Family Guide for 2020-2021 Return to School

We are focused on keeping students and staff safe and healthy as we return to school buildings for learning. 

We are following recommended health guidance that focuses on student health, safety, and emotional well-being.

Family Guide on Return to School

  • Talk to your children about what school will be like when they return.
  • Ask if they have questions and let them know we are all going to work together to keep everyone safe and healthy.
  • Practice wearing a mask or face covering during the day. 
  • Discuss the importance of social distancing. 
  • Talk about washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.


Students receive two days of teacher-led instruction in the school building and two days of teacher-led instruction at home. 

Students who select virtual learning will receive all four days of teacher-led instruction while learning at home.

  • This model maximizes teacher-led instruction (two days in person, two days virtual) by allowing in-person students to “log into” class on at-home days. 
  • Teacher-led concurrent instruction is the best instructional model for our in-person students.

All students will receive 4 days of teacher-led instruction.


Full-Time Virtual Instruction

Students who prefer to continue full-time virtual learning will receive four days of teacher-led instruction while learning from home. Monday: Students will have an independent workday. Teachers will use for planning. Tuesday - Friday: Full-time online instruction led by the teacher.

Concurrent Elementary Schedule


Cleaning Protocols

Refreshed Cleaning Methods/Processes FCPS cleaning personnel will be sanitizing and disinfecting more frequently. Their cleaning protocol will include thoroughly disinfecting and sanitizing all surfaces, doors, toilets, and handles, and ensuring that all supplies are always fully stocked. 

Increased Cleaning to High-Touch Surfaces/Points FCPS cleaning crews will be sanitizing touch surfaces/points thoroughly such as door handles, glass, elevators buttons, doors, tables, chairs, and light switches. Daytime custodians have been instructed to continuously disinfect and sanitize all touch points throughout the day. In addition, we will be increasing daytime custodian coverage where appropriate, depending on building occupancy.

Lunch and Snacks


Maintaining 6ft of social distancing will be required.

If students use the cafeteria, seating will be assigned and face one direction. 

Masks will be required when not eating. 

If possible, students will eat in classrooms or outside whenever possible.

FCPS offers grab and go lunches for all students.



Large, structural playground equipment is currently off-limits at recess. 

Staff will encourage students to play games or activities that minimize close physical contact and allow for social distancing.  

Everyone must wear masks at all times because occasional close contact is expected during play. 


10 ft. distance is to be maintained during physical activity. 

Students will wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds at the end of the recess period before returning to class. 



School librarians will provide library services and instruction for students virtually, in their classrooms, or in the library following social distancing and safety guidelines. 

Library staff will assist students in PreK through grade 2 with book checkout. 

Students in grades 3 through 12 may use self-checkout stations that limit contact. 

Schools have the option to provide curbside checkout to students not attending school in person. 

Books that are returned to the library will have a 7-day isolation period before they are available again to students. 

School staff will communicate how virtual students can check out books.

Laptops and Technology

Students should bring their FCPS-assigned laptops with them to school and take that laptop home each day.  


Extra laptops may not be available in all classrooms. 

Laptop should be fully charged each morning and ready to use.

DO NOT use disinfectant spray on the device or apply hand sanitizer directly on the device as it may damage the electronics. 

Parents may use an alcohol wipe or disinfectant wipe to gently wipe down the laptop and keyboard if necessary.


School Health Room

Support to students in the health room will continue to be provided by the School Health Aide. 

Students with Individualized Health or Action Plans who require specialized care, medication administration and emergency care will be seen in the health room. Parents will be required to bring in medications needed to support their student during the school day prior to or on the first day of school.

*Reminder that health requirements, including necessary documentation for required immunizations, tuberculosis screenings, physicals and Tdap must be met before a student can return to “in-person” learning.

Care Room

We have a predetermined care room that is a designated location for students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 while at school. 

It is separate from the health room. 

The Care Room is necessary due to the requirement for social distancing and room capacity.

A designated staff member will be assigned to supervise students in the Care Room while waiting for the parent to pick up the student.


