable to offer the program to the student, he/she would not be required to return to their base school.  They would remain at their Immersion school, participate in instruction in all English, and resume Immersion when normal conditions return.

Will IB Diploma Candidates have guaranteed access to the classes needed for fulfilling their requirements? (7/10/20)

IB courses that are needed in order to complete IB diploma and certificate requirements will be offered. Due to the unique IB offerings, it may be necessary to offer a hybrid section in which teachers teach in-person and online students simultaneously or may require schools to partner to share staffing across schools.

Are there any face-to-face courses that FCPS will not be able to offer this year based on programming or safety demands? (7/10/20)

Schools will offer courses/programs in-person based on student enrollment requests and availability of in-person teachers with the exception of elementary chorus as outlined above. Guidance on any necessary instructional modifications for health and safety reasons will be provided to schools.

What are the options for parents if they do not want their child to return to a building this fall?

Parents have the option of enrolling their child in distance learning full-time for the 2020-2021 school year. This can be done if there is a medical need for the student, a health need for someone in the household, or based on parent preference. Under this model, students will receive four days of synchronous instruction from home and one day of asynchronous instruction.

Programs and course offerings in this model may be limited and FCPS cannot guarantee the availability of all programs due to scheduling constraints. The full-time online program may also include larger class sizes to maximize student course selections and to maximize the number of students able to attend in-school instruction under social distancing guidelines.

To appropriately staff schools and create schedules for students, parents needed to submit their preference by July 15. 

How should parents notify their child’s school if they want to attend the in-school or online program for the 2020-21 school year?

All FCPS parents were asked to submit an intent form to indicate their desire for their child to participate in the in-school or full-time online program by July 15, 2020. If the intent form was not returned, the student will be automatically be enrolled for in-person instruction for the year. 

Will newly registering families have the option of selecting between online and face-to-face instruction? (6/28/20) 

Parents of new students (PreK/Preschool/K-12, and rising kindergarten) will receive information about the plans for next year during the week of June 29 using addresses that were pulled June 25.  Families that enroll after June 25, 2020 will need to be provided with information on the two options as part of the school registration process so that students may be assigned to appropriate classes. 

Will teachers and students be assigned to different schools under this model (virtually or in person)? (7/2/20)
 
One of the primary goals in the FCPS Reopening School Plan is to provide students with choice in learning format (in-person or online). The default rule will be to have students receive instruction at their base schools (either in-person or online). In select instances where student preferences cannot be met at their base schools, we may explore coordinating scheduling across schools in the division. However, no definitive plans have been developed for this yet and any decision to move forward with this approach would only be taken after the first phase of base school scheduling has been completed.  

Meals

Will school lunches be available to students on days when they are not physically in the building?

If our waiver to provide students take home meals for the next day is approved by the State, students attending the in-person instruction will have the option of picking up “grab and go” meals on the days they attend school, for the next day, so they can have a school breakfast and lunch five days a week. Food & Nutrition Services staff is exploring options to provide a “grab and go” meal distribution to students that opt for all online learning.

Where will students be eating meals? (7/2/20)
 
Food and Nutrition Services is currently exploring meal service options in collaboration with school administrators. School populations and their participation will be the main drivers of our meal service possibilities - impacting how meals are served and where meals are consumed.  

 

Multiple Children

I have children in multiple schools. If I opt for the in-person option, will they be attending school on the same days?

Student schedules will be assigned alphabetically to support families with students in multiple grades. For any individual situations (example: siblings with different last names) please contact your child’s school who will work with you to address the scheduling conflict.

Am I able to request a change to the in-person day(s) that my child is assigned to attend school (my child was assigned to the Tuesday/ Thursday group but I need them to go to school on Wednesdays and Fridays)?

Parents with hardships will be addressed on a case-by-case basis at the school level, whenever possible. FCPS cannot guarantee individual requests (beyond ensuring students in the same family have the same schedule) can be accommodated given the strict capacity issues for classrooms and buses. 

Health, Safety, and Mental Health

What measures are being put into place to protect student and staff health and safety? (6/24/20- updated 7/30/20)

FCPS is working closely with Fairfax County Health officials to address student and staff health and safety. FCPS will use a daily health screening process that requires parents to self-report their child is asymptomatic and has not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. All staff will be required to self-report being asymptomatic and without exposure to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms when reporting to worksites.

Face coverings will be worn by staff and students (age two and older, with limited exceptions). Face coverings will be provided to students as needed and FCPS will ensure all staff has the necessary equipment based on their role (ex: masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, etc.).

