Office Hours Information and Updates


Hello again friends and neighbors,

Again, I want to thank you for your patience during these unprecedented times. I hope you are all hanging in there. While the Governor’s decision to close schools for the remainder of the academic year caused a variety of emotions for all of us as members of the school community, the safety of our students, families, and staff is always the top priority. As many of you may know, FCPS released its Distance Learning Plan last week. Here are details about this plan. Teacher led new instruction will begin April 14th. This week, teachers will be reaching out to students to check in, provide review, work to implement distance learning plans.

I know you have received many updates this last week so I am going to keep this short. For those of you who may not have received updates, I will include some important information at the bottom of this email regarding FCPS, Fairfax County and the state

My main reason for sending this out today is to let you know of my office hours, both today and ongoing (see below).

NEW - Governor’s Stay at Home Order:

For those who don’t know, the Governor has issued a Stay at Home order through June 10, 2020. The order directs all Virginians to stay home except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.

Town Hall Today


I will be holding a virtual town hall today March 30th from 5-7 pm.

This will be a townhall style meeting via Google Hangout. Here is the call in and video information:

Join Hangouts Meet – March 30th 5-7 pm

Join by phone

‪+1 443-429-0645 PIN: ‪732 890 537#

Office Hours Ongoing:

I am now scheduling regular virtual office hours with constituents for April and May. I will hold two office hours a week and you can sign up for 15 minute slots. If we end up needing more time, we can always schedule a longer follow up after our initial meeting.

Click on this link to sign up

Town Halls Ongoing:

Every Monday I will hold a Town Hall Meeting either via Zoom or Google Hangouts. Here is the information.

I will be holding a town hall style meeting on Zoom to discuss issues related to Fairfax County Public Schools.

When on Zoom, please use the "Hand" Icon to raise your hand and I will call on you to ask your question. Here is the link to the Zoom meeting

On the alternate Mondays, I will host a Facebook Live Session to answer questions as they are typed in. Link to Facebook Live Sessions here

All sessions will be 7-8 pm.

  • April 6th Zoom Conference
  • April 13 Facebook Live
  • April 20 Zoom Conference
  • April 27 Facebook Live
  • May 4 Zoom Conference
  • May 11 Facebook Live
  • May 18 Zoom Conference
  • May 25 Facebook Live

I very much appreciate all of those who took the time to email me how much they appreciated my emails and messages and how they know we are all trying to do the best we can. Thank you for your grace and kindness. Those words meant so much more to me than you may ever realize and had helped tremendously.

I have been compiling all of your concerns and questions to share with staff. So far I have 8 pages I have shared to be addressed and continue to compile more. Many of those will be shared through the FAQs on the FCPS webpage or from staff or myself. Please feel free to continue to share questions and concerns and I will be happy to try to get as many answers as possible.

I recognize that distance learning cannot replace live in person teaching nor can we replicate the community of school in a distance learning setting. We are doing the best we can to be as fair to all our students and to ensure we provide learning without creating additional anxiety in this incredibly stressful time. I will try to send an email each week or two to not crowd your inboxes.

And in the world of silver linings I'm very grateful to be able to spend unexpected time with my daughter and my son. I look at that as a gift. I also realize how privileged I am that (so far) I am not worried about my job and therefore can have the privilege of enjoying my family.

I also recognize how hard this is for all of us, in particular those of you who may be extreme extroverts like me, those of you living alone, those ill or worried about ill loved ones, and all of us who are missing our friends, our families, our events big and small and the trappings of what used to be “normal” every day life. I wish I had some sage advice for you but I don’t. But luckily one of my constituents did. So I leave you with these words from one of my very wise constituents who sent this to me after my last newsletter. This made me cry and smile at the same time.

“But what about the hope, the blessings, the awe that this tragedy is bringing to our community that wasn’t easily apparent before now?

