Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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Closure Information  |  Summer & Fall 2020 Planning | Meal Services  |  Graduation | Instructional Programs & Services | Grading | Academic Testing  |  Technology and Access | Student & Staff Safety

Updated June 2, 2020

Closure Information

    • Will APS change the school calendar due to the closure? (Updated May 21)

      • The School Board approved the proposed modification to the end of year calendar for 2019-20 at the School Board meeting on May 21. Ending instruction on June 12 will allow APS teachers and staff to engage in professional development during the week of June 15 to prepare for a strong re-entry to school in fall 2020. Required virtual staff training will focus on planning for the return to physical school with an emphasis on social emotional support for students; distance learning best practices; preparing to teach 4th quarter content and pacing the rest of the school year; and planning for the possible expansion of continuous learning in the event that schools cannot reopen.
    • Are students able to access schools to collect belongings in lockers and classrooms?

      • We understand that many students have left personal belongings at schools and programs. We will communicate arrangements for families to retrieve personal belongings after the school closure has been lifted. If you are leaving APS and need to retrieve personal belongings before the school closure has been lifted, please contact the principal of your school or program to make an appointment to retrieve them. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this delay in retrieving personal belongings.
    • Are students able to be registered during the closure? (Updated June 1)

      • Since all APS school buildings are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families are only able to register students online at this time. Registrations are currently being accepted for the 2020-21 school year. Families should visit the Conditional Online Registration webpage for additional information on how to register their child online.
    • Are families able to retrieve medicine left in the school health office?

      • The School Health Bureau is currently developing a process to allow families to retrieve medications left in schools and will share it with families soon, but families are currently unable to retrieve medications from schools. If there is an urgent need to pick up medicine from a school, please contact the school’s principal.
    • Will families be refunded fees for Extended Day and pre-K programs due to the closure? (Updated May 1)

      • Any advance payments for services in the second half of March and beyond will be applied as a credit to each family’s account. These credits will be applied to future fees when services resume. Refunds for the unused services in the second half of March will be issued if a family will no longer need the services once services resume or has extenuating circumstances. Refunds will not be issued if the family account has an outstanding balance. Under normal circumstances, refunds take 4-6 weeks. Families can expect refund processing to take up to 12 weeks due the school closure.For additional information, or to request a refund, please contact:
    • How will money deposited into MySchoolBucks be handled?

      • MySchoolBucks has suspended all automatic payments for meals until further notice. Recognizing this is a fluid situation, we appreciate your patience as we continue to assess services and fees moving forward. For additional information, please visit the MySchoolBucks website.

Summer & Fall 2020 Planning

    • What are the APS plans for returning to school in the Fall? (Updated May 22)

      • Like other Northern Virginia school divisions, APS is working on plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year. These plans include three options; schools open Aug. 31 with no social distancing guidelines; a blended option of in-person and virtual learning; or all virtual. Additional details are included in the School Board Presentation on May 21 and the Framework for Reopening Schools message from Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson on May 22. As additional information becomes available, it will be shared with families.
    • How will COVID-19 affect summer school? (Updated May 22)

      • Due to the extended stay-at-home order for Northern Virginia, APS will provide summer learning programs and resources via distance learning this summer. Summer distance learning will begin July 20 and conclude on August 14. Registration begins June 15. APS will provide an online secondary summer strengthening program and selected new work social studies classes for students in grades 6-12. APS will provide every elementary student who was identified for summer school prior to the closure with access to online resources and school-based instructional and social-emotional support. More information

Meal Services

    • Will APS provide meals for families to pick up over the summer? (Updated June 2)

      • Yes, meals will be provided to families over the summer. When APS receives additional guidance from the USDA, additional information will be shared with families.
    • What should I do if I need food but am unable to get to one of APS locations? (Updated April 9)

      • APS is now distributing meals at seven school sites and families can choose the location most convenient to them. If an individual is unable to get to any of our current locations, there are many other food assistance resources available in Arlington County thanks to AFAC and the many independent businesses and non-profits working together to make sure families can access food at this time. Additionally, families can also designate a neighbor or family member to pick up food for their child by providing the name(s) and student ID number(s) for their child(ren) as well as the location they will pick up their meal from in advance. Families can either email this information to food.services@apsva.us or call 703-228-2129. Families need only email or call one time.
    • Do all children need to be present at meal pickup?

      • No. As of April 1, 2020, children no longer have to be present at APS meal sites for families to pick up meals. The USDA has now waived the requirement that all children must be present to obtain meals in order to make it easier for families to access food. Families who wish to pick up meals without their children may now do so by providing the name(s) and student ID number(s) for their child(ren) and the location they will pick up their meal from in advance. Families can either email this information to food.services@apsva.us or call 703-228-2129. Families only need to email or call one time.
    • How is APS providing meal services during the closure? (Updated May 11)

    • Are there resources available for families experiencing food insecurity?

