Reston, VA

Fairfax County Public Schools invites the local community to a virtual town hall on Wednesday.

FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand will discuss the virtual return to school on Sep. 8 and address any questions. The event plans to run from 6-7 p.m.

People interested in viewing can watch via the livestream or on Channel 99. Questions regarding the virtual start to the school year can be sent to [email protected] or to 1-800-231-6359.

According to a recent message from Brabrand, weekly town halls will resume starting with tomorrow’s town hall.

Image via Fairfax County Public Schools

0 Comments

Fairfax County Public Schools’ superintendent said he is committed to tackling racism in the public school system during a town hall last night.

The Fairfax County NAACP met with FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand to talk about how to address systemic racism going into the 2020-2021 school year.

The discussion between Sujatha Hampton, the Fairfax County NAACP’s education chair, and Brabrand, along with several other guests, focused on a list of priorities from Fairfax County NAACP to address equity.

Brabrand repeated throughout the town hall that he was ready to be held accountable for making change. “We need to be more comfortable feeling uncomfortable,” Brabrand said at the end of the meeting.

The town hall began with a discussion on COVID-19 and the status of reopening schools. On July 21, Brabrand announced that schools would be opening virtually on Sept. 8. Hampton made it clear that it will be essential to address the inequities that online learning presents in minority communities.

What would an anti-racist school system look like and how can FCPS strive for that? Hampton had several proposals.

One would address the scope of the chief equity officer position within the county, with Hampton noting the importance of hiring someone with “anti-racist” policies versus a traditional hire for the position.

Hampton’s proposed job description included conveying “transformational leadership” and having “successful experience as a change agent.”

“Anti-racism is a fairly new thing for systems to be considering,” said Hampton when emphasizing the importance of radical change with leadership.

Another priority is creating an anti-racist curriculum. FCPS Social Studies Coordinator Colleen Eddy said that they are already in the process of auditing the existing curriculum.

A major topic of discussion was the disproportionate discipline statistics in the county’s schools. Hampton presented a series of data points showcasing the high number of Black students receiving referrals for “disruptive behavior” versus their peers. FCPS Deputy Superintendent Frances Ivey agreed that it’s time to reinforce positive behavior rather than disciplining students.

Hampton also discussed the lack of Black teachers and principles within the school system and emphasized the importance of creating a data-driven plan to hire more Black teachers in a transparent way. She said the culture of a school stems from a principal, and it is “criminal” to give kids a racist principal.

“I want everyone to remember that these are actual children’s lives,” Hampton said.

Photo via Sam Balye/Unsplash

0 Comments

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand says that the decision for a virtual start to school on Sept. 8 was largely motivated by the health risks associated with COVID-19.

In a letter sent to parents Tuesday, Brabrand said that while cases are relatively stable in Fairfax County, precautionary steps are necessary to ensure the safety of staff and students. FCPS initially planned a hybrid approach of in-person and virtual instruction — a decision that was reversed by Brabrand in late July. The Fairfax County School Board approved the change July 22.

“As educators, there is nothing we want more than to have all students back in school. This school year will be a challenge for us all, but we are doing everything possible to ensure a high-quality education through virtual learning to start the year,” Brabrand said.

Brabrand also said staffing challenges complicated the transition to in-person learning, including the limited availability of substitutes and more leave of absence requests by teachers and other staff.

FCPS staff are developing metrics to determine when and if schools can reopen. Factors under consideration include the trajectory of cases, access to testing, and impact on staff and operations. More details are expected in mid-August, he said.

The school system also plans to provide laptops to all students to use for online learning. Schools will provide information on laptop distribution if a student does not already have an FCPS laptop.

Brabrand said his staff is also exploring ways to boost technical support for families and students, including a help desk for parents. All athletic seasons are also delayed until December.

The entire letter, which includes more details on class schedules and a commitment to more communication, is posted online.