FCPS Approach to CDC's 5 Mitigation Strategies Consistent and Correct Use of Masks

Consistent and Correct Use of Masks

  • New FCPS Regulation: Face Coverings to Mitigate the Spread of Infectious Disease (Regulation 2109)
  • Face coverings will be worn by staff and students.
  • Face coverings will be provided to students unable to provide their own.

Cleaning and Disinfection

Daily sanitizing of high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, fixtures, etc.) with medical-grade sanitizing solution Frequent monitoring and cleaning of restrooms throughout the day Contracted cleaning services utilized as needed

Contact Tracing in Collaboration With Local Health Department

  • Collaborate with the County Health Department in response to outbreaks in order to implement all necessary health and safety protocols
  • Establishment of isolation rooms

Social Distancing to the Largest Extent Possible

  • Six-foot separation wherever possible; limited mixing among student groups
  • Social distancing on buses in accordance with health and safety protocols
  • Desks will be separated by up to a six feet distance, facing the same direction
  • Students will eat meals in classrooms whenever possible
  • Student traffic patterns that maintain social distancing
  • Limit volunteers/visitors in buildings

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  • Students will wash hands for at least 20 seconds after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing; before eating; upon entering classrooms; breaks will be provided for hand washing.

Health Screening Commitment Form


Parents/guardians who chose in-school instruction for their child will be required to complete a Parent/Guardian Health Screening Commitment form as students are phased back into in-person learning. 

The document indicates the parental/guardian’s agreement and commitment to completing a daily health screening prior to sending the student to school and also to keep ill students at home. These health screenings will be done on an honor basis and will not be required to be submitted to the school each day. 

Families can complete this form in ParentVue – OR – submit the form to your child(ren’s) school.


Daily Temperature Checks

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will no longer conduct daily temperature checks for students, staff and visitors. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend schools conduct symptom screening for all students in grades K-12 on a routine (e.g. daily) basis.

  • Symptom screening will identify only that a person might be sick, not that the person necessarily has COVID-19.
  • Accuracy of thermometers is limited in extreme temperatures

The CDC recommends that parents, caregivers or guardians, should monitor their children for symptoms of infectious illness every day through home-based symptom screening.

Students, staff and visitors still required to complete a daily health screening questionnaire. 

Any student, staff or visitor demonstrating symptoms of illness should stay home to help stop the spread of  COVID-19.


Face Coverings/Masks

All students who are two years old and up are required to wear face coverings (cloth or disposable) while on school property.  

Face coverings will be provided to students unable to provide their own. 

Any student requesting an exemption to wearing a face covering due to a medical exemption needs to provide the school a written statement from his or her physician confirming that not wearing a face covering is medically necessary.

Face Coverings


Bus Transportation

  • Parents will receive information about bus schedules prior to start. 
  • Seating capacity will be reduced to allow for social distancing.  
  • Students are reminded to wear a face coverings when riding the school bus.
  • Students will be required to sit in seats as marked on the school bus.
  • Bus stop information will be available at the school and in ParentVUE.
  • Here Comes the Bus app is available and provides school bus arrival information.
  • We will using the new bell schedule beginning February 16.   
  • Social distancing requirements limit capacity on school buses. 
  • A bell schedule change will apply for both in-person learning as well as students who are doing full-time virtual learning.

Social Distancing at School

Social distancing should be maintained as much as possible. Exceptions may occur when a student requires support for activities of daily living that may make staff unable to maintain a distance of six feet. In all other cases, six feet of social distancing should be maintained as much as possible.

  • Six foot separation wherever possible; limited mixing among student groups.
  • Social distancing on buses in accordance with health and safety protocols.
  • Desks/seats will be separated by up to a six feet distance, facing same direction.
  • Students will eat meals in classrooms whenever possible. Each school will determine their best meal distribution process.
  • Student traffic patterns in hallways will be set up to maintain social distancing, including during arrival and dismissal.
  • Students transitioning to after school care will also follow traffic patterns in the hallways to maintain social distance. 


  • Students will wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; before eating, and upon entering classrooms. 
  • There will be breaks provided during the day for handwashing. 
  • Automatic hand sanitizer dispensing stands have been placed at school entrances and 1-gallon pump containers of hand sanitizer are available in all classrooms.