    • How can community members and volunteers support APS food services and other efforts at this time?

      • We greatly appreciate the generosity of our community and offers of support. At this time, due to USDA guidelines and other requirements for APS grab-and-go meal services, there are no in-person volunteer opportunities available. We continue to reassess and will communicate any future in-person opportunities if, and when available. PTAs and others interested in becoming involved can consider food supply drives. Additionally, Arlington County community providers and non-profit organizations supporting the community are in need of monetary donations, cleaning supplies and food. More information can be found on the Volunteer Arlington webpage as well as AFAC.

Graduation

    • How will the closure affect graduation?

      • State Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced Tues, March 24, that high school seniors who were on track to earn a diploma later this spring will be able to graduate. (VDOE News Release)
      • Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson shared a message with families on April 29 with updates on graduation for the Class of 2020.
    • How can I view the 2020 graduation ceremonies?

      • The ceremonies will be aired on Comcast Xfinity Channel 70/1090 (HD), Verizon FiOS Channel 41, online via YouTube (with closed captioning) and Vimeo. Each ceremony will be broadcast multiple times for accessibility. The broadcast schedule for all high school graduation ceremonies is available on our “Celebrating the Class of 2020” page.
    • Will students who have not fulfilled their graduation requirements be able to graduate? (Updated April 30)

      • The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has waived the graduation requirements for the 2019-20 school year. Students who meet the following criteria will still be able to graduate at the end of the school year:
        • Students currently enrolled in a course for which they need a standard or verified credit in order to graduate;
        • Students who have successfully completed a course required for graduation, but have not earned the associated verified credit;
        • Students who have not completed the student-selected test;
        • Students who are currently enrolled in or have previously completed a course leading to a CTE credential necessary for a Standard Diploma but have not yet earned the credential;
        • Students who have not completed a United States and Virginia history course*;
        • Students who have not completed a fine or performing arts or career and technical education course*;
        • Students in the second of sequential courses*;
        • Students who have not completed an economics and personal finance course*.
      • *Some credit-based graduation requirements are still provided for in the Code of Virginia. While these cannot be waived outright, these can be addressed by providing new instruction and pursuing alternate pathways to the 140-clock-hour requirement based on revised Board of Education guidelines (forthcoming).
      • VDOE has approved two waivers to allow students in the class of 2020 to graduate on time despite being unable to meet two diploma requirements found in state law. These waivers are as follows:
        • Students graduating with the 2019-2020 cohort, including terms in spring and summer 2020, shall be relieved of the requirement to complete training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillator, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
        • Students graduating with the 2019-2020 cohort, including terms in spring and summer 2020, shall be relieved of the requirement to complete a virtual course.

Instructional Programs and Services

    • What supports are available to families during this time? (Updated April 9)

      • Arlington Public Schools views the partnership that exists between families and schools as essential to success. We understand the challenges that distance learning pose to families who are teleworking and managing other demands at the same time.
      • Both elementary and secondary learning plans include recommendations for parents and guardians regarding how to structure their child’s day, which can also be found on the Continuous Learning webpage. The learning plans are built with flexibility in mind and resources are available to help families determine how to structure a day; the time allotments for each grade level are suggestions, with room for each family to do what they can within those parameters.
      • Teachers will engage with parents regularly to ensure that they are aware of and able to support the learning plans in place to support their child. Across all grade levels, teachers and other specialists will call or email students/families once a week for a check-in.
      • There are mental health resources on the main APS website for parents to learn how to talk with their children, set routines, and practice wellness. There are also extended activities and resources available for students from Second Step lessons that are not covered in our social-emotional continuous learning plan. Finally, teachers and staff can provide a direct connection to the school’s counselor, psychologist, social worker or substance abuse counselor for check-in, when needed. Family Access to Second Step Resources can be found at www.secondstep.org/covid19support.
    • What are the APS Continuous Learning Plans during the school closure? (Updated April 9)

      • The Department of Teaching and Learning (DTL) has prepared Continuous Learning Plans to address the academic and social-emotional needs of your child during the remainder of the school year. These plans focus on learning previously introduced from the first through third quarters to ensure that all students have mastered key foundational concepts. Students will also have the opportunity to enrich and extend their learning through a variety of activities.
      • The Continuous Learning Plans for the Elementary and Secondary levels provide APS expectations and guidelines for student engagement, instructional plans, grading, technology, social-emotional learning, engagement with parents, and suggestions for at-home learning such as student screen use tips and a sample daily schedule. These plans also have information about special education services for students, including data collection, communication with parents, special education meetings and more. The full plans are available on the Continuous Learning webpage.
    • Why is APS limiting the learning of all students because some students are unable to access the internet? (Updated April 21)

