January Newsletter

Dear Fairfax County Students, Families and Staff,

Happy new year! While we were all hoping for an easier and smoother 2022, it appears that the challenging times are not over. I know I am at times disheartened by two years of living on a hamster wheel. The extremely contagious Omicron surge has swept through our area resulting in a high number of cases and, coupled with a substitute shortage, has created operational challenges. I have to remind myself that a global pandemic can be a marathon, not a sprint and to be grateful for science, vaccinations, our FCPS community and especially our central office staff who have stepped up to substitute in our schools in addition to doing their jobs. Their efforts have helped enormously to keep classes continuing and learning happening!  Thank you also to all those in the community who have stepped up to sub. 

If you are interested in subbing or know someone who is, please go to https://www.fcps.edu/careers/career-opportunities/substitute-teaching-opportunities.  In this day and age, with staffing and sub shortages, it truly takes a village to educate our students. We hope you or someone you know can be part of this village. 

I have received a flood of emails from community members about Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order that rescinded the statewide indoor mask mandate for schools and stated that parents may elect to opt their children out of any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program. Most messages are from those who would like FCPS to maintain its universal mask mandate. I have received a smaller number of messages in support of the Executive Order. I encourage those who have thoughts about this Executive Order to share them with the Governor.

I am concerned that this Executive Order goes against the guidance of the CDC, the local health departments and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Furthermore, I have questions about how this Order interacts with the School Board’s authority under the Virginia Constitution to supervise their local school district as well as  SB1303 which requires school districts to adhere to mitigation strategies provided by the CDC to reduce transmission, to the maximum extent practicable. 

Our universal mask mandate remains in place. As we have throughout the pandemic, FCPS will share any updated information around COVID-19 protocols, as necessary. We continue to follow the guidance of our health experts with our layered prevention strategies. 

On these tough days, I remember the week before winter break when I attended several school concerts. I heard the beautiful music, I watched students joyful in making music together, and families and friends proudly filling theaters and auditoriums. Art and music can provide joy even in the hardest times. We had found a way to find joy in this new normal and I have faith we will find more moments like that despite Omicron and whatever twists and turns may come our way.

I hope that smoother days are ahead and I wish you all a healthy and happy month.

My warmest regards,


Below you will find:

  • School Board Updates
  • FCPS News
  • Community Resources
  • Performances
  • Good News!

School Board News

FY23 Budget

Dr. Brabrand presented the proposed FY23 budget at the January 13 Regular School Board meeting.  The budget includes a 4% Market Scale Adjustment (MSA) for all employees, along with a step increase for eligible employees. FCPS continues to recognize the critical role that instructional and operational staff play in our student’s success. Pay increases will also help to attract high quality substitute teachers and bus drivers.  As in previous years, FCPS looks forward to collaborating closely with the Board of Supervisors and County Executive during the County budget process.  For more information, visit the FCPS Budget Documents page.

The School Board will hold a public hearing on the budget on January 24 (register to speak), and a Work Session on February 8. The Board is scheduled to adopt the FY23 Advertised Budget on February 24. 


Capital Improvement Program Update

The School Board held a Work Session to discuss the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) on January 11.  The FCPS CIP is a planning and fiscal management tool used to coordinate the location, timing, and funding of capital projects over five years. The CIP is updated annually to reflect changing conditions within our schools and communities and builds upon the previously approved program of capital expenditures.  You can view the materials presented at that Work Session as well as a recording of the Work Session.  There will be a Public Hearing on January 27 and the School Board is expected to vote at its February 10th Regular Meeting.

Family Engagement Policy 


The Board unanimously approved the Family Engagement Policy. The purpose is to establish policy that is inclusive of all families to promote effective and meaningful family-school partnerships as an essential component in supporting student success. The policy can be viewed on Board Docs.

Boundary Study Report Presented to School Board

In February 2020, FCPS engaged with MGT Consulting Group to conduct an analysis of school boundary policies and additional best practices, educational research, and factors that could be considered for school boundary practices in order to refine FCPS Policy 8130: Facilities Planning, Local School Boundaries, Program Assignments, and School Closings

MGT presented their final report to the School Board at the December 14 Work Session. Their report includes the feedback from September’s boundary survey. Thanks to everyone in the FCPS community who participated. 

If you missed the work session, please watch the presentation for a summary of community input and results of the boundary policy study. Visit FCPS’ Boundary Policy webpage for more information.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • January 24 at 6pm - FY23 Budget Public Hearing
  • January 27 at 6pm -  CIP Public Hearing
  • January 27 at 7pm - Regular Meeting:  Calendar, PreK-2 Devices

  • January 31 at 6pm - Work Session:  Superintendent Search
  • February 8 at 11am -  Work Session FY23 Budget

  • February 10 at 7pm - Regular Meeting: CIP
  • February 22 at 11am - Work Session:  ESSER Update, Community Schools

Please note, times and topics are subject to change.

