September Updates

Dear Dranesville Families:

Finishing up week three, we are moving along in the school year and there is lots happening in the next few weeks and new resources coming up all the time. 

Last night, Dr. Brabrand presented an update on Return to School, COVID and Health Updates. This included the latest health metrics, and a plan for learning resources under consideration to support students who are home due to a COVID-related pause, quarantine, or isolation. Watch the 9/9 School Board meeting here. Please continue keeping your students home when they are sick as this can make a huge difference.

We are working with transportation to lessen the double back routes and our recent School Board approval of increased bus driver hourly rates and signing bonuses will hopefully bring in more drivers soon. Thank you for keeping me apprised of your bussing issues. I am happy to hear that Kiss and Ride times have improved significantly over the past week. Thank you for following all the directions for Kiss and Ride to keep our students safe.  

FCSP is moving forward with the Boundary Policy Review (Policy 8130, Facilities Planning, Local School Boundaries, Program Assignments, and School Closings)  In July 2019, the Board requested the Superintendent hire an outside consultant to work with the Board to identify best practices in boundary policy and engage the community in the discussion. MGT Consulting Group (MGT), an education consulting firm, will be sharing information about the boundary policy review at three upcoming community meetings and seeking community input in a survey. See the meeting times and how to register below.

There are currently no plans or discussions to change any specific boundaries, for example, between Langley and Herndon High pyramids.  The boundary change between the Langley and McLean High pyramids is complete. 

The public input coming up this month will be key in determining any direction the Board will take in any policy revisions.  Please make a point to participate. The next step will be a presentation to the board from the consultants and board discussion currently planned for a work session on December 14. 

I continue to visit schools and am so impressed with the administration, staff, teachers and students. I am really looking forward to volunteering tomorrow, September 11, at Dranesville ES and Lemon Road ES and will be at Celebrate McLean next Friday at McLean HS.

I also want to wish our Jewish families a meaningful Yom Kippur.  


Calendar Reminder-Religious and Cultural Observance Day: Thursday, September 16, Yom Kippur

Thursday, September 16, is Yom Kippur (a Religious and Cultural Observance day). Tests, quizzes, field trips, graduation, homecoming, or FCPS-scheduled athletic events cannot be scheduled on any religious and cultural observances. Tests and quizzes will be given prior to any of the 15 days, so that students will not be expected to study on these days.


Provide Input on Boundary Policy Review at a Virtual Community Meeting

The Fairfax County School Board is in the process of reviewing Policy 8130, Facilities Planning, Local School Boundaries, Program Assignments, and School Closings

In July 2019, the Board requested the Superintendent hire an outside consultant to work with the Board to identify best practices in boundary policy and engage the community in the discussion.

MGT Consulting Group (MGT), an education consulting firm, will be sharing information about the boundary policy review at three upcoming community meetings and seeking community input in a survey. 

You are invited to attend a virtual community meeting. Each meeting will provide the same information and use the same format. No specific boundary changes will be discussed at the meetings. The meeting dates are:  

  • Monday, September 13, 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 14, 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Monday, September 20, 7 to 8 p.m.

Please register online to receive the meeting link and indicate if you need an interpreter

MGT will send all FCPS parents an email with the survey link to collect input. The community meetings will not be discussing any boundary changes for any schools within FCPS. The information shared will focus on what factors should be considered when making boundary changes. 

More information about the Boundary Policy Review is available online

Health and Safety Guidance & Protocols- Keeping our Schools Safe

NEW- COVID Contact Vaccination Verification form

Parents and guardians who have been notified by their child’s school that their child is a potential close contact will need to complete the COVID Contact Vaccination Verification form if their child is fully vaccinated. You will be able to access this form through a link that will be embedded in the pause letter sent to all parents and guardians whose child has been identified as a potential close contact to a positive case.  