Schools will ensure student and staff groupings are as static as possible. Desks will be separated by up to a six feet distance and will face the same direction and students will eat meals in classrooms whenever possible.

Cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be intensified. There will be daily sanitizing of high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, fixtures, etc.) with medical grade sanitizing solution. In addition, there will be more frequent monitoring and cleaning of restrooms throughout the day and contracted cleaning services will be available as needed. Additional breaks will be provided for hand washing to ensure students wash their hands for at least 20 seconds after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; before eating; and upon entering classrooms. If soap and water are not readily available, sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will be provided.

FCPS will limit building access, including, restricted building access for visitors. 

Where can I find additional information about health and safety guidance? (7/17/20)

An FCPS health and safety guidance document, created in collaboration with the Fairfax County Health has been posted online. The document includes information about health and safety protocols for schools and classrooms and is available online at: https://www.fcps.edu/blog/student-health-and-safety-guidance-document

Will there be temperature checks for students before they get on the bus and for students and staff each day? (6/28/20)

FCPS has convened a work group to determine the best way to screen students and staff each day. FCPS continues to work closely with the Fairfax County Health Department and Virginia Department of Health to develop a screening tool. The screening tool may include temperature checks.

How will health screening be conducted during face-to-face instruction? (7/17/20- updated 7/30/20) 

Parents/guardians of students participating in face-to-face will be required to complete a Parent/Guardian Health Screening Commitment Form.  The Health Screening Commitment form indicates the parental/guardian’s agreement and commitment to complete a daily health screening each morning, prior to sending the student to school. The daily health screening is done on an honor basis. Students are to be kept home if they are sick. 

Students whose parent/ guardian has not completed, signed and returned the Health Screening Commitment form to the school will be required to have their temperature taken daily by the school staff until the form is received.

Will there be any COVID-19 testing requirements for staff and students participating in in-person instruction? (7/10/20) 

There will not be a requirement for COVID-19 testing for staff and students in in-person instruction. 

What health data (threshold or other indicator) would require FCPS to open with everyone in a virtual capacity or transition to virtual at some point during the year? (7/17/20) 

FCPS is working collaboratively with the Fairfax County Health Department regarding thresholds/indicators.

Under what circumstances would a student or staff member be required to quarantine at home due to exposure to COVID-19?  How does contract investigation work when a COVID-19 case is determined? (7/10/20- updated 7/17/20)

Below are links from the Virginia Department of Health that outline the process of contact tracing and investigation.

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in school, the Health Department will work closely with school administrators to determine a course of action for the school. The process will be as follows:

  • Isolation of the individual

  • The student (and their parents/guardians) or staff member will be interviewed to determine possible exposures inside and outside of the school

  • The student/staff will be isolated at home and the Health Department will monitor them daily

  • Identification of all who had close contact (defined as 6 feet for greater than 15 minutes) with the COVID-19 positive student(s)/staff and quarantine them.

  • Each close contact will be interviewed for symptoms, asked to get tested between days 5-7 after the exposure, and will be monitored by the health department for the duration of their quarantine

Additional information can be found here.

Will parents and staff be notified of a positive COVID-19 case in their school? (7/17/20)

FCPS will follow the guidelines and protocols of the Health Department. More information can be found here

What is the protocol if a student/ staff member has been exposed to COVID-19 outside of school? (7/17/20)

The student/staff member would be advised to seek medical assistance from their healthcare provider to determine the risk associated with the exposure. More information can be found here

What will the protocols be if someone in the school community (student, teacher, staff member, sibling that does not attend the school, parent) tests positive for COVID-19? (7/10/20)

The Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) will complete a contact investigation of individuals with confirmed cases. FCPS will act in accordance to the findings of the FCHD investigations as it relates to quarantine individuals, closing a particular class or a school. 

Will additional nurses be added to schools? (7/10/20)

Public Health Nurses (PHN) are funded and employed by Fairfax County Government. The FCPS School Board approved providing funding for 5 additional PHN positions this coming year. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has a multi-year plan to increase the number of PHNs that support schools.

Will there be any facility enhancements in schools or on buses to support social distancing and student and staff health? (6/29/20) 

Bus seats will be labeled for students to easily identify seating arrangements/ assignments on the school bus.  Bus drivers and attendants will be supplied with a face mask, face shield, gloves and gowns (for students requiring more hands-on support).  Student bus riders will be expected to wear a face mask as developmentally appropriate. The bus driver will supply students with a mask if they do not have one.  The bus will be cleaned daily with frequently touched surfaces wiped after each school served.