Allow me to share with you my experience with the dreaded covid -19....Everywhere I look (and I don’t have to look farther than my kitchen window) I see families everywhere! Riding bikes, laughing, walking, enjoying the sunshine and time together. You mention kids who are missing prom or missing making new friends. But I’ve so appreciated the time to be with my kids and husband and strengthening the relationships with them. The meaningful phone calls with friends and family where the question “How are you?” Has so much more weight and meaning. The friendship I’ve made with the lunch lady who is at Providence Elementary every day passing out lunches. Seeing her beautiful smile and feeling the gratitude I have for her as she hands me meals to feed my 4 small children. I have an elderly father who lives in my home. During this time he’s shared stories of his childhood. Stories he remembers as a young boy during WW2. Stories we haven’t heard because we’ve been busy with sports and dance and as you say “the first soccer goal”. I’m 36 years old and discovered my first Bald Eagles nest, wild orchids and learned treasures of the Potomac River. My daughters 1st grade teacher has personally reached out and emailed our family. My relationship with her is different now. She is more than a teacher she has become a friend an ally, a mentor to my daughter in way that couldn’t have happened in the classroom.

You see Ms. Heizer, I choose to see Covid-19 as a blessing. I could take this time and fill it with tears and sorrow and wishes for prom and soccer games and in class time. But then I’d be missing the beauty that has resulted all around me. I’d much rather focus on all of the lessons learned, all of the friendships buoyed, I’d rather focus on life’s “Get to’s” than life’s “Have tos”. I GET to be home and teach my kids, I GET to create an education for them, I GET to let my grey hairs grow out, I GET to cook my meals every night, I GET to live during this crazy time. Sure beats the alternative!

Sure there are lots of things to be sad and worry about! But why?? Those things are not in my control! Covid-19 has forced me to look inward and focus on what truly matters - FAMILY!!

We are America! We are human! We have proven that we can overcome hard things! We WILL OVERCOME Covid- 19. But not by focusing on what we are losing but to look with new eyes and Hearts changed at what we are gaining.

Ms. Heizer thanks to Covid- 19 you gained a new friend in me.

I hope my perspective lends you to send a new message of hope and joy through the peril to members of our community! “

Be gentle with yourself. Mourn the old but take time to find joy in the new.

In Health


P.S. Read below for the latest updates and feel free to share this with anyone who may find it beneficial. And please feel free to follow me on Facebook or twitter (@rachna-heizer) for more current updates.


A few resources for you:

  • Children’s Townhall: Kristen Bell to host townhall on COVID-19 for children on Nickelodeon TONIGHT March 30 at 7 pm. Click here for Townhall
  • Mental health resources for your children: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource available in Korean, Chinese, Amharic, and Spanish
  • Mental Health Resources for yourself: Manage Anxiety & Stress
  • Apps for Special Needs Students click here  
  • Changing Financial Circumstances: I know for many of you your economic situation may have changed. If so, I encourage you to complete a free and reduced meal application. Because if you qualify you can automatically get other fees waived or reduced. Click on this link to apply
  • Watch out for scams: From fake testing kits and unproven cures to government imposter scams and work from home schemes, robocall scams are being updated to reflect the current crisis. The FCC has developed a COVID-19 scams page ( )that includes tips to assist consumers with protecting themselves and their loved ones.  

The Latest Update:

My Colleague Karl Frisch, School Board Member for Providence District, sent a very comprehensive update last week so I am sharing his update here for any of those who didn’t get it.

I am also sharing some state information from Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn

FCPS and County Information:

FCPS staff have been working very hard since we closed to develop a distance learning plan that will be as effective as possible for all our students. It is very difficult to quickly implement distance learning that involves nearly 16,000 teachers to reach 189,000 students

These are some key issues staff have been working through

  • Technology infrastructure availability for all students. (only our high school students had 1:1 laptops and some of our students do not have access to internet or wifi capabilities)
  • The diverse learning needs of our students.
  • Appropriate teacher training to ensure fidelity of implementation.
  • Laptop distribution to approximately 15,000 middle school and elementary school students in accordance with health department guidelines, one student at a time.
  • Printing and mailing of 125,000 learning packets weekly to homes across Fairfax County.

