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In this issue:
Updates on Spring Assessments
COVID Reminders & Information
FCCPS COVID by the Numbers
Dear FCCPS Families,
Yesterday’s secondary school lock-down is something that we never want to experience again. While the lockdown was completely accidental and no students or staff were ever in danger, the school division has many lessons to learn from this event. Our schools have powerful automated and human systems in place to protect everyone. Emergency drills prepared us for this, but that doesn’t minimize the wide range of emotions that flooded our community. Whether you were onsite or offsite, the surprise, fear, confusion, and discomfort felt by so many will not be forgotten soon. As a school division, we are reviewing and reflecting with the intent of making improvements to our systems along with the Falls Church City Police. I’ve had a number of calls, emails, and texts of support about the care our staff and faculty showed for the students during the lockdown and that has been heartening. I have also received feedback about where we could improve our processes and those comments have been helpful as well and will be shared as part of our “after-action” process.
Families and volunteers presented our teachers and staff with an amazing amount of generosity for Staff Appreciation Week. It is notable to me that in FCCPS this is called “staff” appreciation week because we appreciate the dedication and commitment everyone in FCCPS brings to their daily work. Thank you parents and families for sharing your love with our incredible staff. As your Superintendent it makes me so proud to be part of this community. And, as I take walks in the evening I have noticed the “Thank you Teachers and Staff” signs beginning to pop up again throughout the community. What a nice thing to do!
Be on the lookout for well-dressed teenagers this weekend because Saturday is Prom at Wolf Trap! Meridian High School is going all out to put on a special event for our Juniors and Seniors. Everyone is excited, and not even “Mother Nature” can dampen the Mustang spirit.
If adults want a chance to get dressed up, there are still tickets to the Falls Church Education Foundation “Together Again” Gala on May 20. Virtual attendees can watch the Livestream for free and still bid on some great items to support the FCEF and its programs that support our schools.
Have a great weekend!
Peter Peter J. Noonan, EdD
#BetterTogether #WeAreIB #IBforAll
Spring into Assessment Season
Our school teams are working hard to coordinate the administration of the assessments listed below during this busy time of the year. The district-wide dates can be found on the FCCPS Assessment Calendar, and you can find details about the assessments given to our students on the Basics of FCCPS Assessments page on the web. Your school will communicate specific dates. Everyone is working hard to ensure students have the support they need to do their best during this assessment season.
Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) will be completed early next week. This assessment is given to our students with the most significant disabilities who are on an adapted curriculum.
Standards of Learning (SOL) Non-Writing (reading, math, science, history assessments) will begin next week and finish in early June across grades 3-12 in the division.
IB and AP exams will continue until May 20th at the high school.
Foreign Language exams are currently scheduled.
Phonological Awareness Screening (PALS) is starting next week and will be completed in late May for our youngest learners.
STAR and end-of-year school-based assessments will occur at the end of May and early in June.
As the warm Spring temperatures rise, so can the anxiety that comes with the “busy-ness” of lots of events for schools and families. We can all use some extra care when our stressors are high. If your student is experiencing difficulties, FCCPS wants to make sure they have extra support at school. We understand that families are not always able to share details and that's ok. If your student is coming to school after a difficult night, morning, or weekend, send their teacher(s) a #HandleWithCare email or Schoology message. No other explanation is needed. Nothing will be said or asked. Doing this will let the staff know that your student may need just a little extra time, patience, or help during the day.
If your student is experiencing a more significant concern, please reach out directly to their school counselor. At the bottom of this message is information about community support for those struggling with mental health concerns. Always call 911 should there be a mental health crisis or emergency. Remember that FCCPS cares.
A Message from Our Partners at the Health Department…
As you are likely aware, the Fairfax Health District has seen rising cases of COVID in our community and schools over the past few weeks. The Fairfax Health Department wants to share with you more information about this. Please visit: COVID-19 Cases and Outbreaks Continue to Trend Upward in Fairfax Health District | Fairfax County Emergency Information (wpcomstaging.com).
• Several jurisdictions in the region have transitioned from low to medium CDC COVID-19 Community Level, including Fairfax County and Falls Church City.
• Outbreaks in schools, primarily the elementary grades, have increased rapidly.
• Everyone wishes for COVID-19 to be over, but unfortunately, we do not see that. Even if you think your symptoms may be due to allergies, getting tested is vital to ensure it’s not COVID-19.
• With springtime gatherings, including Mother’s Day, athletic events, graduations, weddings, and travel, all are urged to gather safely (preferably outside) and keep COVID-19 transmission in mind.
COVID Reminders & Information
Falls Church Covid Status –MEDIUM
Falls Church City has seen a slight increase in case numbers which moved the COVID status to Medium. Please continue to be vigilant, participate in testing if exposed or symptomatic, and get vaccinated.
FCCPS follows the CDC Guidelines based on community transmission levels and information available in our FCCPS Pandemic/Communicable Disease Response Matrix for daily operations.
Any student/staff member who is displaying COVID-like symptoms should not attend school/work until symptoms are resolving (including being fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication), AND,
They provide a negative COVID test (lab, proctored, or home tests are accepted) OR an alternate diagnosis or clearance from a medical professional.
Adjustments will be made for students with known health conditions based on the guidance of our nursing staff.
BinaxNow Rapid Testing
Proctored rapid tests are available in each school health clinic.
Please contact the School Health Aide or go to the health clinic to get a rapid test.
All BinaxNow tests are proctored tests. Users must set up a Navica account and visit http://virginia.emed.com/ to begin the “test for school” process. FCCPS BinaxNow Tip Sheet.pdf
Each school health clinic has an iPad to help support testing. Parents (not school staff) must administer the test to their students. FCCPS BinaxNow Tip Sheet.pdf
Free PCR testing is available to students and staff every Tuesday and Thursday.
To join, register here! It only takes a minute and continues to be an essential part of our Covid-19 mitigation strategy.
FCCPS COVID By The Numbers
Weekly updates to the data below ensure that all community members are informed about positive cases, and testing.
Number Positive of Cases for Weeks 35-36
Cumulative Since August 1
# of Student Cases:
# of Staff Cases
# of Students in Quarantine as a Close Contact
FCCPS Rate of Transmission
MEDIUM for Falls Church City
MEDIUM for Fairfax Health District
Please note that this data is just a snapshot of FCCPS in total and is adjusted based on the outcomes of each contact tracing investigation.
All FCCPS positive cases are included regardless of source. These data include parent/staff reports, ViSSTA results, HD notifications, and healthcare providers.
ViSSTA Testing Data Weeks of
Week of April 25-29
Week of May 2-5
Important COVID Links for Parents:
Important Mental Health Resources for Families:
Call 911 should you need immediate support in a life-threatening situation.
CrisisLink Regional Hotline: 703-527-4077 CrisisText: Text HOME to 741741
Mobile Crisis Unit: 703-573-5679
Merrifield Center Emergency Services: 703-573-5679
National Hope Line: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
LGBTQ Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357)