Return to School Countdown - August 31, 2020

Back to School message

Back to School Video Message from Superintendent Brabrand

Scott S. Brabrand, superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, has a message for the community as we begin the 2020-21 school year. Watch the video

August 26 Town Hall video

Return to School Town Hall to Be Held Wednesday, September 2

Join FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand for another opportunity to ask questions and provide your thoughts on Wednesday, September 2, from 6 to 7 p.m. The focus for this Town Hall will be resources for parents, including technology and other supports.

Send your questions in advance to or call into the town hall live at 1-800-231-6359. The meeting can be viewed on FCPS cable TV Channel 99 or on the FCPS website.

View last week’s town hall.  

Spanish Language Town Hall on September 1

FCPS will hold a virtual town hall in Spanish on Tuesday, September 1, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. It will be broadcast on cable TV channel 99 or on the FCPS website. It will also be shown on the FCPS Spanish Facebook page.

Tech Tips Video

New Virtual Learning Tech Tips Videos

New videos have been posted on the virtual learning playlist. They include tips on signing in, locating assignments, and submitting assignments in Google Classroom, as well as how to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (BBCU). Go to the video learning playlist

Technology Support for Families

Access videos and resources to help your student in the virtual learning environment on the Technology Support for Families webpage


Schoolwork Outside of Class Time

As we approach the first day of school, one question that has been on the minds of many is, “What will homework look like this fall?” That is an important question as we consider that we are all working from home, all day long, and we know the “school day” will feel quite different from other years.  

Mondays have been designated as a day when some students will be participating in direct instruction with teachers, but all students will be expected to complete additional assigned tasks without teacher support, much like traditional homework. These tasks may include assignments such as practice activities, readings, projects, research papers, viewing videos, assessments, computer programs, etc. Secondly, the Tuesday through Friday schedule prioritizes maximum time for teacher-student interaction, and therefore requires students to spend a significant part of the day online. In consideration for student health and wellness, we will need to be mindful of the expectations for students to engage in additional work in the evenings. 

Schools have been provided the following weekly guidelines for work being completed outside of scheduled class time:  

Elementary Students

  • PreK-2: 150 minutes (2.5 hours) to be completed on Mondays.
  • Gr 3-6: 180 minutes (3 hours) to be completed on Mondays.
  • Time would be reduced for students participating in Monday intervention at the discretion of the teacher.
  • Homework will not be assigned Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. 

Secondary Students 

  • Standard/Honors: Total of 60 minutes per course per week. 
  • Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, and International Baccalaureate: total 75 minutes per course per week.
  • Completed on each Monday or other times on a limited basis.

Of course, not all elementary and secondary students work at the same speed and therefore teachers will use these guidelines and their professional judgement to make reasonable assignments that prioritize the most essential learning for our students. If you are finding that your child is experiencing difficulties with completing assignments, please do not hesitate to contact the teacher or encourage your child to talk with the teacher. 

Return to School: Supports for Students with Disabilities

Check out the FCPS web page for information on distance learning supports for students with disabilities. This page covers a wide range of topics, including information for parents of students in grades PreK-12, accessing instruction in school-based programs, as well as information around nontraditional school programs, public day and career center programs, homebound and home-based instruction, and multi-agency services.   

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Healthy Minds Podcast: A Healthy Start to the School Year

As we countdown to the first day of virtual school, some families may be feeling anxious about this change to the normal routine. In this week's Healthy Minds podcast we hear from Bethany Koszelak, a mental health specialist for FCPS. Bethany talks to us about self-care and mental wellness practices families can use to cope with any stress they might be experiencing. She also has some advice for parents about how to speak with their children about their feelings.

From the Healthy Minds Blog: Supporting Your Children at Home During Virtual Learning

As we return to school on September 8 for the start of the 2020-21 school year, all students will participate in virtual learning. While teachers are working hard to improve lessons and delivery of instruction, here are some strategies that may help support your children at home during virtual learning.

FCPS Names Gautam Sethi as New Chief Information Officer

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand has named Gautam Sethi, who currently serves as chief technology officer for the Douglas County (Colo.) School District, as the chief information officer overseeing the Department of Information Technology, effective September 21.

Learn more about Gautam Sethi.

Fairfax County Immunization Clinics

To help parents whose children need immunizations required for enrollment for the 2020-21 school year, the Fairfax County Health Department is offering community childhood vaccination clinics plus expanded hours to provide the Tdap vaccine at three clinics. 

Mental Health Resources and 24-7 Emergency Numbers

If you are in a mental health crisis, text NEEDHELP to 85511, call 1-800-273-TALK, or dial 911; TTY dial 711.

CrisisLink Regional Hotline: 703-527-4077(CrisisLink is a hotline for individuals in crisis or family and friends seeking guidance for how to help a loved one.)

Dominion Hospital Assessment and Referral Line: 703-536-2000.

Inova Emergency Services: 703-289-7560.

Mobile Crisis Unit: 1-844-627-4747.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE.

Merrifield Center Emergency Services: 703-573-5679; TTY dial 711 (The Merrifield Center of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, offers a range of clinical programming. Emergency Services, staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week, works with people in psychiatric crisis who need immediate attention.)

Plan D Nova: (A website for Northern Virginia teens who suffer from depression: #breakthestigma.)


FCPS in the News

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