In addition to details about the Superintendent’s distance learning plan, this email includes updates on many other pressing issues, including:

  • School Board Meetings
  • Office Hours
  • Distance Learning Details
  • Self-Directed Learning Activities
  • Third Quarter Grading
  • SOLs, AP, IB, and SATs
  • Graduation Requirements
  • Self-Directed Online Economics and Personal Finance
  • Food Resources for Students/Families
  • Tips for Staying Healthy
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Childcare Options
  • Teacher and Staff Pay
  • Parks, Libraries, and Community Centers
  • Public Transportation
  • Select Businesses Remain Open
  • 2020 Census Countdown

Information from Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn

  • Public Transportation - Metrorail and VRE schedules
  • DMV changes
  • Eviction holds

Distance Learning Details

This afternoon, the Superintendent released the following plan for distance learning the includes high school, middle school, and elementary school as well as resources for special education and English language learners:

High School

  • Students will engage in teacher-led, teacher-supported and independent learning in all courses.
  • During the week of March 30, teachers will be contacting students to reconnect, provide review material for concepts taught prior to closure, and prepare for classes starting on April 14.
  • The FCPS Online Campus will resume operation on March 30. At this time, students registered for the self-directed Economics and Personal Finance course as of March 19, 2020 for either summer session 1 or summer session 2, will also have the ability to begin the course online through Virtual Virginia.
  • Distribution has begun of a limited number of Mifi devices, or wireless hotspots, to high school students in need who do not have any access to the internet at home. Schools have been contacting families directly to arrange for the pickups, by appointment.

Middle School

  • Students will engage in teacher-led, teacher-supported and independent learning.
  • Learning packets will be distributed by mail to all students in the four core classes: Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Distribution will begin the week of March 30.
  • Middle school students will be engaged in virtual, teacher-directed learning in the four core classes along with world languages (HS credit) beginning the week of April 14. Elective teachers will post learning activities to Blackboard.
  • Distribution of laptops began this week for students in need who do not have access to a device at home. Schools have been contacting families directly to arrange for the pickups.

Elementary School

  • Students will engage in teacher-led and independent learning.
  • There is also time for teacher check-ins, virtual chats, phone calls and emails with students.
  • Learning packets will be distributed by mail to all students (PK-6) beginning the week of March 30.
  • Principals will send parents a published schedule of instruction.
  • Literacy and math content will also be made available on FCPS Cable Channel 21 (check your local listings or stream online) beginning the week of March 30.
  • Teacher-student virtual connections are encouraged.
  • Specials teachers will post learning activities to Blackboard.

Resources for Special Education

FCPS staff is working hard to prepare distance learning materials to ensure that all students have access to educational materials and activities, including our students with Individualized Education Programs and 504 Plans.

Many disability-related modifications and services may be effectively provided online. These may include, for instance, extensions of time for assignments, modifications to assignments, videos with captioning or embedded sign language interpreting, accessible reading materials, and speech or language services through video conferencing. The Office of Special Education Instruction has developed and posted on the FCPS Continuity of Learning webpage, an Accommodations Toolbox that includes strategies and resources on how students may be able to access accommodations at home.

Continuity of Learning resources are also posted on Blackboard and the FCPS public website. In addition, FCPS is currently reviewing other online platforms to ensure accessibility for all students and teachers.

English Language Learners

The Office of ESOL Services is collaborating with content-area teams to create accessible resources for English learners. English learners (ELs) will participate in grade-level instruction and activities as well as engage in English Language Development (ELD) activities to simultaneously develop English language proficiency, content understandings, and Portrait of a Graduate attributes. It is important for students to read, write, speak and listen to English every day. FCPS is creating ELD resources that incorporate a variety of reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities.

English Learners and families will receive support from ESOL teachers and school-based Parent Liaisons. Additionally, FCPS provides Parent Information Phone Lines for families who speak a language other than English. Phone responders will answer questions and connect families to resources.

Other Academic Updates

Self-Directed Learning Activities

While we prepare for distance learning to begin, our goal is for every student to read, write, communicate, and engage in continued learning experiences. To that end, students of all grade levels can partake in optional, self-directed learning activities posted on FCPS 24-7 Blackboard.

Our FCPS cable television channels are also broadcasting learning activities. Channel 21 includes elementary school programmingChannel 25 includes middle school programming, and Channel 99 includes high school programming. Each channel also streams content online.

Khan Academy is offering resources to be used during the school closures to keep students engaged in learning activities – sign-up here. Also, Scholastic Learn at Home offers day-by-day articles and stories, videos, and fun learning challenges.

