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The Road to Reopening - Aug 7, 2020
The Road to Reopening - Aug 7, 2020
Dr. Peter J. Noonan
Friday, August 07, 2020

Dear FCCPS Families,

Happy Friday. As we close in on the start of the 2020-21 school year we want to start focusing our next few editions of the Road to Reopening to what the day in the life of a student will look like when we open our virtual doors on August 24th. Please take a look at the videos below and the other information provided to help with your family’s planning and preparation for the virtual/distance learning reopening of school.

Instruction

A Day in the Life of an FCCPS Student…

You may be wondering what the “day in the life” of an FCCPS student will be like during the virtual/distance learning reopening. Below you will find links to videos to help you and your student(s) get a better picture of what will happen each day.

Jessie Thackrey Preschool

Mount Daniel Elementary

Thomas Jefferson Elementary 

Mary Ellen Henderson

George Mason High School

How is Instruction Different this Fall than in the Spring?

As we have shared, FCCPS teachers and staff are developing a more robust structured model of online/virtual learning as we reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. We like to call this “FCCPS Virtual 2.0!”  We are firmly committed to providing all of our students with access to equitable learning experiences that are student-focused, interesting and engaging, relevant to students’ lives, and also provide opportunities for choice and voice. We have developed a “quick guide” to our Learning Recovery Plan that includes five components. The link provided will give you a basic overview and understanding of the larger and more formal learning plan. The plan will serve as a guide for how we provide students with differentiated instruction that is responsive to their unique needs. Additionally, the chart below provides an overview of some of the elements that will be added and continue as we reopen on August 24th for virtual/distance learning.

Support for Parents

Parent University 

In order to support parents as you are supporting students at home, FCCPS has added a page about online learning to Parent University. Helping Your Student With Online Learning. It has basic information about how to log into Schoology, our Learning Management System, which is how courses are delivered and Powerschool Gradebook, which teachers and students use to keep track of student assignments and grades. We will continue adding resources. If you have a suggestion about topics to include send a message to Marybeth Connelly.

Documents to Support Instruction

Below you will find a list of links to additional resources that parents, families, and caregivers may find helpful as virtual/distance learning begins at home on August 24th:

REC CONNECT - Supervised E-Learning Center

FCCPS recognizes and empathizes with the burden on families due to the shift to online learning. Therefore, we are committed to supporting families in need with options for childcare. We are grateful for the partnership with the General Government and appreciate their creativity to help our community.

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department is offering REC CONNECT, a supervised e-learning center held at the Falls Church Community Center, supervised by Recreation and Parks Department staff. The program provides a supervised environment for children to complete their school led virtual instruction. Staff will provide recreational activities during breaks. Program waivers, child information forms, including virtual platforms, etc., will be sent to all registered participants prior to the start of the program. 

Registration opens to City of Falls Church residents August 13. To register, call 703-248-5027 (TTY 711) or visit www.fallschurchva.gov/rec-connect starting August 13. At this time, there are no plans to open this program to non-City residents. The program is only for those who truly need it. If your family has an available caregiver in the home, the child should not be enrolled. The initial term of the program will run from September 8-October 30. The cost is $800 for this 8-week period. The program will continue or modify as needed for the second quarter.

Program Hours

  • Grades K through 5 will be at the center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Grades 6 through 8 will be at the center from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Program information

  • This program is only available to families that need it.  If a family has an available caregiver at home, the child should not be enrolled in the program.

  • Children must bring their own laptop (and charger), and headphones/headset. Please bring computers fully charged each day.

  • Children must bring their own lunch and snack.

  • There will be two adults in each group to supervise the children.  These are not teachers and the staff have no teaching certifications or experience teaching.  Their experience is in childcare. They will help children in a limited capacity with their schoolwork. They are mainly providing a supervised environment for children to spend the day completing their school work.

  • The Recreation Department will provide Wi-Fi.

If you have questions, please email Recreation@fallschurchva.gov  or call 703-248-5027 (TTY 711). The creation of this program was not possible without the support from City leadership, FCCPS, support and support from various City Departments.

 FCCPS Student Registration

For returning and new families who have yet to complete the registration process, please do this as soon as possible. This must be done so schools can complete your student’s enrollment. If you have not received an email with a “SNAP code”, please contact your school’s registrar. You may also visit the FCCPS Registration Information Page for additional details.

 Continuing to Observe All Data and Monitor Health Conditions

As a school division we are continuing to meet weekly with the Fairfax County Health Department, VDOE and get updates from the Virginia Department of Health. We receive ongoing updates on the conditions and disease burden facing our health district. The VDH is working on metrics to help localities, including school divisions, with their decision making for reopening, but they are not ready yet.  Other data we will incorporate into our composite include, but are not limited to, regional health factors, workforce readiness and availability, availability of PPE, testing with quick turnaround time, contact tracing capacity, continuity of instruction, etc...

The definition of exposure/close contact was updated this week the VDH now defines a “close contact” as “anyone who spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of the person with COVID-19 or had exposure to the person’s respiratory secretions (for example, coughed or sneezed; shared a drinking glass or utensils; kissing) while they were contagious. A person with COVID-19 is considered to be contagious starting 2 days before they became sick, or 2 days before they tested positive if they never had symptoms.” 

We must reduce the risk of exposure and “close contacts” with this highly contagious virus. It is critical that everyone maintain social distancing, limit their contact with others, practice good hygiene and wear face coverings. We all want to be back together as soon as we can, but that means we have to work together as a community.  While we don’t have clear guidance on the metrics for return, we are monitoring the situation very closely and beginning to develop a composite of measures for return on our own - it is greater than just viral transmission. More on this is coming in the weeks ahead.

Right now we have our “heads down” collectively planning our 100% virtual/distance learning reopening. This means we are settling into a new routine with passion and excitement to provide the most robust version of virtual/distance learning possible. We are so grateful for our teachers and staff for the hours they have put in over their summer breaks to make this happen. 

We are excited and anxious to start the year and are working hard to ensure that your student(s) are going to have a wonderful experience from day one. Yes, this is VERY different from what we all expected or wanted but we are committed to making the best of a terrible situation and with our collective support we will do it.

Sincerely,

Peter Noonan
Superintendent, Fall Church City Public Schools