Image via Fairfax County Public Schools

0 Comments

Fairfax County NAACP announced a new virtual town hall to discuss system racism in public schools with Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand.

Brabrand was originally going to co-host a town hall on the topic with Fairfax NAACP on July 21. He dropped out of the event, which took place the same night the county’s school board reconsidered reopening plans for schools.

Fairfax NAACP pivoted and used the town hall on July 21 to unveil the organization’s priorities for combatting racism in schools. Fairfax NAACP President Sean Perryman said during the event that the organization would work to reschedule the discussion with Brabrand.

Now, Brabrand and Fairfax NAACP are scheduled to host a town hall from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5. People can watch the event on Facebook Live.

“One topic that will be discussed is the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” Fairfax NAACP posted on Facebook, sharing a YouTube video by The Root, a Black-oriented online magazine, that explains how the School-to-Prison Pipeline works.

Here’s the event description:

From academic achievement, enrollment at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, to the School Resource Officer program and the school-to-prison pipeline, systemic racism effects our children’s lives every day. This will be a civil discourse where we can openly talk about our and our kids’ experiences, ask questions, and talk about what change looks like.

Photo via Sam Balye/Unsplash

0 Comments

The deadline is nearing for families to decide how they want their kids to return to Fairfax County public schools this year.

Families have until Wednesday, July 15, to complete a form indicating whether they want their kids to take fully online classes or join a hybrid model combining in-person and online learning.

Families who pick the fully online option would have four days of synchronous learning. The hybrid model would combine two days of learning in schools with asynchronous online learning.

Superintendent Scott Brabrand has said that the school system will consider adding more in-person days — not to exceed four — depending on the demand for the hybrid model.

For families who are having trouble deciding, Brabrand encourages parents to see how their kids react to wearing a face covering for six hours — the amount of time they would need to wear it while at school.

No matter which option parents pick, students will return to the county’s public schools on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Let us know in the poll below what your preference is for students returning to school this fall.

Photo via Element5 Digital/Unsplash

0 Comments

Superintendent Scott Brabrand said during a town hall last night that he plans to ask the Fairfax County School Board this week to delay the start of the school year to after Labor Day.

Brabrand kicked off the town hall by saying that families will now have until Wednesday, July 15, instead of Friday, July 10, to pick whether they prefer four days of synchronous online learning or two days of in-person learning with asynchronous online learning.

Brabrand said that he wants to extend the start date to Tuesday, Sept. 8, to give principals more time to prepare, because the survey deadline is getting extended. The pushed back start date this fall would not lengthen the school year, Brabrand said, adding that he wants teachers and staff to return at the normally scheduled times to get a head start on planning and reaching out to families.

During the town hall, audience members called and emailed in questions asking about what the two learning options will look like, COVID-19 safety measures and what to do about childcare. Here’s what the superintendent said.

Safety Measures for Students and Staff

Brabrand said that more health and safety protocols, including recess and playground equipment, are expected to get released later this week. Currently, he knows students and staff will be asked to wear face coverings in schools.

The schools will not check every child’s temperature, but will check if a kid shows up without a mask, he said, adding that parents will be expected to complete a form daily about whether or not their kids have COVID-19 symptoms.

Students who show COVID-19 symptoms in class will be sent to the clinic and then possibly have to wait in an isolation room before their parents come to pick them up, he said. For COVID-19 cases, schools would decide on a case by case basis what to do after the contract tracing investigation, he said.

Brabrand urged families are struggling to decide between the two options to see how their kids respond to wearing masks for six hours.

What School Will Look Like 

Brabrand stressed that FCPS will remain flexible if the pandemic dramatically worsens or improves, but he said that he wants to curb parents going back and forth on in-person vs. online learning during the school year.

“We’ve never had to create two separate school systems before, ever,” Brabrand said.

While he wants parents to stick to their choice for the entire school year, he said that the schools will consider emergency situations on a case by cases and school by school basis.