Third Quarter Grading

The third quarter grading book is not closed. FCPS is working to ensure that students will have the opportunity to complete all assignments issued prior to the school closure before closing the third quarter. Maximum flexibility will be provided for students to be sure they can get those assignments submitted. Going forward, assignment grades can help students but will not hurt their GPA. More information is in the Superintendent’s Distance Learning Plan linked above.

Standards of Learning (SOL) Testing

SOL tests will likely be canceled this year. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is preparing an application to receive a testing waiver from the U.S. Department of Education.

Advanced Placement (AP) Testing

Traditional face-to-face exams will not take place. Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. For each AP subject, there will be two testing dates. Additional details from the College Board can be found here. Here is a timeline for next steps:

  • March 23: An update was 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. Classes can be found here.
  • 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.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

The May 2020 IB examinations for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme students are canceled. Depending on what students registered for, they will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate, which reflects their standard of work. FCPS is developing a districtwide communication 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.

International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) will provide full details and answers to frequently asked questions to all stakeholders no later than Friday, March 27. FCPS 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. Additional details from IBO can be found here.

SAT Administration

The College Board is canceling administration of the SAT on May 2, 2020. The makeup exam for the SAT on March 14 (scheduled March 28) is also canceled. Registered students will receive refunds. The College Board will provide future additional SAT testing opportunities for students as soon as feasible. Additional details from the College Board can be found here.

Graduation Requirements

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced this week that high school seniors who were on track to earn a diploma later this spring will be able to graduate. In fact, the vast majority of high school seniors have already met most graduation requirements. High school seniors in the following categories will be able to graduate on time:

  • Seniors currently enrolled in a course for which they need a standard or verified credit to graduate (verified credits are earned by passing a required course and also passing the associated Standards of Learning test).
  • Seniors who have successfully completed a course required for graduation but have not earned the associated verified credit.
  • Seniors who have not passed a required student-selected SOL test.
  • Flexibility is available for seniors who have not earned a required career and technical education credential, who have not completed a fine or performing arts course or CTE course, who were unable to complete sequential course requirements, and who have not completed a course in economics and personal finance.

Read more here

Self-Directed Online Economic and Personal Finance (EPF)

Beginning on March 30, 2020, students who were registered for the self-directed Economics and Personal Finance course as of March 19, 2020, for either summer session 1 or 2, will have the ability to begin the course online through Virtual Virginia. Students who are currently registered for one of the summer courses will receive an email through the summer school registration system to their email address with information about beginning the course. All students, regardless of which summer session they registered for, will have until July 31, 2020 to complete the course. Register here until June 12, 2020, at 11:59pm.

Food Resources for Students/Families

Thus far, we have served more than 83,000 breakfasts and lunches during the school closure. There are still many great options for students and families who need grab-and-go meals: curbside pick-up at schools and community centers, ten pop-up food trucks, and school bus delivery along a dozen routes. The most up-to-date list of locations and hours of operation are available online here, while bus route information can be found here. Breakfast and lunch are provided at no cost for FCPS students and only $2 for adults.

All restaurants and dining congregation areas are now closed to the public. Still, these places may offer delivery and/or takeout services: restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, and farmers markets.

Fairfax County and State Information:

Tips for Staying Healthy

For the most up-to-date information from the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), visit their website and be sure to sign-up for text message alerts by texting FFXCOVID to 888-777. FCHD has a wealth of information, including details on how to stay healthy, COVID-19 symptoms, and what to do if you are sick. Proactive measures, including social distancing such as limiting large gatherings, teleworking, and reducing travel, can slow the spread of disease and reduce the burden on medical providers by "flattening the curve." Together we can lower and delay the peak of this public health crisis.

Mental Health and Community Resources

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)

Childcare Options

The Fairfax County Office for Children maintains an updated 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.

Teacher and Staff Pay

Teachers and all other contracted employees (those who accrue leave) with defined contract days and daily scheduled hours will continue to receive pay for their regular scheduled work hours for the remainder of their 2019-2020 school year (190-day, 194-day, 218-day, etc.). Benefits are not impacted by the school closure.

