FCCPS closes amid COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus+Disease+2019.+%28Photo+via+fccps.org%29

Coronavirus Disease 2019. (Photo via fccps.org)

Editorial Board

According to the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia now has 30 people who have tested positive for COVID-19. With the growing concerns and anxiety over this fast-spreading virus, Falls Church Public Schools aligned with Arlington Public Schools to decide to close schools beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, until April 14, 2020.

FCCPS’s spring break is scheduled for the week of April 6-10 with a professional day set for Monday, April 13. 

As released by Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan on Wednesday, March 12, 2020, Falls Church City Public Schools will follow a ten-part emergency plan in place to guide the school division and its community through the closure of schools due to COVID-19. 

This Saturday and Sunday, F.C. Schools will schedule the distribution of laptops, medication pick-ups, food, and other items. 

From Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18, all F.C. School buildings will be closed and there will be no instruction. During this time the staff will be finishing up plans for online instruction to begin on March 19. 

As part of the closure, all field trips, clubs, and extracurricular activities are canceled from now on, including all spring sports. 

The school system plans to focus on the four traditional subject areas and world language: English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. This will be a combination of online learning activities and remote/virtual instruction with classroom teachers for Pre-K through 12th grade.

Additionally, separate lessons, support, and other resources will be provided to students with IEPs. Similarly, ESOL teachers will provide language support and vocabulary lessons for their students. All these forms of support will be offered through online/remote support 2-3 times per week for students.

Students with 504 plans will continue to have access to their accommodations and counselors will also provide additional support with check-ins once a week to ensure students are successful in online learning.

Furthermore, all families who qualify for the federal Free/Reduced Meals Program will receive a two-week supply of non-perishable foods upon closure. 

In a letter to students’ families and staff sent out on March 13, F.C. Schools Superintendent Peter Noonan and Arlington County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson wrote:

“Given all the information available now, including other closures throughout the National Capital Region that impact our staff and families, we believe this is the best decision to make at this time.

“All of us, school administrators, staff, and parents, want the same outcome–keeping our kids and community safe.