Depending on how many families select in-person vs. online learning, Brabrand said that additional in-person days might be offered. Even if FCPS increases in-person learning, teachers would have Mondays reserved for planning and additional time to work with students who are struggling.

“We know that for families who want in-person, they want as much in person as possible,” Brabrand said.

Brabrand said that capacity is the key reason FCPS won’t offer five days of in-person learning.

The schedules for the two days of in-person learning would work alphabetically by last name so that families with kids in multiple grades would go to school on the same days, Sloan Presidio, the assistant superintendent for instructional services, said last night.

Currently, the school system is trying to figure out to maximize learning space for students. Brabrand said that he’s working with principals to consider temporary learning space outside. The weather, though, could pose obstacles, he added. School cafeterias are also places that might turn into classrooms this fall, Brabrand said.

As for online learning, families can expect FCPS teachers to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Google Classroom for video conferencing, Brabrand said, adding that FCPS has plans to use a new platform called Schoology.

Childcare Concerns

Several callers raised concerns about childcare when deciding which learning option to pick, saying that their childcare centers don’t have plans yet for the fall and that they don’t know how the synchronous online learning would work if both parents work during the day.

Presidio said that FCPS is planning to have several hours of learning for kindergarten students in the morning, but that families should check with their schools’ principals to find out what the schedules would look like.

While FCPS is working with the county and private childcare providers, Brabrand said that childcare challenges are outside the scope of what the school system can accomplish in a few months.

“I know childcare remains one of the critical issues,” Brabrand said, adding he would like to see faith communities offer more support.

Brabrand said that people can expect future town halls — including Spanish language, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and Special Education PTA ones — and more information on health and safety guidelines.

Image via Fairfax County Public Schools

0 Comments

Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has three scenarios for reopening schools this fall.

In May, a task force was created to prepare recommendations for FCPS reopening. On June 9, Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled his phased reopening plan, which provides flexibility for schools in Virginia.

The school board discussed the proposed Return to School plan, which includes three reopening scenarios, Monday afternoon.

The three scenarios are:

  1. virtual learning for all students
  2. in-school learning with health and social distancing
  3. online learning for students with a high risker of severe illness

In the first scenario, students would not be allowed in buildings but the staff would be. Students would have four days of synchronous learning per week and one day of asynchronous learning.

Meanwhile, the second scenario has two proposals for attendance in the buildings at any one time — 50% and 25%.

In-school learning would include cleaning of high-touch areas, daily health screening forms, social distancing in classrooms and on buses and restricting buildings to visitors.

Finally, the third scenario would make groups of students and teachers for online instruction. With the online model, students would receive four days of synchronous learning per week and one day of asynchronous learning.

Additionally, FCPS has proposals for what would happen if the pandemic prompted another shutdown. The plan also mentions shared elements of the three scenarios — middle and high school students having access to laptops via FCPSOn — and how they address equity.

Discussion during the meeting noted that FCPS needs to prepare for the possibility that more than one scenario might happen, especially if there’s a resurgence of COVID-19.

How to keep students and staff dominated the school board’s discussion.

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, the director of the Fairfax County Health Department, said that there aren’t plans to test students prior to them coming back to school. Addo-Ayensu noted that screening forms are a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Addo-Ayensu and Benjamin Schwartz, a medical epidemiologist with Fairfax County, said that data on the impact of COVID-19 on kids is limited.

They said that the infection rate is unknown for kids and added that information is emerging on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome of Children (MIS-C) — a rare but serious COVID-19 complication.

Input from local health data and the Fairfax County Department of Health will inform the final decisions, according to the plan.

“You’re talking hundreds and hundreds of kids coming in at once,” Superintendent Scott Brabrand said, adding that social distancing cannot be guaranteed in schools.

Brabrand said that safety procedures are also important for retaining staff: “We don’t want folks resigning.”