Hourly and substitute employees will receive income replacement for the first two weeks of the closure. Hourly and substitute employees eligible for pay will be those who received earnings for any work between February 17 and March 13. These employees will receive pay equivalent to their average earnings per pay period over the past six months for the next biweekly pay period. Those with fewer than six months of employment will receive pay based on their average biweekly earnings since being employed by FCPS. Effective March 30, hourly employees will be paid only for actual hours worked as directed by a principal or program manager.

Effective March 30, long-term substitutes who continue with assignments at schools to support instructional activities will receive pay for assigned hours. Long-term substitutes should remain available for direction by their supervisors, and their time will be entered and approved at the school level. Further instructions for Time & Attendance processors will be provided by the HR Business Services Office.

Parks, Libraries, and Community Centers

All Fairfax County parks, libraries, and community facilities are closed until further notice. This closure includes recreation, nature, community, resource and teen centers, golf courses, historic sites, athletic fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds, skate parks, and restrooms. Dog parks and trails remain open. Although not under Fairfax County control, it is worth noting that NOVA Park trails like the W&OD Trail are open, with park offices closed.

2020 Consensus Countdown

If you have not yet participated in the 2020 Census, please complete the questionnaire online. It only takes about five minutes, but the impact will be felt for years. For every person who is left uncounted in the 2020 Census, our region will lose $12,000 before the next census. Funding could be lost for federal student loans, highway planning and construction, Medicare, and Medicaid. Fill out your 2020 Census questionnaire today!

The Following Information is from Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn:

Public Transportation

Metro has announced service reductions and station closure to respond to the guidance of health care professionals and low ridership as people continue to practice social distancing.


  • Metrorail has closed 19 stations until further notice.
  • Trains will operate every 20 minutes on all lines except Red Line.
  • Red Line trains will operate every 15 minutes. 
  • Stations serviced by multiple lines will see trains arrive every 7-10 minutes. 
  • Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations will remain closed until further notice to keep non-essential cherry blossom travel off the rail system at this time of national emergency.


  • For more information on Metro’s adjusted schedule click here
  • All Metrobus customers enter and exit the bus using the rear doors only, except customers who require use of a wheelchair ramp, which remains available at the front door.
  • Metro is also temporarily suspending fare collection on Metrobus, as all farebox and SmarTrip equipment is located at the front door.

Virginia Railway Express

The VRE has reduced service in response to changing transportation needs and health guidelines. For the time being, VRE will run an S schedule. The number of trains in service will go from 16 to 8. 4 inbound to DC each morning and 4 outbound to outer NoVA each afternoon.

Select Businesses Remain Open

Essential businesses, as defined by the Governor, may remain open, while adhering as much as possible to social distancing guidelines and enhanced sanitizing practices. That includes grocery stores, pharmacies, beer/wine/liquor stores, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations. Many other retail businesses also qualify. If not included in this broader list, businesses must adhere to a 10-patron limit, social distancing recommendations, and enhanced social distancing guidelines. If this is not possible, the business must close.

DMV & State Safety Inspections

Virginia’s 75 DMV offices and mobile units, will be closed to the public through April 2nd. Online services will remain available.

The DMV will grant a 60-day extension for those who cannot renew online, or whose license or registration expires before May 15th. For more information regarding the DMV’s current status and transactions available online, click here for full information

INOVA Health Systems

Seven days a week from 8AM – 8PM, Inova Urgent Care Centers at Dulles South, North Arlington and Tysons staff respiratory illness clinics to evaluate all patients with respiratory illness symptoms. The clinics will be have the capacity to collect samples for individuals who have already been screened by their primary care physician, meet testing criteria and have a written order to be tested.

Dulles South 24801 Pinebrook Rd. #110 Chantilly, VA  20152 703-722-2500

  1. Arlington 4600 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA  22207 571-492-3080

Tysons 8357 Leesburg Pike Vienna, VA 22182 571-665-6440

Housing Security

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office announced it will not be executing new evictions through at least April 6th, 2020. The Sheriff’s Office has also notified the court it may extend this delay moving forward.

Additionally, on March 18th, the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days. This suspension applies to “homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage”. More information on the announcement  can be found here


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