Dear FCCPS Families,
I trust you all had a safe and healthy holiday break. I wanted to send some updates and clarifications regarding our next steps for reopening FCCPS. While my letter to all of you about returning this month was filled with excitement and enthusiasm, it also included a revised set of metrics for reopening and, if needed, thresholds for returning to virtual instruction. While we are all excited about returning our students to in-person hybrid learning, it is important to temper expectations.
The COVID data for our region, and specifically Falls Church City, is particularly challenging as the number of cases continues to rise, and the percentage of people testing positive continues to increase. Additionally, our region remains in a state of substantial transmission and a high burden of disease. These are concerning as we move forward in our planning.
FCCPS’ Health Metrics Task Force reviewed guidance from the CDC Indicators and Thresholds for School Reopening, Virginia Department of Health regional data regarding the transmission of the COVID-19 virus across our area, and our ability to implement robust mitigation strategies to keep operations on track. Further, the task force developed student cohorts based on academic need, age, and group size. Students in identified cohorts have differentiated thresholds for Hybrid Learning and Virtual Learning. Students in our smallest group of cohorts, including Special Education, English Learners, and our youngest students, are prioritized for Hybrid Learning following VDOE, VDH, and CDC guidance. This week we welcomed back Cohort 1 (Special Populations) of our students.
In order for us to return Cohort 2 (Elementary) and Cohort 3 (Secondary), we must have data that supports the reopening. Again, we are looking at a combination of regional and local measures to inform our decision. Please visit our updated FCCPS HEALTH METRICS DASHBOARD for the details for each Cohort of students. Additionally:
Each Wednesday, we will give an update on the current data, and each Friday, we will do a final weekly review of the data and make a decision for a given cohort for the following week.
We will look at the previous 7-10 days of data (depending on the cohort metric), including the previous weekend.
The decision to "Go or No-Go" for each cohort will be communicated at the end of the day Friday.
It is evident in the data that we will be challenged to open on the timeline sent out last week. We remain hopeful of welcoming Cohorts 2 and 3 on our proposed timeline, but if the local and regional data remain at the levels they are, we will not be in a position to do that. Please visit our revised data dashboard here for information regarding the updates.