FCPS is looking to get face shields for bus drivers and special education teachers, Brabrand noted. Ricardy Anderson, the representative for the Mason District, called for teachers to receive face shields as well.

If FCPS decides to go with an in-person reopening that alternates days for students, childcare could become an issue for families.

Dranesville District Representative Elaine Tholen suggested that FCPS coordinate with the Fairfax County Park Authority so that families and staff have childcare options.

Tholen proposed a “creative idea” to turn outdoor space at the schools and nearby parks into childcare centers contained in tents, adding that kids could access WiFi outside the schools.

Brabrand and Hunter Mill District Representative Melanie Meren agreed that more childcare is needed, with Brabrand calling it a “great idea.”

As FCPS moves forward with plans for the fall, the school board is aware that the botched rollout of online learning this spring puts more pressure on the school system to get the reopening right.

“We can’t risk another failure like we did before,” Providence District Representative Karl Frisch said.

Brabrand addressed the criticism of the distance learning attempts, saying it’s important that FCPS does not overpromise and under-deliver: “We did that before.”

Families will have several opportunities to provide feedback on the recommendations ahead of the deadline for FCPS to announce a reopening decision on June 26.

FCPS plans to host a town hall on Tuesday, June 16, that will talk about the Return to School plans. The town hall is set to run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and will include Brabrand, the assistant superintendent of Facilities and Transportation Services and the manager of School Health Services.

People can also submit feedback by emailing the superintendent at [email protected] and fill out a survey.

FCPS also plans to hold a virtual public hearing on the Return to School plans at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 18. People can register online to speak.

Photo via Element5 Digital/Unsplash, infographics via FCPS

0 Comments

Friday Morning Notes

Northern Virginia Enters Phase Two — “Eating inside a restaurant, going back to the gym and in-person worship services: Starting Friday, all of these activities will be allowed for residents of Northern Virginia as the region enters phase two of reopening. Businesses and houses of worship will have to adhere to safety standards and capacity limits to lessen the threat that customers could spread coronavirus. Virginia advises that you’re still safer at home.” [NBC4]

The Return to School — Fairfax County Public Schools’ Superintendent Scott Brabrand says that he plans to present the school system’s plan to the school board on Monday. Schools are expected to offer a mix of in-person and online learning. [FCPS]

Deadline for Boat Permits Nears — The registration and renewal deadline for permanent mooring permits is June 30. Reston Association will conduct annual boat monitoring and inspections after June 30. [Reston Association]

Members Sought for Covenants Committee — RA is also seeking members to fill three seats on the committee for a three-year term. The committee administers the use and maintenance of covenants in Reston’s deed. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

0 Comments

While seniors at public schools in Fairfax County may have to wait until the fall for ceremonies, they will have opportunities this spring to celebrate finishing high school.

In a message to families yesterday, Superintendent Scott Brabrand shared that the school board has agreed to his proposals on how to recognize graduating seniors.

“We are committed to celebrating our seniors in the safest and most personalized manner possible,” Brabrand said. “We share the disappointment that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closure placed on our senior class.”

Instead of in-person ceremonies this spring, the high schools will schedule individual graduate photo opportunities starting in June where the student and a small group of family members can watch the student get their diploma and have their photo taken.

Fairfax County Public Schools also plans to produce a celebration video with videos submitted by students. Brabrand said that the video will be available for free to everyone in the class of 2020.

If COVID-19 does not pose a health risk in the fall, each school may schedule an in-person ceremony, Brabrand said.

He noted that state health department data indicates that summer ceremonies would “pose too many health risks and too much uncertainty with regard to social distancing requirements and restrictions on large gatherings.” More details will be announced around Labor Day.

“If a fall in-person ceremony cannot be held for health and safety reasons, then we will consider scheduling the face to face ceremony in the winter or next spring,” Brabrand said.

Photo via Tai’s Captures/Unsplash

0 Comments

Fairfax County school board members expressed major dismay over the botched rollout of the school system’s first week of distance learning, including security issues and technical problems with Blackboard’s system.