School Supplies and Communal Classroom Items

  • Students will be required to label and maintain their own personal set of required classroom supplies.
  • Student will keep their supplies in their backpack and take them to and from school each day.
  • Students will not be allowed to share electronic devices, toys, books, games or learning aids unless they can be cleaned or disinfected.
  • Students should bring their own water bottle for use during the day. 
  • Water fountains can be used to refill water bottles if practical, but students and staff should not be drinking directly from any water fixtures; individual water bottles should be used instead. 

Becoming Ill While at School

Students will be sent home if they demonstrate: 

  • fever greater than or equal to 100.4 Fahrenheit
  • new chills
  • new cough 
  • new sore throat
  • new muscle aches 
  • new loss of taste or smell 
  • nausea, or diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • poor appetite
  • nasal congestion or runny nose
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing not due to another health condition
  • more tired than usual
  • headache

Parents/guardians will be notified and are expected to pick up their child. Parents are to check in with the front office.


Student Illness at Home

If a student becomes ill at home, STAY HOME.

Parents need to contact the school and report the reason for their child’s absence. 

Parents will need to follow established procedures when contacting the school regarding student illness. 


Returning to School After Illness

Families will receive guidance from the FCHD Public Health Nurses (PHNs) and School Health Aides (SHAs), identified as the school health team as to when their student can return to in-person learning.

Students who are showing signs of COVID Like Illness may not return to school until:

  • The parent/guardian provides the school, a completed “Return to School” portion of the Sick Student Notification and Return to School Form.


Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, may not return until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms started  AND
  • The student has had no fever or anti-fever medicines (ex: Tylenol, Ibuprofen) for 24 hours   AND
  • The student’s symptoms are getting better 

Students who have been exposed to COVID-19:

If someone in the household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or the student is exposed, the student must remain home for 14 days after their last exposure to the household member.


Response to COVID Case in a Classroom

A class(es) may temporarily transition to virtual instruction due to a COVID positive case or outbreak while contact tracing is implemented. The class will resume in-person instruction upon the advisement of the health department.

The school health team, will support the contact tracing process in our school. 

Individuals who are identified during the contact tracing will receive notification, as directed by the FCHD. The community will also be notified that a COVID case has occurred in a cohort and the contact tracing process has been initiated.

Upon the conclusion of contact tracing, cleaning and disinfecting, students and staff in the cohort will be notified as to when they will return to in-person learning. 

The length of time for this process may be shorter than 14 days based on results of contact investigation and tracing by the FCHD. The community will also be notified that the contacting tracing has been completed and of any further recommendations.


Mental Health and Wellness

All children and youth face challenges from time to time managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, or worried. 

As students prepare to return to in-person learning, these emotions may be heightened. 

Our school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers are available to support all students as they transition back to their school buildings. 

If you or someone you care about is experiencing a mental health crisis, or if you believe there may be a mental health emergency, call 911. Additional resources are available at and search Mental Health Emergency Services.

FCPS- Helpful Links

"How To" Videos

Safety Teams

Correct and consistent implementation of the mitigation strategies allows FCPS to provide students with in-person instruction even if COVID-19 transmission rates are high in the community. 

CDC says that as schools re-open for in-person instruction, it is important to have systems in place for monitoring and assessing COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

What will Safety Teams be doing?

They will spend about two hours observing multiple locations at the school: 

  • Arrival or dismissal
  • Classrooms 
  • Care rooms
  • Staff break rooms
  • Kitchen 
  • Cafeteria, if observing during lunchtime
  • Outdoor play areas, if observing class during recess
  • Other common areas frequented by students

Visitors to FCPS Facilities

When possible (unless an emergency) visitors must schedule appointments prior to visiting a school by contacting the main office. 

All visitors will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire. 

All visitors are required to wear a face covering (cloth or disposable) while on school property and inside FCPS facilities.

Visitors who do not have face coverings will be provided a disposable mask upon entering a school. 

Visitor access should be limited to essential activities.