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FCCPS Dials Back To All-Virtual for the Coming Week
FCCPS Dials Back To All-Virtual for the Coming Week
Dr. Peter J. Noonan, Superintendent of Schools
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dear FCCPS Families & Staff Members,

This is not the letter I wanted to send to our community the afternoon before Thanksgiving. This morning we received updates from the Virginia Department of Health on the COVID metrics for our region and school division. We have been monitoring the impact of COVID across the nation and increases here in our home community. The data has not been moving in a good direction for several weeks, and today the regional metric shifted out of “moderate” and into “high” and “at substantial transmission” for the region. 

These increases in the data, coupled with the increase in transmission rates in our home community of Falls Church, are now impacting our schools. Over the last 7 days, we have seen a marked increase in families experiencing exposures, positive tests impacting our community, contact tracings, and students/staff with COVID-Like symptoms being tested. We are also facing the potential impacts of exposures due to holiday travel and family gatherings. We saw increases post-labor day, post-Halloween, and post-election. There is no reason not to anticipate the same occurrence over Thanksgiving, especially in light of today’s local/regional data. 

Therefore, FCCPS will remain 100% virtual for all students and staff for the week of Nov. 30th - Dec. 4th to ensure everyone has the appropriate time to quarantine after the holiday. There will be no daycare for FCCPS students or supervised virtual learning for students of staff. Sports and activities are also canceled. This is a strategic effort to mitigate disease spread in our schools and community. It is more vital than ever that we flatten the curve and commit to mitigation strategies. If we do this now, we hope to see our local data shift in a better direction next week.

We have always been committed to the health and safety of our staff, students, and their families. This includes our recognition that our mitigation efforts and small cohorts of students have allowed us to maintain our reopening efforts in the face of increasing rates of cases. We maintain our commitment to our cohorts of special populations and our youngest learners following VDOE guidance. 

If the metrics improve over the next week, we plan to reopen for in-person learning on Tuesday, December 8th, for the following groups of students:

  • Preschool students with IEP’s and VPI students who have been attending as part of first and second waves since October following their current schedule

  • K-12 Special Education and ESOL students who were attending as a part of first and second waves in October following their current schedule

  • All Kindergarten and Third-grade students following their current AM/PM schedule in hybrid

  • First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth-grade students will remain in the virtual setting through the Winter Holiday

  • Sports may resume regular practices and training in accordance with VHSL guidelines

  • Secondary students (Grades 6-12) will remain virtual as planned through the winter break

If we return to school with the limited students indicated above, and your student is currently a hybrid or full-day in-person student, and you wish to move to all virtual through winter break, please email your principal and let them know.

If the metrics do not improve in our data review next Wednesday, FCCPS will remain all virtual until after winter break.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we make these very difficult decisions in the face of a global crisis. We will continue to make the best decisions we can, with the information we have, at the time we receive it, and with the well being of our students and staff at the forefront.

Please have a safe, enjoyable, and unique Thanksgiving with those you care about most.

Sincerely,

Peter