At an online meeting today (Thursday), school officials acknowledged the school’s leadership failed to ensure adequate security measures were in place when students and teachers logged on to online sessions.

Teacher-led distance learning was canceled this week due to technical issues the school system is working to resolve.

FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand told the school board today that the issues have been two-fold: capacity and load issues on Blackboard’s end and failures to implement and monitor security protocol by FCPS.

Security Issues

Sloan Presidio, the school system’s assistant superintendent for instructional services, described security issues as a “leadership failure.”

“We failed to properly train the staff,” Presidio said, adding that the school’s leadership did not communicate how teachers should properly set up online sessions and make sure security settings were in place.

In some cases, students were able to set up and run unmonitored chat sessions that were not seen by moderators. Some students were able to log on with fake names and upload inappropriate photos.

“We absolutely share the concern and the dismay at some of the behavior that was reported,” Tim Tomlinson, Blackboard’s chief product officer, said. “It’s unconscionable.”

Although instructors were given guidance on how to maintain security and set up online sessions, school officials said the information was not properly disseminated. Once school officials were made aware of security issues, additional guidance on security was provided.

School board member Megan McLaughlin said she was “shocked” the 10th largest school system in the country did not conduct load testing prior to the launch of the system.

“There is no getting around it,” McLaughlin said.

Blackboard Problems 

In addition to security challenges, the system experience log-in issues on the first day of learning, following by problems associated with Blackboard’s servers. The Reston-based company is working on upgrades to the system to resolve ongoing issues.

Tomlinson said that Blackboard “had no indication that these problems would occur” and shared a statement from the company apologizing for the disruption.

“We are working with FCPS to require students to log in to the FCPS 24-7 site and authenticate their identity before they are permitted to join a virtual classroom,” according to the Blackboard statement.

Tomlinson also noted that FCPS chose not to update its software for three years to the latest system. Seven updates were publicly available but not applied, he said.

But Maribeth Luftglass, assistant superintendent of the school system’s department of information technology, noted that the school system was never told those upgrades were required for performance purposes, especially prior to the launch of distance learning. She also added that the system was due for a planned upgrade this June.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hit locally, the school system had plans in place to replace Blackboard Learn, a virtual learning environment, with Schoology, another distance learning tool operated by PowerSchool Unified Classroom, over the next two years.

The school system hopes to pilot the system in the fall.

School Board Responds   

School board members also questioned why distance learning proceeded if there was indication there were technical problems prior the launch. Several of the members urged FCPS to consider learning alternatives, like resources from Google.

“If Blackboard can’t handle this, lets try Google” Laura Jane Cohen, who represents the Springfield District. “Everyone has worked too hard to make this happen.”

According to the presentation, less than half of the teachers have Google Classroom sites, which could be used as a learning supplement.

“There would be significant teacher training required and additional workload on teachers to create these sites,” the presentation said. “Additionally, Google Classroom is not linked to the student information system and teachers would have to manually create courses.”

The presentation notes that students and teachers have equal permissions on Google Meet, which could let students override teacher content, and that guest access is allowed.

“Additionally, Google engineers expressed concern about handling the volume of FCPS users,” the presentation said.

Other school board members said a two-hour delay in instructor-led learning on Wednesday was not communicated effectively to the school community.

Brabrand apologized for not making the “right call” when he called for the two-hour delay.

“We could have communicated it better,” Brabrand said, adding that his mistake “caused undue confusion for our teachers and our principals.”

Next Steps 

Blackboard is currently working on software patches this week to address the capacity issues behind the login difficulties, Luftglass said.

On April 14, Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, a real-time video conferencing tool, were linked with a new feature that will only allow students enrolled in a class to join the class session and ban guest access, school officials said. Additionally, a back-up plan is being developed using Collaborate Ultra, they said.

FCPS aims to resume its synchronous learning on April 20.