Accessing Board Meetings and Materials 


Keeping Up with COVID-19 Information


A lot of new and updated information is available for schools and families due to the current COVID-19 surge and recent changes to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Earlier FCPS shared how the new CDC recommendations for quarantine and isolation periods would affect students and staff

The Health and Safety Guidance Document on our website is your source for the most up-to-date information. 

Here are some updates and answers to common questions:

Isolation and Quarantine

We follow the CDC definitions of isolation and quarantine. Understanding the difference is helpful when determining what you need to do following a diagnosis or being named a close contact.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. When you or your child has tested positive for, or been medically diagnosed with, COVID-19, the instruction is to isolate.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who are exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. When you or your child has been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual, the instruction may be to quarantine.  

The First Step if Your Child Tests Positive or Receives a COVID-19 Diagnosis

If your child tests positive or receives a COVID-19 diagnosis, please notify your school so they can provide you with the FCPS Isolation Letter, which will include the anticipated return to school date for your child. 

The process for returning to school after a COVID-19 positive test, diagnosis, or exposure is outlined on our website.

Fully Vaccinated Students with School-related Exposures Can Be Exempt from Quarantine

Fully vaccinated students with a school-related COVID-19 exposure can be exempt from quarantine. Parents or guardians will receive the vaccination survey link in the FCPS Pause Letter provided by the school when the student is identified as a close contact. This survey is only available to school-related cases. 

Who Provides Clearance Letters

The Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) will no longer provide return to school/work letters in most cases. FCPS pause letters will now serve as return documentation for students that are close contacts. The FCPS pause letters will provide the steps students will follow to return to school. 

The FCHD will provide clearance emails ONLY to students who are exempt from quarantine (see above).

Medical Questions About COVID-19

If you have questions about COVID-19, please contact your child’s physician or the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-267-3511 (9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends). You may email ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov (monitored 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays).


Vaccination continues to be the best protection against severe illness and our best tool to end the pandemic. Vaccination is now available for adults and kids five and up. Booster shots are available for everyone 12 and up, based on your vaccine vendor and last dose. 

If you need a vaccination or booster, the Fairfax County Health Department website is a great source of information about clinics and other vaccination opportunities.


What to Expect on a Virtual Learning Inclement Weather Day  

Virtual learning will be synchronous or live, teacher-led instruction. However, teachers may prepare emergency asynchronous lessons that can be used if they have issues connecting due to power or other unforeseen circumstances.

The Inclement Weather Virtual Learning Day Schedule will be utilized. 

  • ALL Elementary Schools will begin at 10:30 a.m.
  • ALL Middle and High Schools will begin on a two-hour delay

Your school and teacher will share more specific information you need to prepare for success on an inclement weather virtual learning day.

Teachers will take attendance in SIS as they would on an in-person day. Students who are unable to connect will be marked absent, but given an opportunity to make up work.

High School Students Can Explore Career Paths at Upcoming Academy Open Houses


A high school academy is a center within an existing high school that offers students the opportunity to explore career interests. By taking advanced technical and specialized courses students gain practical skills and education to help them succeed. High school students interested in taking classes at FCPS Academies can sign up to participate in an upcoming open house to learn more about each school. 

The open house dates are:

Future Planning for Elementary and Middle School Students with Disabilities

Join Career and Transition Services (CTS) to learn about planning for life in and after high school.   A series of webinars offered in February 20222/2, 2/9, 2/16, and 2/23 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm.

It’s never too early or too late to start preparing for your future. We want to help you start planning for a successful transition from school to life as a young adult.  Ensuring postsecondary success of our students with disabilities is dependent on what is known as transition planning. Please join CTS and other support service personnel for a month of webinars focused on planning for the future.

Each week, webinar sessions will cover a range of topics: CTS programming and services for students with disabilities, short and long-term postsecondary supports, employment and postsecondary education considerations, Supported Decision Making, and student self-determination as an evidence-based predictor of post-school success.

This event also includes two evenings of student/parent panels where members describe their firsthand experiences as they navigated Fairfax County Public Schools and planning for their child’s future.

See session topics and specific dates and register online here!