      • APS’ mission is “to ensure all students learn and thrive in safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments.” One of our core values is equity – “to eliminate opportunity gaps and achieve excellence by providing access to schools, resources, and learning opportunities according to each student’s unique needs.” While we have worked to ensure that students who do not have reliable access to the internet at home have MiFi devices (personal hotspots) and have provided information to parents regarding access to free or low-cost internet service, we cannot ensure that all of our students will be able to access new content due to a variety of reasons — illness, caring for siblings while parents are working, and inconsistent internet, as just a few examples.
      • Given that the majority of the course material was presented by the time schools closed on March 13th, and that much of the 4th quarter includes preparation for SOL, AP, IB exams and final exams, the continuous learning plans allow opportunities for students to solidify their understanding of foundational concepts presented in the 1st-3rd quarters and to enrich and extend their learning. In this way, we continue to ensure that all students are challenged and engaged in learning.
    • Why does APS’ continuous learning plan not match the plans of surrounding school divisions? (Updated April 21)

      • The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has given each school division the freedom to develop its own continuous learning plan. Each of our surrounding divisions have plans that are distinctly different from one another. APS’ plan is based on the fact that we are fortunate that our 3rd through 12th graders have their own devices, which allows us to deliver learning opportunities to them in a streamlined and efficient manner. Another facet of the plan is that we need to provide families and teachers flexibility during this time while they implement distance learning and support students. To that end, there is no synchronous direct instruction, and students will not be required to be present at specific times for instruction with teachers. Teachers may opt to create videos of lessons that can be pushed out virtually and viewed by students at any time. Asynchronous teaching allows students to complete tasks each day, and the flexibility to do it on a schedule that suits the home/family. Families are encouraged to listen to the What’s Up APS? Podcast for an in-depth discussion of the continuous learning plans and how teachers helped to collaboratively develop it.
    • Why can I not access my child’s teacher during normal school hours? (Updated April 21)

      • Teacher flexibility is important in scheduling office hours. While teachers are expected to articulate a dedicated office hour per week to families, each school will determine how these office hours will be implemented. However, teachers engage with students remotely to provide support, answer questions, monitor student work and share feedback. Teachers and instructional teams arrange schedules with families to help guide and monitor progress, as well as to address student well-being by maintaining strong connections with students on a consistent basis.
    • Who should I contact if I have questions about student instruction? (Updated May 22)

      • Families should first contact their student’s teacher for all questions about instruction. Teachers have scheduled online office hours or can be contacted via their email. If families are unable to contact their student’s teacher, they should then follow up with the school’s principal. Additional information is available on the Who to Contact for Help webpage.
    • How will students catch up on content areas missed in the fourth quarter? (Updated April 9)

      • As part of our commitment to ensuring equity of access to new learning for all students, concepts that students would typically have learned during the fourth quarter will be introduced at the start of the 2020-21 school year. Elementary students and secondary students who are enrolled in sequential courses will spend September addressing these concepts. They will then spend October 2020 through June 2021 learning new knowledge and skills.
    • How much time should students spend on school work each day? (Updated April 9)

      • The Continuous Learning Plan for elementary school students has the following time allotment guidelines for the daily instruction of students while at home, with core instructional priorities outlined as the focus for each grade during this time:
        • PreK and K: 30 minutes
        • Grades 1-2: 45 minutes
        • Grade 3: 60 minutes
        • Grade 4-5: 90 minutes
      • Students in grades 6-12 are expected to spend 30 minutes per course each school day (3.5 hours max in a day) on independent work. These are the guidelines for MAXIMUM student commitment each day. This is a significant reduction of typical instructional expectations to accommodate students’ and teachers’ social emotional health during this unprecedented time.
    • What technology does APS use for virtual interaction? (Updated April 30)

      • Teachers, students, and parents can interact virtually using Microsoft Teams Meetings, which provides a secure way for teachers to check in with students, provide instruction and guidance on learning activities, and communicate with parents. APS has confirmed that Microsoft Teams Meetings complies with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
      • Please note that Zoom is not an APS-approved platform. The free-service tier offered by Zoom has no assurance of student data privacy, and it is unclear whether their standard terms of service meet FERPA requirements. While vendors such as Zoom are extending these offers with the best of intentions, we believe it is best to use the tools we have readily at hand and that have been vetted for student use. We have consulted with other school systems in the area, and they have all taken similar positions.
    • What is the VDOE guidance on introducing new content to students during the closure? (Updated April 9)