Catherine Douglas Moran contributed reporting

Image via FCPS

0 Comments

Although schools will remain closed through the academic year due to a state order, Fairfax County Public Schools will kick off distance learning on April 14.

Beginning next week, teachers will receive virtual training to begin the transition. Last week, elementary and middle school principals met with the school system’s leadership to receive updates on the overall plan for resuming instruction.

“Launching a distance learning plan to reach 189,000 students that engages nearly 16,000 classroom teachers is a complex challenge. We acknowledge that distance learning cannot reasonably replace daily in-person instructional programs, and we will not be trying to replicate the regular school day,” FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabard wrote in a letter to parents yesterday (Thursday).

The board is will consider the distance learning plan, graduation requirements and other matters related to COVID-19 at a special meeting today (Friday) at 11 a.m.

Challenges to transition to distance learning include how to best support special student populations, receiving copyright permissions to broadcast and print materials, and the limited availability of technology for learning.

The proposal includes closing all third-quarter grades as of March 13 and assigning a “no mark” for the fourth quarter to “allow students’ work in the 4th quarter to positively influence their final grades” for high school and middle school students.

For elementary school students, no fourth-quarter grades will be assigned “due to equity issues of access to technology and limited student ability to submit work.”

The Virginia Department of Education says it will ensure seniors who are on-track to graduate as of the school systems’ closure will graduate on time.

High school students will participate in teacher-led instruction and independent learning. Teachers are expected to contact students beginning next week.

Middle school students will receive learning packets for language arts, math, science, and social studies. Virtual, teacher-led instruction will be conducted for these four classes. Teachers for electives will post learning activities to Blackboard.

Elementary school students will also distribute learning packets to students beginning this week. Teacher-student engagement online will be emphasized, as well as teacher check-ins, phone calls and emails with students. Parents will also receive a published schedule of instruction from school principals.

Draft proposals before the board on learning schedules are below.

Students enrolled in special education programs will have access to resources online as well. More information about other programs, including guidance for English to Speakers of Others Languages, is available online.

The distribution of 15,000 wireless hotspots and laptops for students in need has already begun. Braband said other details on the distance learning plan are expected to be released in the coming days.

0 Comments

Friday Morning Notes

 

FCPS Update from Superintendent — In an email sent to parents last night, Superintendent Scott Braband said that the school system will pivot to distance learning if schools are not open by April 14. Over the next two weeks, distance learning training for teachers will begin. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Federal Disaster Loans Available for Small Businesses  Businesses and nonprofit organizations in Virginia can now only for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million. [Small Business Administration]

Support Local Businesses — Owners of several local businesses urged customers to continue supporting them by purchasing food and other items via curbside pickup, delivery, carryout, or online services. [YouTube]

Trouble with Reston Association Login— If members have trouble logging into their WebTrac account, they should email [email protected] with their name, property address or account number. [WebTrac]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

0 Comments

Friday Morning Notes

Submission Call: Mary B. Howard Invitational — Greater Reston Arts Center and ‘sindikit invite artist to submit proposals for an upcoming exhibition. The submission should involve the creation of a new project that references an artwork the artist has made in the past. The deadline for proposals is March 15. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Reminder: Look Out for Census 2020 Mail –Residents should check their mail to see if they’ve received a Census invitation, which could arrive anytime between today and April 1. [Fairfax County Government]

In Case You Missed It: Schools Close Today — Fairfax County Public Schools will close today (Friday). At a press conference yesterday evening, FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand initially said there was no plan to close schools due to the limited spread of coronavirus.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

0 Comments

(Updated at 6:40 a.m.)

In a late-night decision, Fairfax County Public Schools will close today (Friday) and Monday off so staff can prepare for distance learning due to the recent spread of the coronavirus.

