Dr. Noonan's Friday Reopening Update - March 19, 2021

Dear FCCPS Family

We are one week closer to Spring Break and our expansion of in-person learning! This week’s letter finalizes the details for the PreK-5th grade return and provides updates about the Secondary Plan. Each school’s updated Return to School Plans are linked below and provide many more details. First, here is an update on vaccine information for our community.


Community Vaccine Updates:

FCCPS has been very fortunate to have had staff vaccination opportunities provided through the health department. For the community, the information seems to change every day regarding vaccination updates and expansions of availability. We hope that everyone in our community in an eligible group will consider taking advantage of the vaccination opportunities as they become available. Local pharmacies and groceries (CVS, Harris Teeter, Giant, Safeway, etc.) are now providing vaccines to more groups. These groups include 65+, child care and K-12 educators, aged 16-64 with health conditions and all occupations falling under 1b. Each grocery and pharmacy system has its own process for registration. The COVID-19 Vaccine registration form is now available in Spanish for Fairfax County Residents: Fairfax HD Spanish Vaccine Registration Form  

  • When people submit forms in either Spanish or English, their place in the queue will be preserved regardless of which form is used. 

  • If residents cannot register online, then please call 703-324-7404, and assistance can be provided in Spanish (and other languages). 

  • As a reminder, Fairfax County is not participating in the statewide registration system at this time. All residents in the Fairfax Health District should register at the Fairfax County Health Department website

PreK-5th Grade Full Day Return:

As we move to a five-day-a-week, full-day instruction model for our students, we are so grateful for your efforts to provide and support virtual and hybrid instruction during this school year. After much collaboration and planning, FCCPS will offer our PreK-5th grade students two instruction models: In-Person Instruction or Virtual Instruction. More than 94% of parents in PreK-5th grade selected in-person learning for five days a week! The details for each school’s plan are below. If you have any specific questions concerning reopening, please email reopening@fccps.org

  • The last day of the AM/PM Rotation for Elementary schools and the last shortened day for JTP will be Thursday, March 25.

  • Friday, March 26, will be a Self-Guided Learning Day. While there will be no in-person learning that day for PreK-5 students, there will be a morning meeting, self-directed learning activities for the day, and a wrap-up for the entire class. Schools will also be providing bag lunches for any student who wishes to pick one up for a picnic lunch with families to celebrate the beginning of Spring Break. Bag lunches will be available for pickup at each school’s front entrances from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • Please remember that Monday, April 5 is a teacher’s workday. There is no school that day.

  • Any student who wishes to attend school in person will begin 5-days a week, full-day instruction starting Tuesday, April 6, 2021. 

  • The Updated Virtual Learning Model will also launch on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

JTP Updates:

JTP families selected either an In-Person/Full Day schedule or a virtual schedule. More than 95% of families opted for in-person learning options. 

Here is the complete Jessie Thackrey Preschool Full Day Return plan

Below are a few highlights to help caregivers plan.

  • Access to Pre-School curriculum and learning for five full days a week

  • The schedule will be Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. - 2:20 p.m. with early release Wednesdays at 12:40 p.m. (every Wednesday for the remainder of the 20-21 school year.)

  • Students returning from virtual to in-person may be assigned to a new classroom based on available spacing and enrollment.

  • If students have to be out of school for any excused/school-approved reason (illness, pause, quarantine…), they will receive learning packets with activities to complete at home to maintain their continuity in learning.

Mount Daniel Updates:

MD families selected either an In-Person/Full Day schedule or a virtual schedule. More than 93.4% of families will be returning for in-person learning. The MD team has been planning and working through several details to prepare for in-person and virtual students’ return over the last several weeks. 

Here is the complete Mount Daniel Full Day Return plan 

Below are a few highlights to help parents/guardians plan.

  • Access to core instruction and encore classes in person five days a week

  • The schedule will be Monday-Friday, 8:50 a.m. - 3:50 p.m. 

  • Early release Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. (every Wednesday for the remainder of the 20-21 school year.)

  • Kiss and ride will begin at 8:35 a.m.

  • In-person students will remain with their current teacher and class.

  • If students have to be out of school for any excused/school-approved reason (illness, pause, quarantine…), they will receive virtual instruction with activities to complete at home to maintain their continuity in learning.