In the COVID Contact Vaccination Verification form, parents and guardians will need to take two steps:

  1. First, you will provide proof of your child’s vaccination status by electronically uploading the vaccination record or card. 
  2. Then you will complete a Health Department survey to confirm the child is asymptomatic, if appropriate.

The Health Department will quickly verify the information provided and send a personalized student clearance letter to the parent/guardian who completed the survey. 

Pausing, Quarantining, and Isolating 

FCPS’ layered prevention strategies are working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. See Dr. Brabrand’s update from the 9/9 School Board Regular meeting for the latest data and news. Pausing, quarantining, and isolating are tools we use to keep schools safe when a positive COVID-19 case is reported. FCPS’ goal is to keep students learning in-person all year. 

FCPS is committed to providing students with opportunities to remain engaged in learning when they are in a pause, quarantine, or isolation period. This chart outlines the ways students receive instruction and materials.

The Fairfax County Health Department has a new website Guidance for Parents of School-aged Children. This site has many FAQs around schools, students, and COVID. 


A pause to in-person instruction is a short-term safety measure used by FCPS and the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) to allow time to investigate and determine the safest way to address a positive case within our school community. The pause will be initiated by the FCHD for anyone who interacted with an individual who reported a positive COVID-19 case.

  • A pause typically lasts between 24-48 hours while FCHD verifies vaccination status and completes contact tracing.
  • Vaccination status may reduce the time spent in a pause, but must be verified every time an individual is put on a pause. 
  • The FCHD does not accept a negative COVID-19 test to release an individual from the pause. 
  • You will be contacted by the FCHD with a date they can return to school or work.
  •  This flowchart best explains what happens when there is a pause.

Close Contact

A close contact is defined as someone who has spent more than 15 minutes during a 24-hour period within 6 feet of someone who has tested positive. 


In a school setting, the close contact definition  excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet on an infected student when:

  • Both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks, AND
  • Other K-12 prevention strategies were in place in the K-12 school setting.

This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting, nor does it apply to the student if their contact was one of these exempt groups.


Quarantine separates people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are not yet sick. People who are in quarantine need to stay home for 14 days from the date of their last exposure to a sick individual and monitor for symptoms. The Health Department will notify them when they are released. It is important that schools, the staff, and the student body accept that person back into the school community without fear or stigma. 


Isolation separates those diagnosed with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. People who are in isolation should stay at home in a separate room in the house to prevent infecting others. Isolation can end when an individual has not had a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND has had improving symptoms AND it is 10 days from their onset of symptoms. For individuals who tested positive but never had symptoms, isolation can end 10 days after the positive test. At this point the Health Department will notify them they are released. 

COVID Dashboard

All FCPS COVID-19 cases are reported via a dashboard posted to the FCPS website and updated daily. Click FCPS Covid-19 Dashboard for more information. 

Student-Athlete Vaccination Requirement

Fairfax County Public Schools requires student-athletes be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus for the winter and spring sports seasons as an additional safety measure to support our layered prevention strategies.

Thanks for your patience while we worked out the operational aspects of this new requirement. Read the FAQs to learn more about the timeline, how vaccination status will be verified, exceptions, safety, and more.

McLean SCC

Safe Community Coalition's: Panel Discussion Back to School Anxiety

The return to school is often accompanied by a myriad of emotions…excitement, nervousness, anxiety, you name it! And certainly, this year is no exception.

Recognizing that we all may be more anxious than usual, the Safe Community Coalition (SCC) is proud to offer an online panel discussion with local mental health professionals Jennifer Weaver, Mimi Weisberg, and Robyne Davis on Tuesday, September 21 at 7 p.m. The panel will discuss Back to School Anxiety and offer concrete ways you can help get the school year off to a great start.  The link to the FREE webinar can be found on the SCC website

Dranesville Student and School News

Max Feinberg American Ninja Warrior

Max Feinberg, a McLean High School student, competed on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior."  (Photo courtesy of Brooke Michiels)

Max Feinstein- 2021 American Ninja Warrior competition

Max made it through Stage 1 with 9 seconds to spare! Watch his Stage 1 run on Ninja Warrior- Season 13 episode 10- Max's run is at 1 hour 1 minute.) Max’s Stage 2 of the American Ninja Warrior finals is on Ninja Warrior- Season 13 episode 11- Max's run is at 1 hour 15 minutes.) Congratulations Max on getting so far!  Read more about Max and his preparation in this June 2021 McLean Patch article.

