Homecoming Activities Masking Clarification
We are so excited to have a full weekend of activities coming up in our Little City! Tonight we play Skyline HS at 7 p.m. at Meridian. Tomorrow morning we will have our second ribbon-cutting for Meridian High School, this time in person, followed by self-guided tours, and tomorrow night we have the homecoming dance...woot! I want to clarify masking requirements for all of these events in case there are questions. We have consistently said that masks must be worn indoors at all times. Tomorrow as you take a self-guided tour of the Meridian, please plan to wear your mask indoors. We have also been consistent that masking outside is optional BUT encouraged when you are in large groups. Tonight, tomorrow morning for the ribbon-cutting outside, and tomorrow night at the Homecoming dance, people will be in large groups and in close proximity. While masking outside is not required, we encourage everyone to wear a mask in large groups. However, it does remain a choice outdoors.
SPORTS/CLUBS & VACCINES
All students (age 12 and over) who wish to participate on FCCPS sports teams, or participate in an indoor activity or club, will be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The response to our Voluntary Vaccination Card Upload Google Form has been excellent. You can get ahead of the “game” now by making sure you have uploaded your student’s card. Follow this link to the form. The deadline for providing your vaccination status will be October 15th.
Last week, I shared that our teachers and staff needed to have their “buckets filled” as we return to school so that they can give all they have to our students. Thank you so much for the immediate response and support. I have heard great stories of how folks have reached out.
The other reminder to share this week is that as a system, we are required to follow the guidance of the Fairfax County Health Department when we are dealing with a COVID case, and pausing, isolation or quarantine are involved. I know how disruptive it is to “get the call” that your child needs to pause or be put in isolation and quarantine. No one wants that for a myriad of reasons, and instructionally it is very disruptive. However, this process has been clear from the beginning, and writing letters, calling, and arguing with FCCPS about our procedures doesn’t change the process. I want to be transparent here and say that our staff and faculty have been subjected to communications that verge on abusive when dealing with these cases. This is not how a community of care supports each other. I am hopeful that we can all pull together and find, as hard as it is, acceptance in the process. We have amazing staff and faculty, and we must support them as they support our students.
Receiving the news that you or someone in your family has been exposed to someone who is COVID positive is very disconcerting, especially when it is your child. Please know that FCCPS is here to help support you, your student, and your family should this occur. The next steps for how to respond if your student is exposed depends on vaccination status and whether or not there are symptoms involved.
Vaccinated (COVID+ in the Last 90-days)/No Symptoms: These students can attend school without interruption. They should be monitored for symptoms and will be offered testing from the HD.
Vaccinated (COVID+ in the Last 90-days)/With Symptoms: Anyone who is having symptoms should stay home, contact the HD and quarantine for 14 days. Testing will be offered from HD. A clearance from the HD will be needed to return.
Unvaccinated: Remain home and quarantined for 14 days. Testing will be offered from HD. A clearance from the HD will be needed to return.
Anyone with questions regarding their situation should reach out to the Fairfax County Health Department COVID response line. Call 703-267-3511 (weekdays--9:00 a.m. to 7: 00 p.m.). Questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (monitored weekdays 8: 00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Please visit these web pages for more information:
COMING VERY SOON!! SCHOOL-BASED DIAGNOSTIC TESTING
At this week's School Board meeting we shared that FCCPS will be providing two types of COVID testing in the division: both diagnostic and screening. Here’s the link to the video and additional information from the meeting.
FCCPS will provide diagnostic testing for anyone who has symptoms. This will eliminate the need for families to try to locate a test provider should their students be sent home ill. The individual will receive a BinaxNow Proctored Test kit to use at home. This test is proctored by a healthcare professional who will monitor the home administration and verify the results. We are excited for our schools to offer this for everyone. As soon as the division receives its allotment of test kits from the Virginia Department of Health we will begin the process.
Next Wednesday I will hold a Town Hall on the FCCPS YouTube Channel — www.youtube.com/fccpsorg — beginning at 7:00 p.m. to share the details of this testing program. It will also be recorded for future viewing. We are hopeful that everyone will join us for this 30-minute presentation.
The following links provide an introduction to the kits and the at-home proctored testing process we will be utilizing soon.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: More EXCITING testing news to come on the Screening Test Program. FCCPS is working with the VDOE and the VDH to secure a vendor who will help us implement a system-wide screening test process! Stay tuned...
As part of this plan, FCCPS will need to hire a Registered Nurse. This could be a full-time person or part-time position shared between a couple of RNs. If you, or someone you know, is interested in being part of our team please let us know!
Throughout this year FCCPS will be updating the Strategic Plan. During the month of October, there will be several opportunities for community members (students, parents, employees, friends) to offer input into the future of our school division. A Community Town Hall is scheduled for October 19, and we will share a Community Input Questionnaire later this month. This is NOT a survey. Rather a tool we will deploy to gather additional information that will inform the strategic plan.
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Saturday at the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of Meridian High School. The ceremony will be from 9:00-9:15. Following the Ribbon Cutting, the building will be open for tours until noon.
I hope you have a great weekend and are able to join us for some or all of the festivities this weekend.
All my best to you and your family,
Superintendent of Schools
Falls Church City Public Schools