Update on COVID-19 and Our Schools

COVID-19 and Our Schools Update

Dear Braddock District Community,

During this historic and unprecedented school closure, I want to reinforce my deep commitment of service to you and your loved ones. While Superintendent Brabrand and his administration are working diligently to keep you apprised of their efforts to provide a “continuity of learning” for all students, this is still unfamiliar territory. Therefore, please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have as we navigate this difficult time together as a community. 

With the Governor’s decision to close schools for the remainder of the academic year, I am very concerned about the significant impact this will have, beyond student instruction. This extended closure deeply affects many other facets related to public education, including our working parents with childcare needs, students with disabilities, students with food-insecurity, students with limited English proficiency, as well as special occasions like prom and graduation. Please know that the School Board is working tirelessly in partnership with the Superintendent to find ways to mitigate these challenges (the Board has already held two Emergency Closed Sessions with the Superintendent). Now, more than ever, your input throughout this process will help us to better serve you.

While I recognize you are receiving a great deal of communication from FCPS already, I hope the collection of information listed below will be helpful to you. Should you have additional questions, please let me know how I can be of assistance.

Finally, I want to make you aware of the School Board’s upcoming Public Meeting for this Friday at 11a.m. Like the Board of Supervisors, the public cannot be physically present in the meeting room, but further details will be provided soon via a separate message from me.

Best wishes for good health to you and your loved ones in the days ahead,


Continuity of Learning

The School Board has held two emergency Closed Sessions, following FCPS’ COVID-19 school closure, to review the Superintendent’s operational steps to address this unprecedented challenge. A crucial part of these next steps is to execute FCPS’ distance learning plan. FCPS will be emailing details of this plan to students, families and staff.

In addition, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is expected to provide all school divisions with additional guidance in the next few days regarding continuity of learning. This will include guidance about graduation requirements for 12th grade students, along with expectations for grading and academic year completion for all of our students.

FCPS will be working with individual schools to distribute laptops and MiFi devices (by appointment) to students who do not have access at home. FCPS will also provide students and staff with an opportunity to pick-up essential/critical items at their individual schools. More details will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, please continue to take advantage of the continuity of learning resources:

  • When anyone logs on to FCPS 24-7 they will see a Continuity of Learning module that has links to resources for elementary students as well as resources for middle and high school students.
  • Continuity of learning resources are also available at this link along with information about accessing our instructional videos.

Food Resources

FCPS is providing grab and go meals at several schools and community centers, including pop-up locations, curbside pickup locations, and several bus routes throughout the county. The FCPS sites, locations and bus routes are available Monday-Friday only.

For a complete list of distribution sites and times please click here.

Effective Tuesday, March 24, FCPS is changing the time for grab and go meal service at 34 school locations. The grab and go meals will be available from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. beginning March 24. Breakfast and lunch will be available at the same time.

Fairfax County and FCPS have worked together to develop a searchable map that includes community food distribution sites, including FCPS grab and go locations, community meal distribution sites, food pantries, and other related services.

Please click here to view the map.

AP & IB Updates

The College Board and International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) continue to provide 2020 AP-IB program testing updates and guidance directly to students and parents through global press releases. In light of that communication, FCPS is providing additional guidance to ensure our students and parents understand how the district is responding to these changes and, specifically, how we plan to provide support to students moving forward. Reference the most recent updates by program below along with the FCPS response to best support and meet the needs of our students.  

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) PROGRAM - AP Updates from the College Board, March 20.

•    Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place. Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. 

•    Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates.

College Board timeline for next steps:

  • March 23 – an update will be sent to students directly from the College Board.
  • March 25 – students will have access to College Board’s free, live AP review lessons, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These optional, mobile-friendly classes are designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools. Students can find the classes online.
  • April 3 – the full exam schedule including the specific free-response question types that will comprise each AP exam will be published by the College Board.

AP students are encouraged to access lessons, tools and review resources provided via FCPS 24-7 as well as those provided by the AP program. We request that students and parents take no immediate action specific to test registration and administration and please wait to receive 2020 AP exam administration instructions directly from FCPS. Since school-based test coordinators register and order all AP exams and FCPS pays for the first six exams, it is imperative that AP exam administration continue to be directed by the school division. Once testing details have been determined, FCPS will communicate procedures directly to students and parents to ensure that every student is fully supported and successful throughout the 2020 AP online test at home exam administration.    

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE (IB) PROGRAM - IB Updates from the International Baccalaureate Organization, March 23. 

•    The May 2020 IB examinations for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme students will no longer be held.

•    Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work.   

FCPS staff are developing a districtwide communication for immediate release to ensure IB families/students understand that IB exam scores will be awarded based on coursework, including internal and external assessments, but will be calculated without May exams. IBO will provide full details and answers to frequently asked questions to all stakeholders no later than Friday, March 27. As we receive that information, we will work with schools to ensure students have the opportunity to complete and submit all required coursework to earn IB exam scores. Principals and coordinators will work directly with their teachers and students to identify the required coursework for submission and deadlines for submission of these components to comply with IBO’s extended deadlines.