2022 FCPS Summer Learning Information

Fairfax County Public Schools summer learning opportunities include a Credit Recovery Academy that offers credit recovery courses, intervention classes, and test remediation classes; programs and institutes at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology that provide credit accrual and enrichment opportunities; and Online Campus courses and classes. Career and Technical Education will offer Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance. Elementary and secondary Fine Arts and Career and Technical Education enrichment camps, institutes and academies will also be offered.

Details about 2022 enrichment camps and institutes, Online Campus, and Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance are now available on the Summer Learning webpage. Information about other programs will be posted as it becomes available.

New Fairfax County Magisterial Districts For Some Schools

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted its redistricting plan. School boundaries remain the same, but some schools may change their School Board Member representation.

Read more and see a list of impacted schools on our website.

Community Resources

SEPTA Focus Groups on Family-School Partnerships  

Fairfax County Special Education PTA (SEPTA) is hosting virtual focus groups to discuss National PTA's Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Share your experiences and your perspectives on family-school partnerships.

  • How do you want to engage with your child’s school?
  • What are the most important parts of a parent-educator relationship?

Your feedback will be used to make family-school partnerships more inclusive and impactful in FCPS. National PTA will also use your feedback to inform a set of National Standards for family-school partnerships nationwide.  Sessions last 1 hour and 15 minutes, are interactive, discussion-based, and open to all FCPS families. You do not need to be a PTA member to participate.  A small stipend will be given to the first 20 registrants per session who then attend and complete a brief survey.

Register by clicking on these links:

"Traveling While Black" Virtual Reality Experience

The McLean Community Center (MCC) will have the virtual reality (VR) experience “Traveling While Black,” which features a film by Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams, in its main lobby from Friday, December 15, 2021-Saturday, February 12, 2022. In “Traveling While Black VR,” the immersion of 360° footage draws viewers into living history lessons told around a booth in Ben’s Chili Bowl. The Washington, D.C., restaurant has been a mainstay of the African American community since 1958, bearing witness to significant Civil Rights milestones that are woven into the film in powerful snippets of footage. 

Register for a one-hour time slot at the Mclean Community Center website.


Free 1st Stage Theatre Tickets for High School Students 

The Youth Engagement Subscription (YES Pass) is a free season subscription to 1st Stage's 2021-2022 Season for all high school students who live in Fairfax County or attend a Fairfax County High School.  This offer also applies to the Fairfax County High School classes of 2019 and 2020.  Sign up for a YES Pass.


SPJ/JEA High School Essay Contest

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association (SPJ/JEA) want to increase high school students' knowledge and understanding of the importance of independent media to our lives.

Deadline: February 19, 2022More information.



Here are a few upcoming performances – I hope you have some time to check them out! Every time I attend a performance, I am amazed at how talented our students are! 

Falls Church HS:  Mamma Mia, January 27- 29.  https://fchsdrama.org/index.html 

Mamma Mia


Fairfax Academy:  Newsies, January 28-30 and February 3-5.  https://fairfaxacademy.fcps.edu/event/fairfax-academy-winter-musical-newsies#.YeHmDFJsEqY.link



Lake Braddock Secondary School Chorus Children’s Concert – January 29 at 2pm and 4pm.  https://lbchorus.org/ 

Good News!

Region 1 – Congratulations to the Cooper Middle School Band program for being selected by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to receive the 2021 Sudler Cup that recognizes junior high/middle school concert bands of outstanding musical excellence. https://www.fcps.edu/news/cooper-middle-school-band-named-winner-2021-sudler-cup-john-philip-sousa-foundation 

Region 2:  Kudos to the Thomas Jefferson HSST Assistive Technology (AT) Club who use their coding and technology skills to create activities and games to foster communication skills for non-verbal students at Freedom Hill ES and Vienna ES.  https://www.fcps.edu/blog/tjhsst-students-use-coding-and-creativity-communicate-non-verbal-elementary-students 

Region 3:  Mount Eagle ES was featured on WTOP as Principal Jean Consolla’s college-aged son stepped in to serve as a substitute over his winter break.  https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2022/01/how-a-fairfax-co-school-principals-son-helped-fill-substitute-shortage-during-winter-break/

Region 4:  Congratulations to Lake Braddock Secondary School JROTC Cadet Captain Kyle Lovejoy who took first place in the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Enhanced Cadet Award. He was selected first place for the state of Virginia for his essay on the topic "How JROTC has prepared me to be a better citizen of the United States of America.

Region 5:  Congratulations to Chantilly HS Cadet Ryan Yi who was one of only 72 students nationwide selected to attend The Aim High Flight Academy.  The Aim High Flight Academy is an Air Force program funded through civilian sources that affords the student the opportunity to earn his or her private pilot’s license.  

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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.

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