Lindsay Benedict

Congratulations Ms. Benedict!

The Journalism Education Association  awarded McLean HS teacher Lindsay Benedict the Special Recognition Broadcast Adviser! Read more here.

National Science Bee 2021 (6th grade) winner- Hridhaan Banerjee

Hridhaan Banerjee (7th grader at Cooper) won the National Science Bee 2021 (Sixth grade) competition. The regional competition was held online in May 2021, and the nationals was a in-person event on 3rd September with 32 competitors from all over the country. Hridhaan’s calm and focused demeanor avoided any negative scoring in the finals, and helped him win the competition.

Hridhaan Banerjee (7th grader at Cooper) 2021National science Bee winner

Seeking High Schoolers for Environmental Leadership Opportunity

Riverbend Park will host a retreat for students who wish to make a difference in their communities through environmental leadership and service. The Environmental Student Leadership Initiative (ESLI) is a Fairfax County Park Authority supported volunteer team that seeks to empower the community through environmental action. The ESLI Retreat will take place on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Riverbend Park Outdoor Classroom (8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls, Virginia.) Participants must register by Sept. 22, 2021. For more information and to register, visit the ESLI event page

The FCPS Special Education Handbook is Available to Families

English             عربي                  한국인                  Española          Tiếng Việt

The Special Education Handbook for Parents includes details of the special education process. This process occurs sequentially, over a period of time, with each step building upon the previous step(s).

It is important for families to understand how the special education process works, so they can effectively participate and collaborate with school staff members in making appropriate decisions regarding their child’s educational needs. Families are an integral part of the decision-making team.

Contact the PRC at 703-204-3941 or with any questions including access to these documents.

Community News

Volunteer/Service Learning Opportunities for Patriot Day, A National Day of Service and Remembering

VolunteerFest, a countywide day of service will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021, to coincide with Patriot Day, a National Day of Service and Remembering. Participating students will earn service learning hours and support their community. Make it a family day of service! Sign up to volunteer at Volunteer Fairfax’s VolunteerFest 2021.

Stuff the Bus on September 11 and October 9

On Saturday, September 11, and Saturday, October 9, Stuff the Bus will be collecting non-perishable food donations at McLean Government Center, Great Falls Grange, and 19 other locations throughout Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. Help fight hunger and feed hope in our community by donating. For updates, including donation locations, most requested food items and more, visit here.

Stuff the Bus

Countywide Strategic Plan Virtual Meeting

Please join Supervisor John Foust for a virtual Community Update and Feedback Forum for the Dranesville community on the future of Fairfax County on Wednesday, September 15th from 7 – 8:30 p.m. To register, click here

What issues do you think are most important for Fairfax County over the next 10 years?

Through extensive community engagement prior to the pandemic and throughout 2021, the Countywide Strategic Plan charts a path for the future of Fairfax County focused on the following nine priority areas:

  • Cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • Economic opportunity.
  • Effective and efficient government.
  • Empowerment and support for residents facing vulnerability.
  • Health and environment.
  • Housing and neighborhood livability.
  • Lifelong education and learning.
  • Mobility and transportation.
  • Safety and security.

Please share your input as Fairfax County government continues to develop the Countywide Strategic Plan. The fourth Community Survey is now available in multiple languages. The survey closes on Friday, September 24. To learn more, check out this short video or visit the Countywide Strategic Plan website.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • September 21 at 10am - Work Session-  Special Education Audit and Return to School
  • September 23 at 7pm - Regular Meeting

How to watch meetings and sign up to speak

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.

© 2021 Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia