Dr. Peter Noonan's Update

We made it! 

Yesterday was the last day of school for our students. We end this year in a much different place than we began.  As everyone says goodbye and sets off for what will be a welcome summer, I want to say how proud I am of our students, their families, and our staff for their collective resiliency this year. So as we move into summer, we do so from a place of HOPE

HOPE is the theme today and in our days most recently. As a community, we have “come out the other side” of this pandemic stronger and more bonded than ever. Despite the struggles or differences in opinions, the pillars of our FCCPS family remain in tack. We are IB. We are caring. We close achievement gaps.

Our students have been back in school, and the HOPE for a more “routine start” to the 2021-2022 school year is ahead. Our entire division is looking forward to a full 5-day opening next year for all of our students. The excitement is especially strong for our students in grades 3-5. They will return as our new Oak Street Elementary School Tigers! #OSESTigers

The HOPE for a brighter future for our next generation is real. We felt it deeply as we watched our seniors graduate from the new high school. We will open the doors next year under our Secondary Model and welcome the first graduating class of Meridian High School. #Classof2022  

The excitement and HOPE that the vaccines have brought to our community is nothing short of amazing.  The vaccines have helped us be back with the loved ones we have missed during this time. Our health metrics are better than they have ever been (continued 0% positivity!!), and we had no positive COVID cases during the last 2-weeks of school across the entire division. So we ended the year with no students on “pause” or quarantined from a positive case impacting the schools. We will take that win for sure!

There is also the ongoing HOPE that each day brings us as we move one step closer to normalcy in these most unusual times. Today was one of those days that moved us closer to “normal” because we vaccinated close to 500 students with their 2nd dose of the Pfizer COVID Vaccine. All of those students age 12+ and above will go home for the summer fully vaccinated!

You each have my HOPE and best wishes for a safe, healthy, and fun summer vacation. Take care of each other and check up on your friends and neighbors. Remember, we are a family, and we are #bettertogether!  See you August 30th for the first day of school for students.

All my best,

Just a few important reminders below will help us kick off summer:

Summer School is July 6-30!  
Visit Summer at FCCPS for an overview of summer school for 2021. Our staff has been working hard planning for instruction, coordinating operations, and hiring support for summer school. All schools will have the help of a School Health Aide (SHA) to ensure the clinics at each school remain open for summer school. Additionally, our Public Health Nurse will be here to support the division as well. Our current mitigation practices will stay in place during summer school with members of our COVID Response Teams available should we have a positive case.

Be sure to take care of your mental health, just like we do our physical health--
Look for signs in your child’s behavior--changes in sleeping/eating habits, withdrawal, changes in friendships, unusual activities and contact your healthcare provider or a mental health professional for support. Our FCCPS Mental Health Support Resource Pages are full of information to support students and their families. You will find Community Support LinksTips to Reduce Stress & AnxietyFamily Engagement Activities; and FCCPS Mental Health Staff Teams for Each School. Contact your student’s School Counselor, Social Worker, or School Psychologist for support as well.

Read at least 30-minutes a day – for fun!!
Keep a reading log; Create a family reading challenge; visit the library, and just read!  Let students make their own choices about books to support their engagement and to help develop a love for reading as an enjoyable activity. Remember – reading at least 30-minutes each day helps to prevent “summer slide.”

Get the COVID vaccine for you and those you love--
Visit Fairfax County Health Department Vaccine Registration to schedule an appointment, or go to www.vaccinefinder.org to locate a vaccine appointment near you.  As the summer progresses, more and more vaccines will continue to be widely available across our community in places like grocery stores, pharmacies, local clinics, doctor’s offices, and traveling vaccine points of distribution across the Fairfax Health District. Please take advantage of these fantastic opportunities to get vaccinated and increase your protection from the COVID virus. 

Stay safe when you travel-- 
The CDC updated its guidelines around international travel for vaccinated persons. Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk of contracting and possibly spreading COVID-19 variants. This is vital information to share as we leave for summer and families travel. The COVID status of a country and its corresponding travel guidelines can be found at CDC's COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination. Please be safe when traveling and upon your return.