FCPS is implementing interim changes to key aspects of our facilities.  Among them are the addition of Health Department approved sneeze guards at customer service counters to provide an extra level of protection for the public and staff.  Public health signage will also be posted throughout schools and facilities, including special provisions for entryways and elevator capacity.

How will rooms be configured for social distancing? (7/1/20)
Consistent with CDC guidance, desks will need to be placed so seating is 6 feet apart and facing the same direction. Tables can be used by seating students only on one side of tables, spacing seating 6 feet apart.

 
How will cleaning be handled? (7/10/20)

The cleaning plan uses current daytime and evening custodial staff. Custodians will focus on monitoring and cleaning restrooms throughout the day. Daytime custodians will also focus cleaning on high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, fixtures, etc.).  Additional deep cleaning will be provided by evening custodians (cafeterias and hallways will be scrubbed every evening instead of weekly). To ensure this work can be performed, custodians will have reduced grounds maintenance (interior courtyards only); this will free up additional time for cleaning and sanitizing during the day. Additionally, some daily cleaning activities (dusting, vacuuming, burnishing, etc.) will be deferred. Contracted cleaning services will be available to provide response cleaning if needed.
 

What supplies will be given to schools to prepared them for reopening? (7/10/20- updated 7/30/20)

Warehouse delivery of the following items has begun. Supplies will be delivered to schools and administrative sites through early August. Replenishment after school starts will be available for purchase through warehouse inventory.

 

Cleaning Supplies

Use

Allocation

Delivery Time Frame

Hand Sanitizer - individual use bottles (400ML)

All Schools and Administrative Centers

1 per employee

Completed

Hand Sanitizer - automatic dispensing stands for building/large room entrances

All schools and administrative centers

16 per HS

8 per MS

4 per ES

July 31

Hand Sanitizer - 1-gallon pump bottles

All schools

1 per classroom

August 1-15

Spray bottles and Virex disinfectant with paper towels

All schools

1 per classroom

August 1-15

 

Virex is a one-step, disinfectant cleaner concentrate providing broad spectrum disinfection at 1:256 dilution. Virex is used in healthcare and other facilities where cleaning and prevention of cross-contamination are critical.  It is effective against bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal and kills MRSA and VRE.  Virex meets bloodborne pathogen standards for decontaminating blood and body fluids.

 

Protective Gear

Use

Allocation

Delivery Time Frame

Cloth Masks

 

All Schools and Administrative Centers

1 per employee

 

1 per student

Before July 17

 

Before August 15

Disposable Masks

For students and building visitors who do not bring their own

All Schools and Administrative Centers

Each School:

Adult Size 200

Youth Size 200

August 1-15

Gloves

 

Custodians, Bus Drivers, Tsspecs, Food Service

As specified by the program office.

August 1-15

Face shields

Special Education staff and students, and bus drivers/attendants

As specified by the program office.

August 1-15

Gowns

Laundry service through Cintas will be provided.

Special Education teachers, and bus drivers/attendants

As specified by the program office.

August 15-30

Temporal thermometers

All Schools

1 thermometer for every 500 students.

August 1-15

 

Plexi-Glass Shields

Use

Allocation

Free-standing individual counter shields will be provided to schools and offices.

All Schools and Offices

2 per school initially

More as available

Ceiling and wall mounted counter shields will be installed in main offices and reception areas.

All Schools and Offices

Min 1 per school

Main office

Sneeze guards for teacher desks will be reviewed for potential next steps based upon principal feedback and funding.

All teacher desks

TBD

Is school ventilation adequately monitored? (7/10/20- updated 7/16/20)

FCPS follows WHO, CDC and Virginia Health Department guidance to reduce the risk for exposure to coronavirus. Schools are designed to ventilate outdoor air throughout the day to reduce the buildup of pollutants and odors.  Maintenance staff routinely conduct scheduled preventative maintenance on all mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems, to ensure the systems are clean and working optimally.  FCPS also follows guidance provided by industry experts.  The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE, has stated that the operation of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures of SARS-CoV-2. Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air. 

Custodians and operating engineers conduct building checks to identify areas of concern (ex. - checking exhaust fans in restrooms for proper operation).  In areas where an indoor air quality, environmental health specialists conduct assessments, identify deficiencies, and follow-through with corrective actions until resolved. When a significant concern is identified, high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems are implemented to enhance air cleaning.  FCPS works closely with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) to stay informed of the most up-to-date scientific knowledge and data available to help staff and the community better prepare for returning to school.