Self-Directed Online Economics and Personal Finance (EPF)

Due to school closures and numerous parent requests, FCPS is opening the summer session of the self-directed EPF course early. Only one session will be offered, which will run from March 30 – July 31, 2020. Students have until July 31, 2020 to complete the course. Students who have already registered (for either summer session) prior to 3/27/20 will receive their login information by March 27, 2020 at their fcpsschools.net email account. Students who register after 3/27/20 will receive their login information within a week of registering. If you previously registered for Summer Session 1 your registration has been accepted. The Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance course requires students to complete work without direct teacher instruction. Register here until June 12, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.


How are third quarter grades going to be handled?

We are working with our principals to develop a plan for grading and will communicate that information to you as soon as we can. The third quarter grading book is not closed.

Will SOL tests be required this year?

SOL tests are expected to be canceled this year. The Virginia Department of Education is preparing an application for the testing waiver from the U.S. Dept. of Education.

Are teachers prohibited from contacting students or providing additional learning activities during the closure?

No. Teachers are not prohibited from engaging in open communication with students or providing additional learning activities during the closure. Many teachers and administrators have been communicating with their students this week either by video or other means. As previously stated, learning activities during the closure are not required and will not be graded. Teachers may provide optional, ungraded activities to students with the caveat that they cannot be designed to teach new content. Teachers will not offer “extra credit” for completion of optional learning activities.

Teachers may be in contact with students to foster relationships, nurture a caring culture, and provide reassurance and encouragement during a stressful and unprecedented global experience.

What happens to student learning now that schools are closed for the rest of the year? 

With schools now closed for the remainder of the academic year, division leaders will be making decisions about how learning will continue and when/how students will make up the rest of the content from this year. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will issue guidance to help divisions execute plans to continue instruction.

Are the schools being cleaned now?

We are continuing to work to make sure that our custodians are in the buildings on a regular basis cleaning our schools. We did additional cleaning at Lynbrook Elementary immediately after the announcement that a Lynbrook teacher has tested positive for the virus.

Childcare Resources

The Fairfax County Office for Children maintains an up-to-date online childcare search that lists all childcare centers and family childcare homes that are licensed or regulated in the county.   

If you need support for finding childcare in your neighborhood, please visit Childcare Assistance and Referral for additional information. Childcare financial assistance may be available for families who meet eligibility criteria.

In addition to maintaining regular daily health practices and protocols, Fairfax County has encouraged childcare centers and family childcare homes to take additional precautions, which can be reviewed here.

Mental Health and Community Resources

To take care of your child(ren) during the COVID-19 outbreak: 

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource available in Korean, Chinese, Amharic, and Spanish

To take care of yourself during COVID-19 outbreak:

Manage Anxiety & Stress

To access DFS services remotely:

Fairfax County Department of Family Services

When schools are in session, each school has a school counselor, psychologist, and social worker available to provide consultation, mental health services, and/or referrals to community services.  While schools are closed, please use the resources below to secure mental health service for you or your child(ren).

Related Resources:

Assistance from a Distance - How to Access Fairfax County Department of Family Services Remotely (PDF)

Resources for Updated Information

Please visit the following websites for regularly updated information:

Fairfax County Public Schools

Fairfax County Department of Health

Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam

Centers for Disease Control And Prevention

COVID-19 Facts

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

How can the spread of COVID-19 be slowed down or prevented? As with other respiratory infections like the flu or the common cold, public health measures are critical to slow the spread of illnesses. Public health measures are everyday preventive actions that include:

✓ staying home when sick;

✓ covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately;

✓ washing hands often with soap and water; and

✓ cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.

As we learn more about COVID-19 public health officials may recommend additional actions.

What is Social Distancing?

The CDC defines social distancing as it applies to COVID-19 as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.”

Note: This guidance is for people who are generally healthy. If you are at higher risk or have symptoms of illness, stay home and consult with your health care provider.

Social Distancing Tips

  • Do not hug, shake hands, or high five. These actions can transmit a virus from person-to-person.
  • Maintain a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.
  • Avoid mass gatherings and congregate settings. The CDC defines congregate settings as crowded public places where close contact with others may occur.
  • Those who are at risk for more severe COVID-19 illness, such as older adults and persons with compromised immunity, should limit contact with others and be rigorous about social distancing and other protective measures.

Use good protective behaviors: wash your hands frequently using soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds; cover coughs and sneezes; stay away from others if you’re ill; and disinfect high-touch surfaces at home and work.

The views contained within this newsletter reflect the views of the individual school board member who is the publisher of this newsletter and may not reflect the views of the Fairfax County School Board.

© 2020 Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia