Returning strong and staying strong all year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated health guidance on February 25, 2022. The guidance includes new metrics for determining COVID-19 community levels as well as what health and safety measures should be considered for each community level. Based on this new guidance, Fairfax County’s current COVID-19 community level is low. 

Universal masking is not recommended during low community levels. Beginning March 1, masks will now be optional for FCPS students, staff, visitors, and volunteers.

Masking requirements will remain in place after March 1 for HeadStart and Early HeadStart students ages 2+ and staff (federal requirement).


Transition to Mask Optional

IEP/504 Accommodations for Students Regarding Masks

Requests for distancing from unmasked students should be considered on a case-by-case basis via an IEP or 504 meeting for eligible students with special needs. The IEP team and 504 Committees have the responsibility for considering accommodations based on a student’s individualized needs to ensure the student has access to a free appropriate public education.


Student Supports

Student Support Services (psychologists, social worker, counselors) have developed resources and lessons that can be used to reinforce relationship skills and a supportive classroom environment.

Students should not be separated or grouped based on mask preferences.

Staff will respond to instances of bullying, as appropriate, as outlined in the SR&R.


Contact Tracing/Case Notification

The Virginia Department of Health no longer requires schools to contact trace individual COVID-19 cases. Contract tracing will occur if there is an outbreak. Families and staff will get a daily notification if a COVID-19 case has been reported to the school that day. The daily communication is for information purposes only. Friday notifications will be discontinued.


Quarantine and Isolation

Schools will not direct students to pause or quarantine unless identified as a close contact during a school-based outbreak. Families are asked to follow the quarantine/isolation guidance outlined in the Care Room/School Health Room/Responding to Illness section of the Health and Safety Guidance Document

Staff should refer to resources on the Employee Hub for guidelines to return to work.



StreamIN/CheckIN will continue for students in isolation following a COVID diagnosis.



The Test-To-Stay program allows students to remain in school as long as they test negative for the first five days following a close contact exposure. 

Beginning March 14, Test to Stay will also be available at every school in the event of an outbreak.

  • Families will be given information and will decide if they want to participate.
  • Testing occurs at home through a self-test (BinaxNOW home test kits).
  • Students must wear a mask to school during the Test to Stay timeline in order to participate.


Large Gatherings

Large gatherings are now allowed in accordance with CDC recommendations.



COVID-19 vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness. Receiving a booster shot when eligible increases an individual's protection. FCPS encourages everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and boosted.

  • School-age children can receive their primary series of the Pfizer vaccine. 
  • Adults and children 12 and over are eligible for booster doses. 
  • Children ages six months to five years may be eligible for vaccination soon.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination and where to find a vaccination clinic on the Fairfax County Health Department’s website. 


Monitor Symptoms and Stay Home When Sick

Everyone should be checking for symptoms daily and stay home if sick or experiencing symptoms. Additional details are in the Health and Safety Guidance Document.


Additional Layered Prevention Strategies

Adherence to our layered prevention strategies has kept all schools open for safe, in-person learning since day one of the 2021-22 school year. For more on the following strategies not outlined in this document, visit the Layered Prevention Strategies webpage:

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
  • Ventilation