 

In-Person and Full-Time Online Instruction

How are the full-time online instruction and in-person instructional programs similar and different? (6/28/20) 

 

Full-Time Online Instruction

In-Person Instruction in FCPS School Building with Social Distancing 

Schedule

All Grade Levels: Four days of direct/interactive instruction (synchronous) per week and one day of independent learning (asynchronous) per week.

Elementary School students receive approximately 2.5 - 3.5 hours per day of direct/interactive instruction (synchronous). Students also receive specialized instruction, as needed, such as ESOL or special education services. The amount of special education service will be determined by IEP teams. Considerations will be given to individualized student needs.

Middle and High School students will follow the school’s daily bell schedule.

All Grade Levels: At least two full days of instruction in person at school each week. More in-person instruction is possible based on the number of students who choose full-time virtual or if community health conditions and guidance change. 

 

Students will be engaged in independent (asynchronous) learning on the days they are not in the school building.

Courses

  1. All courses required by Virginia standards of learning are offered.
  2. There is no guarantee that all programs or elective courses will be available.
  3. General classroom instruction at all levels will feature whole group, small group, and individual support.
  4. Specialized instruction will be provided, as appropriate, such as ESOL or special education services required by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students with disabilities.
  5. Eligible students will have access to the Advanced Academic Program (AAP) Level IV curriculum.
  1. All courses required by Virginia standards of learning are offered.
  2. There is no guarantee that all programs or elective courses will be available.
  3. General classroom instruction at all levels will feature whole group, small group, and individual support.
  4. Specialized instruction will be provided, as appropriate, such as ESOL or special education services required by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students with disabilities.
  5. Eligible students will have access to the Advanced Academic Program (AAP) Level IV curriculum.

Food Services

Meal service options are under development and an announcement will follow.

Meals will be available during the week. Grab and go meals will be available on days that students are not in school.

Transportation

Not applicable

Transportation will be available.

Health Protocols

Not applicable

Staff will guide students on health and safety protocols, following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. All staff and students must wear face coverings (as developmentally appropriate) in accordance with CDC guidelines. Schools will provide masks to students unable to provide their own. Six feet of social distancing will be maintained whenever possible.

Will students on full-time virtual have more direct, synchronous instruction than students in-person? (7/10/20)

For middle and high school, the bell schedules for in-person and virtual will be aligned. For elementary school, the instructional time allocations are being finalized. Virtual students will have direct time with teachers and asynchronous activity four days of the week. Additional models that include possible office hours and access to teachers for in-person students on at-home learning days are being developed. 

How do families notify FCPS of their choice for full-time online or in-person instruction for their child(ren) for the 2020-21 school year? (7/10/20)

Communication was sent to parents/guardians via email and a mailed letter to the address in SIS for the enrolling parent. Translated letters in the top eight languages were mailed home as appropriate based on the home language in SIS. Parents were asked to complete the enrollment form and select the program option that works best for their child or children. Parents may access the form by visiting https://www.fcps.edu/enroll2020. If a parent does not have access to the internet, the letter will instruct the parent to call their child’s school.

This form is accessible through mobile devices. Translations of the form are available using the language selection option on the web page. 

Directions for parents to select the option that best fits their student’s health and welfare concerns are below:
•    STEP 1: Access the online form at: https://www.fcps.edu/enroll2020 
•    STEP 2: Login with your child’s Student ID and either the enrolling parent’s email address or phone number on file in the FCPS Student Information System (SIS).
•    STEP 3: Make your selections and finish by clicking the “Submit Form” button at the bottom of the form. 
•    STEP 4: Check your email receipt of your intent with additional information about the enrollment process and a link to change your selection if desired.
•    STEP 5 Repeat this process for each of your children attending school in FCPS for school year 2020-21.
The deadline to complete the form was July 15, 2020. 

If a family does not indicate their preference for face-to-face or online learning by the deadline, what will happen? (7/10/20)
Students who do not have a preference indicated by the deadline will be enrolled in the in-person option. This information was communicated in the letter shared with families outlining the choice. 


What should a family do if they do not know their child’s Student ID number to fill out the school enrollment option form? (7/10/20)
Parents should contact the school their child will be attending for help with obtaining their child’s Student ID number from the Student Information System (SIS). Schools should have a staff person available who can look up the Student ID number in SIS for the parent so that the parent can complete the school enrollment option form to meet the July 15th deadline.

Why can’t FCPS provide 5 days a week of in-person instruction? (7/17/20)

The Reopening of Schools plans were developed in alignment with CDC and VDOE guidelines. FCPS does not have the facility space to have all students in our school buildings 5 days a week with the current (Phase III) social distancing guidance.

