Return to School

We began the 2020-21 school year with virtual learning for all students on September 8. We are bringing back groups of students as we continue to meet the health and operational metrics that have been established for in-person instruction. 

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. 

We are bringing back groups of students as we continue to meet the health and operational metrics that have been established for in-person instruction including low transmission rates, mitigation strategies, planned response for confirmed cases, and availability of teachers and staff.

Breakfast and lunch meals are available at no-cost to any student who attends in-person instruction at a school Monday-Friday.

Timeline for Returning to In-Person Instruction

The following cohorts will be returning to in-person instruction (start dates below are tentative and subject to change):    

Group 1

October 5, 2020 

Specialized high school career preparatory programs 

Group 2

October 19, 2020 

Preschool Autism Classrooms (PAC) 

Early Childhood Class-based (ECCB)

Specialized high school career preparatory programs 

Group 3

October 26, 2020 – tentative return date

Elementary Comprehensive Services Sites (CSS) 

Key Center 

Kilmer Center 

Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) 

Recently-Arrived English Learners (ELs) in Grades 3-12 

Specialized high school career preparatory programs.

Adapted Curriculum:

  • Enhanced Autism Classrooms (EAC), including students accessing the general education curriculum
  • Intellectual Disabilities (ID) K-12 Classrooms
  • Intellectual Disabilities Severe (IDS) K-12 Classrooms
  • Students receiving Noncategorical Elementary (NCE) services who are instructed with the adapted curriculum in a special education classroom       

Group 4

October 26, 2020  – tentative return date

Burke School (Elementary Program only)

Specialized high school career preparatory programs 

Group 5:

November 16 – tentative date

Early Head Start (infants and toddlers) 

PreK (three and four year olds) 


Intensive Support Needs (students instructed w/ modified curriculum for at least 50% of their core courses and instructed in special education settings 50% or more of their instructional day) 

Specialized Center-based Programs - Special Education: 

Vision Program @ Robinson

Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) Programs at Canterbury Woods ES, Frost MS and Woodson HS - students with 50% or more of core content areas in Special Education settings

Group 6:

November 30 - tentative date

Grades 1-2

Specialized Career Centers - Special Education at Davis Center and Pulley Center w/ target learner profile 

Group 7:

January 4 – tentative date

Grades 3-6,

Secondary Public Day Programs—Special Education at Burke MS, Cedar Lane, and Quander Road

Davis Center and Pulley Center (students w/ target learner profile) 

Group 8:

January 26 – tentative date

Middle and High School students in Grades 6-12*

Davis Center and Pulley Career Centers 

*Middle School Students in Grade 6 at Holmes, Poe, and Glasgow will be included in this group

Background Information

At the School Board work session on Thursday, October 14, Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand provided a Return to School update (PDF, 43 pages) including the following: 

  • Review FCPS Operational Levels
  • Provide FCPS Readiness Levels associated with FCPS Health Metrics, School-based Health Metrics, Operational Metrics, and Student and Safety
  • Provide update on COVID Case Notification and Reporting Share
  • Tentative Phase-in Schedule for Remaining Student Groups
  • Discuss Concurrent Instructional Model

FCPS Superintendent Presents Phased Return to School Plan (9/24)

Read the October 23 Message from the Superintendent.

View the October 19 Town Hall.   

Weekly Learning Schedule for Virtual Instruction

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. 

News for Parents

October 26 - Get information on the upcoming early release day and student holidays, the Return to School plan, a parent check-in survey, and the 2020 Principal and Teachers of the Year in this week's issue of Return to School News. 

Previous Issues: October 19 | October 12 | October 5 | September 28 | September 21 |  September 14September 8August 31 | August 24 | August 17 | August 10 | August 4

Resources for Families


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