Northern Virginia

Fairfax County Public Schools Return to School Updates

FCPS Return to School

FCPS return to school updates in one place – sorted new to old.

February 2, 2021

Updated dates of return for student groups

  • Feb. 16 Group 1-4: Select CTE and Special Education
  • Feb. 23 Group 5: PreK, Kindergarten and Special Education
  • March 2 Group 8: Grades 8, 9, 12 and Poe, Glasgow, Holmes – Grade 8
  • March 9 Group 6: Grades 1-2 & Group 8: Grades 7, 10, 11 and Poe, Glasgow, Holmes – Grade 6-7
  • March. 16 Group 7: Grades 3-6

January 22, 2021

Revised plan released (to be discussed on Feb 2)

return to school

January 5, 2021

The school board made a decision to pause all in-person instruction for one month. The board will meet again on February 2, 2021. Groups 1-4 will stay virtual until the next update as well.

Dr. Brabrand will come back with a new reopening plan and more information on the vaccine.

Some members showed support for using surveillance COVID testing

Tentative Timelines for Returning to In-person Learning as of December 25, 2020

  • Group 1: January 12
  • Group 2: January 12
  • Group 3: January 12
  • Group 4: January 12
  • Group 5: January 12
  • Group 6: January 19
  • Group 7: January 26
  • Group 7 (Grades 5-6): February 2
  • Group 8: January 26
  • Group 8 (Grade 8, 10-11): February 2

Click here for more information on FCPS student groups

Important Dates:

  • January 4-8: All student groups virtual
  • January 4 and 11: staff planning days (asynchronous with work assigned by teachers)
  • January 12: revised bell schedule goes into effect

December 21, 2020 – After Winter Break Schedule

Return to School Updates

After Winter Break, all student groups will start school virtually the week of January 4-8.

Monday, January 4, and Monday, January 11, will be Staff Planning Days. No student interventions will be held. All instruction will be asynchronous (independent) with work assigned by teachers. Teachers will use this time to prepare for the return of additional groups of students to in-person instruction in the weeks ahead.

New Bell Schedules Begin Tuesday, January 12

As more students return for in-person learning, it will be necessary to revise the bell schedule to accommodate more bus runs. The number of students allowed on each bus will be reduced substantially to meet social distancing requirements. With fewer students able to ride a bus at the same time, FCPS must adjust the times that our buses are transporting students.  The school day will be reduced by 15 minutes due to the increased cleaning time required between bus runs.

A revised bell schedule has been developed to improve start times and end times for all levels. Barring any changes to the plan that may be impacted by the pandemic, the following bell schedule will be in place effective Tuesday, January 12, 2021 for both virtual and in-person instruction. 

  • Middle School            7:30-2:00
  • Secondary School     8:20-2:50
  • High School                8:20-2:50
  • Thomas Jefferson       8:40-3:45
  • Elementary School     9:00-3:30 or 9:45-4:15

December 17, 2020 – COVID-19 Safety Teams

Safety Teams Deployed to Monitor COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies at FCPS Schools

Fairfax County Public Schools has implemented new Safety Teams to help the school district monitor each schools’ adherence to five mitigation strategies for COVID-19. These teams, consisting of FCPS staff members and retirees, will conduct random onsite spot checks, deliver education and resources, and report data back to administrators. 

The five mitigation strategies are set forth in the Centers for Disease Control’s Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-making guide, and include proper use of masks or face coverings; social distancing; hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and disinfection; and contact tracing in collaboration with the health department.

More information on FCPS Safety Teams

December 12, 2020 – Group 3 Pauses

Due to updated health metrics, It has become necessary to pause face to face instruction for Group 3 effective Monday, December 14, 2020, and return to virtual instruction.

Group 3: Preschool/PAC, Key and Kilmer, and ESOL/SLIFE.

November 16, 2020 – Group 5 Pauses

The current health metrics for COVID-19 cases in our community now exceed the threshold to expand our in-person learning. Therefore, we are pressing “pause” and will delay expanding in-person instruction to Group 5, which includes Early Head Start, pre-K, kindergarten and select students who receive special education services, who were scheduled to return on Tuesday, November 17.  Any new pilot programs/classes scheduled to start tomorrow, November 17, will also pause. We are monitoring health metrics daily, but Group 5 will remain virtual until at least November 30. We will communicate additional updates closer to that time.

We made this decision as soon as new health metrics were released and are communicating it to you immediately as promised. We always anticipated the need to potentially adjust our return to school plans as necessary during this ongoing pandemic.   

Students and staff who have been attending in-person classes (Groups 1-4), and our existing pilots, will continue to do so. CDC Guidelines allow us to keep small cohorts of students in schools. If metrics change that impact in-person instruction for Groups 1-4, we will update you as soon as that information becomes available. 

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