Will middle and high school students attend all of their classes or follow a block schedule (A/B day)? (7/17/20)

In-person and virtual schedules will follow a common A/B rotation each week: AABB. Students will have four classes per day with the second block on one day (3rd or 4th period, school decision to choose 3rd or 4th) designated for SEL/advisory/intervention. For in-person days, students with last names of A-K will attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays while students with last names L-Z will attend on Wednesdays and Fridays. Schedules for families with different last names will default to the in-person days of the eldest child.

Two different ways to visualize the in-person and virtual schedules for A/B block are below.

Day

In-Person Alpha

Online

Periods

Monday

Asynchronous/Teacher Planning/Intervention

Tuesday

A-K

A-Z

1,3,5,7

Wednesday

L-Z

A-Z

1,3,5,7

Thursday

A-K

A-Z

2,4,6,8

Friday

L-Z

A-Z

2,4,6,8

 

Monday 

Tuesday 

Wednesday 

Thursday 

Friday

Intervention Block or Online Office Hours  AM

 

Teacher/Team Planning PM

Group 1: A-K  

In School 

(1,3,5,7)

Group 1: A-K    

Online/Async

 (1,3,5,7)

Group 1: A-K  

In School 

(2,4,6,8)

Group 1: A-K

Online/Async

(2,4,6,8)

Group 2: L-Z Online/Async (1,3,5,7)

Group 2: L-Z 

In School 

(1,3,5,7)

Group 2: L-Z 

Online/Async

(2,4,6,8)

Group 2: L-Z

In School 

(2,4,6,8)

Virtual: A-Z

(1,3,5,7)

Virtual: A-Z

(1,3,5,7)

Virtual: A-Z

(2,4,6,8)

Virtual: A-Z

(2,4,6,8)

 

Masks

Will the use of masks be required? (6/24/20- updated 7/30/20)

Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings including on bus transportation to and from school. Students requesting an exemption from this requirement for any reason shall submit a physician’s statement that not wearing such a face covering is medically necessary to the school.

What should individuals be looking for when purchasing or making a face covering? (7/10/20- updated 7/30/20)

The CDC site repeatedly encourages the use of face coverings so that surgical masks and N-95s can be reserved for medical professionals to conserve on PPE shortages. While face coverings don't offer the same type of protection as medical grade masks, they are recommended as they do provide a level of protection for the wearer.

Cotton that is tightly woven is a very good choice, should be at least two layers thick, provide breathability, and should fit snugly yet comfortable against the side of the face. They should be secured with ties or ear loops and also be washable and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

Please click on the below links for additional information: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html​ 

https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/cloth-face-covers/

SACC or Childcare

What will SACC be offering for 2020-21? (7/10/20)

FCPS continues to work closely with Fairfax County’s Office for Children to determine child care services available to families.  Currently, SACC is committed to providing before and after school care for students.  If Fairfax County makes a change in the operating hours of SACC, Fairfax County in conjunction with FCPS will inform the community. 

Will childcare programs be available to students on days when they are not attending FCPS? (7/10/20)

Fairfax County is working with regulated providers to expand childcare services to school aged children. Families can find licensed community childcare through the Fairfax County Office for Children’s Child Care search:  https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ofcsearch/standardsearch/childcaresearch

 

Transportation

How will buses to and from school be addressed with social distancing in place?

Whenever possible, we ask parents to provide transportation for their student to and from school. Bus capacity will be significantly reduced to ensure social distancing measures are in place. Students will board the bus according to a seat assignment. Students (as developmentally appropriate) and staff will be required to wear a face covering while on the bus. Cloth face coverings will be provided to students if they are needed. Bus drivers and attendants will also wear cloth face coverings or face shields. Bus drivers will perform wipe downs of all frequently touched surfaces following every school delivery.

What are the plans for transportation? (7/10/20)

Transportation will be provided to all eligible riders according to the school assigned day schedule.  Bus drivers and attendants will be provided cloth face coverings, a clear face shield, and, as needed, gloves and paper gowns. Drivers will have disposable face masks for students who do not have a face covering and will sanitize the bus with FCPS approved spray cleaner following each school delivery. Bus arrivals and dismissals must be staggered, requiring additional time to allow for on-site social distancing and bus cleaning. Students from neighboring districts attending Thomas Jefferson will not be provided FCPS transportation. 

How will High School Academy transportation be handled? (7/17/20)

Transportation schedules for high school academies will be dependent on the number of students requiring transportation and the availability of busses. High school academies are building schedules that complement the common high school bell schedule and offer the possibility of transportation during the midday when busses may be available. Further details about transportation will be shared when available.