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Return to School Timeline and Revised Metrics and Measures - Important Information
Return to School Timeline and Revised Metrics and Measures - Important Information
Dr. Peter J. Noonan, Superintendent
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Dear FCCPS Families,

I hope you all are enjoying your winter break with some great family time. I want to make sure you receive this update regarding the return to school beginning next week. ALL students are slated to return in the month of January. Throughout the pandemic, we have experienced ups and downs that have created hardship for each of us. All along, we have relied on three main “Drivers” of our return:

  1. Health Data
  2. Ability to Maintain Consistent Operations
  3. Academics/Instruction

Currently, we are experiencing significant issues with “Driver #2”. In the past week, operations have been significantly impacted by COVID positive cases and subsequent quarantines. Many of our support personnel charged with maintaining, cleaning, and disinfecting our buildings are unable to work. This team of people is critically important in preparing our facilities to open and maintaining buildings when students and staff are there. Consequently, we have had to make some adjustments to start dates. We plan to return students in phases beginning on January 5, 2021, consistent with employee capacity to clean our buildings. We will open, starting with the smallest cohort and lead up to the largest cohort.

The following are the student cohorts with the dates and schedules for return:

Student Cohort Groups 

(Hybrid Instruction Start Date & Schedule Details)

Cohort 1: Special Populations

START DATE: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

PreK VPI & IEP Students (Tuesday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.)

Elementary ASOL/Life Skills, K-5 SPED Students with 50%/Greater on IEP & HI/VI/TBI Students

(Tuesday-Friday, 8:50 a.m. - 11:50 p.m. January 5-8; Return to Pre-Thanksgiving Schedule on 1/12/21 when all elementary students return)

Targeted ESOL Students

----Middle School ESOL (Tuesday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. until all secondary students return on 1/21/21 and move to secondary schedule)

----High School ESOL (Monday & Friday 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.  until all secondary students return 1/21/21)

Secondary ASOL Students (Life Skills)

Attend based on Pre-Thanksgiving schedule Tuesday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Friday 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. until all secondary students return  on 1/21/20

Secondary Therapeutic Classroom Students

(Attend based on Pre-Thanksgiving schedule until all secondary students return on 1/21/21) 

Medical Homebound/ Home Based Students

(Services provided in the home-based model as outlined on plan schedule beginning 1/5/21)

Cohort 2: Elementary/Grades K-5

START DATE: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Elementary Following Pre-Thanksgiving schedule and the FCCPS Elementary Reopening Plan

Cohort 3: Secondary/Grades 6-12

START DATE: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Senior Class ONLY

START DATE: Thursday, January 21, 2021

Grades 6-11

Following the FCCPS Secondary Reopening Plan 

If your student(s) are part of Cohort 1: Special Populations and your family made a personal decision to travel, to engage with large groups of people, to celebrate with those outside of your household or made another decision that could have negative health consequences for those who are not in your family, we respectfully request that your student remain home for one more week and not return until January 12, 2021. This ensures that there is an appropriate time to let any potential exposures and viral issues run their course. This is very important to FCCPS and our community. 

Now more than ever, as we work to restart school and provide stability, we need everyone to be in this together. Please keep up virus mitigation efforts to maintain a “community-wide bubble”. Please remember to conduct the Daily Student Self-Monitoring Health Screening and follow the FCCPS "What to do when..." Guidance each day before sending your student(s) to school. 

Please do not send students to school with symptoms, or if someone in your home is being tested or has tested positive, or if there is any type of potential exposure to anyone in your household. Contact your student’s school immediately if you have any concerns about COVID exposures, illness, or positive test results impacting your family. You can also receive assistance from the Fairfax County Health Department by calling: (703) 267-3511.

In the past month, FCCPS engaged a broad range of educators from our division to work collaboratively as a Health Metrics Task Force. This group worked collaboratively to develop a revised set of measures and metrics regarding schools’ opening and closing. These revised metrics are fully aligned to the CDC School Indicators & Thresholds, which account for local Falls Church City CDC K-12 School Metrics data. We will continue to use the VDH Regional Pandemic Measures that outline the overall composite for regional trend and burden data. 

The metrics for closure and reopening align to the specific Cohorts of students outlined above, allowing us to make good decisions based on the numbers of students we serve, the age of students as it relates to the transmission of the virus, and the regional realities we face. A differentiated set of criteria, driven by the metrics, will determine the mode of instruction for each Cohort, based on the group’s needs. We will update our data dashboard this week to reflect the core indicators from the CDC and VDH regional data so that everyone can see what is happening at a glance. The revised metrics and measures can be found here: FCCPS Health Metrics Dashboard & Guidance.

In summary, our ability to operate, mitigation efforts, rates of transmission in the community, and our instructional programming will continue to be vital components to our ability to stay open.

Thank you so much for your support and patience with FCCPS as we work through this very complex situation. Please welcome in the new year safely. Happy New Year to all!

Sincerely,

Peter