TJ Updates:

Thank you to all the families who responded to the survey. Of the families offered a choice between In-Person/Full Day Instruction or Virtual Instruction, over 94% at TJ opted for in-person instruction. The team at TJ has been working very hard over the last few weeks to prepare. 

Here is the complete TJ Elementary Full Day Return plan

Below are a few highlights to help parents/guardians plan.

  • Access to the core curriculum and encore classes in-person, five days a week

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:50 a.m. - 3:50 p.m.

  • Early release Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. (every Wednesday for the remainder of the 20-21 school year).

  • All in-person students will remain with their current teacher and class. 

  • All virtual 4th and 5th grade students will remain with their current teacher, while 3rd grade students will have a virtual teacher. 

  • Live virtual instruction with their current classroom teacher will be provided if students have to be out of school for illnesses or excused absence reasons (illness, pause, quarantine…).

Secondary Learning Expansion Updates:

As we share our secondary reopening details and look to bring back more students for in-person learning, we celebrate the successes we have had thus far. With robust mitigation strategies, we are confident that these measures will allow for more students’ safe returns at the middle and high schools. Those strategies include mask-wearing, utilization of space and social distancing, hand hygiene, and explicit cleaning protocols. Today’s new CDC Guidance for Schools reduces the social distancing guideline from 6 feet to 3 feet for students. While this allows us more flexibility in our instructional areas, we will strive to maintain 6 feet of social distancing where possible.

Recognizing that our older learners' needs and voice are a factor in this decision, our secondary team has sought input from middle and high school stakeholders to build a plan that best meets our students’ and staff’s needs in grades 6-12. In offering additional access for in-person learning, we will maintain our current bell schedule. Our school day will start at 8:00 a.m. and conclude at 3:00 p.m. Students will keep the same courses and teachers, and instructional blocks will remain 84 minutes. Our plan provides:

  1. Increased opportunities for middle and high school students to participate in four full days of in-person instruction utilizing a combination of classrooms and learning hubs.

  2. Additional in-person support and intervention for students with the greatest needs.

  3. An option to remain in an entirely virtual instructional model.

  4. Wednesday will become the student-directed/asynchronous day, which will align with FCCPS elementary schools. 

  5. This plan has a start date of April 6 (the first day of the 4th quarter) with an end date of June 11. 

The secondary team has analyzed course capacity and space restrictions in both buildings. We have determined that due to our class sizes and students opting to remain virtual, we can accommodate all students (in person) with “overflow” students accessing virtual learning in an on-campus learning hub. Students utilizing the hub model will have opportunities to rotate in and out of classrooms based on space availability. We are committed to students receiving maximum facetime with teachers daily and will offer them opportunities to receive teacher support on campus. Additionally, this plan allows teachers and interventionists an opportunity to provide more targeted in-person support for students with the greatest needs on Wednesdays. Wednesday will also be dedicated to professional learning on concurrent teaching. This will be a need longer-term at the secondary level as we look ahead to the 2021-22 school year. 

In the intention form linked below, you will have the opportunity to make the program selection that is best for your learner. The form will also provide you a chance to make transportation and lunch selections should you select in-person learning. As we offer increased in-person learning opportunities for students, we request that you complete this form for each student you have attending MEHMS or GMHS by Monday, March 22. Your input will allow our administrators and teachers to appropriately plan and ensure that we have correct attendance information in PowerSchool. The form will allow you to select one of the following options:

  • Virtual - your student will access learning virtually for the remainder of the year.

  • Four Days a Week In-Person - your student will access in-person learning four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) through face-to-face and hub model learning. 

If you have extenuating circumstances or have scheduling needs that prevent your student from attending in person four days per week, please email us at reopening@fccps.org.

Find the intention form here: Secondary Instructional Setting for Q4.

For our secondary and operations teams to prepare for this transition on Tuesday, April 6th, we ask for your timely completion of this form. It is due by Monday, March 22. As you have questions, we ask that you send them to reopening reopening@fccps.org.

With the increases in accessibility to the vaccines coming, the latest CDC updates and the incredible planning work of our school teams at PreK-5 and Secondary, we are all so very hopeful about the future. Please remember that not all will be perfect, but we are on the path together for this last push for our final quarter of the 20-21 school year. One that none of us will ever forget for sure. Have a wonderful weekend and take care of each other!

All my best and “All together...until the end!”

Peter