“During the past several hours we continue to hear genuine concerns from parents about keeping our schools open while the coronavirus response escalates around the country.  Schools are closing in Maryland and several other states and a state of emergency was declared in Virginia.  As a result, and in an abundance of caution, I believe it is prudent for FCPS to cancel school tomorrow to help ease parent, staff, and student anxiety,” Superintendent Scott Brabrand wrote in a letter to parents last night.

The change came just hours after Brabrand said at a press conference yesterday (Thursday) that schools are staying open because there is no evidence of “community spread” with the virus.

“FCPS takes very seriously the COVID-19 challenges that are before the community today,” Brabrand said, adding the school system is “working very closely” to monitor the virus with local public health officials.

In a tweet later that day, the school system reversed its decision.

The school system was under growing pressure to close its schools due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

“We woke up to have a neighboring school division close,” he said, referring to Loudoun County’s announcement that it will close its schools through March 20.

FCPS announced earlier this week that there is a plan with different scenarios for school closures.

“If we were to have a positive response, we would make a decision to close that school or schools were that was to happen,” he said today.

Brabrand added that the schools are undergoing “deep cleans” with a protocol confirmed by medical officials that “kills viruses, including COVID-19.”

As of 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health says that there are 17 cases in the state, with Fairfax County having the most.

Two new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 were announced earlier today in the county, bringing Fairfax County’s known count of coronavirus patients to four.

Also earlier today, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia.

“This is a very serious matter,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said at the press conference. “We must accept this is a changing situation hourly.”

McKay said that Fairfax County is “well prepared” and looking to phase-in additional telework and remote work options for county employees.

While county buildings will remain open, McKay urged people to do transactions online if possible.

Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, the director for Fairfax Health, said the risk for the general public in Fairfax County is low.

FCPS announced Thursday evening after the press conference said all extracurricular activities, interscholastic contests, field trips, after-school programs, community use activities conducted by groups not affiliated with FCPS are canceled from March 14-April 12.

“SACC centers will remain open,” FCPS said. “We will share with you updates about today’s decisions by March 31.”

FCPS said it a review is underway for the food service and food handling procedures and that several parent-teacher associations are canceling school-based events “due to anticipated low turnout.”

This story appeared on our sister site Tysons Reporter

Image via Fairfax County

0 Comments

Like other entities in the country and around the world, Fairfax County Public Schools are preparing for a potential outbreak of the coronavirus.

In an email sent to parents and staff Wednesday evening, FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said the school system is reviewing its existing flu response plan and making necessary revisions to respond to the coronavirus. Currently, there are no confirmed cases in the county or the D.C. region.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directed school officials, childcare centers, and workplaces to prepare for a possible outbreak.

Here’s more from Brabrand’s letter:

 The plan is dynamic and sections will be revised and updated as new information becomes available. FCPS’s response plan addresses the specific activities necessary to keep schools open and operating while providing a clean and safe environment during an outbreak and the essential functions that must be performed by FCPS, if schools are closed. Other variations of these scenarios could also be considered.  While the full impact of an outbreak cannot be predicted, planning for operations under such conditions can mitigate the impact of the event on our staff, facilities and mission. 

We recognize the growing concern about the possible spread of coronavirus to our region.  To date, we have cancelled international field trips and short-term visitations to and from some countries, based on CDC guidelines. We have also updated our web page and will continue to work closely with health officials and monitor this evolving situation. Additional information is available at this link: https://www.fcps.edu/news/coronavirus-update. This link will be updated as we receive new information.

As a reminder, common cold and flu viruses are not unusual during the winter season. Precautions are recommended. We ask that everyone do their part to stay healthy. Wash hands frequently, monitor your health, and stay home when ill.

FCPS recently suspended international field trips and short-term visits to and from countries flagged by the CDC. The temporary suspension is valid through June 30.

Governments around the world are ramping up measures to battle what could be a looming global pandemic. So far, the virus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 2,800 individuals.

For the first time, the number of infections outside China — which was the source of the outbreak — exceeded the number found within the country.

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list