      • The Department of Teaching and Learning developed the continuous learning plans based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to identify “the specific content in core content areas that had not been taught as of Friday, March 13, 2020 and develop an equitable plan to incorporate the missing content in core content areas into the curriculum for all students.” Per this direction, the APS plan focuses on new learning activities that build on concepts touched on, but not fully explored, during the first three quarters of the school year. Teachers will also work with students to provide enrichment and extension activities that provide new learning opportunities based on key standards from the first through third quarters. This will benefit students because they will have an opportunity to solidify their foundational knowledge and apply their understanding to new contexts.
      • It is important to keep in mind that, while teachers will not address new fourth quarter topics between now and the end of the school year, they will use new learning activities to address previously introduced content as this aligns with best instructional practices. Teachers often use a variety of modalities (for example: writing assignments, role play, analysis of text) to introduce and reinforce key concepts. These new learning activities use the key standards from the first through third quarters to infuse more depth and complexity into students’ learning and to enrich and extend previously introduced concepts. The new activities will benefit students because they will have an opportunity to solidify their foundational knowledge and apply their understanding to new contexts.
    • What are the instructional expectations for elementary students? (Updated April 9)

      • The learning plans include lessons and guidelines for time allotments at each grade level. We recognize and appreciate that it may, at times, be difficult for students to remain engaged in distance learning activities. It is recommended that teachers, students and families work together to help students complete the academic tasks they are able to do and prepare for the 2020-21 school year. Students will be reminded that lessons learned this year serve as a foundation for learning that will occur next year.
    • Why will there not be any live, remote instruction from elementary teachers between now and the end of the school year? (Updated April 10)

      • While APS is committed to ensuring that our students continue learning while schools are closed, we also recognize that teachers and staff have additional responsibilities to their families while they shelter in place. To that end, while teachers are expected to actively engage with students and families, this engagement may not occur during regular school hours. Teachers will communicate with students and parents when they are available for regular office hours and when they expect to communicate directly with students.
      • The delivery of learning activities and resources to elementary students differ according to grade level. For example, students in PreK-2nd grade were not assigned their own device when schools were closed on March 13. Because these students do not have access to assigned devices, they will receive prepared lessons and activities (shared with parents via ParentVUE and available via hard copy at grab-and-go meal sites as of April 13) designed to help these students to solidify foundational skills and knowledge in April and May. Their teachers will check in with parents weekly to provide scaffolded support as students engage in independent practice. However, English-Language Learners and Special Education students in grades Pre-K to 2 will receive iPads to support instruction during distance learning. Students in grades 3-5 have been assigned devices and will engage with their teachers regularly. Programs such as Raz Kids, Dreambox and Reflex are meant to supplement teacher developed lessons and activities.
      • While teachers will not address new 4th quarter topics between now the end of the school year, they will work with students to provide enrichment and extension activities. This means they will use the key standards from Q1-Q3 and infuse more depth and complexity into the learning activities. This will benefit students because they will have an opportunity to solidify their foundational knowledge and apply their understanding to new contexts. We are also mindful of the need to balance academics with students’ social emotional well-being at this time.
    • What are the instructional resources available for students in grades PreK-2 and how can families access these? (Updated May 5)

      • The Continuous Learning Plan for Elementary: Grades PreK-2 provides details about the learning plan and resources available for elementary school students. The learning resources available for Grades PreK-2  include:   Monthly Learning Packets: Teachers will use monthly learning packets to help students in Grades PreK-2 maintain their existing skills and knowledge, extend their learning, and prepare a foundation for topics and concepts to come in years ahead. The monthly instructional packets for our youngest students are available to families in several ways: ·         Via ParentVue ·         In print for pickup between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday or Friday at any of the seven APS grab-n-go meals sites The May learning packet will be available to download or pick up through Friday, May 29, and the June packet will be available on ParentVue and at all sites starting Monday, June 1. The Parent Guide to the K-2 Instructional Resources Packet is available on the APS Continuous Learning webpage, along with screen tips and other resources for families.   Weekly Video Series: To supplement the packets and in conjunction with direct engagement with teachers, the Department of Teaching & Learning (DTL) and Arlington Educational Television (AETV) are broadcasting  At Home with APS, a video series designed to bring teacher-led instruction into the homes of APS students and families. Each episode will feature instruction that is aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for students in grades K-2.
      • The first episode, for example, featured early literacy instruction that includes phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading, and writing. Family literacy tips will also be provided to support families as they extend literacy instruction into their daily routines. In addition, a short video on social-emotional learning will accompany the main At Home with APS episode weekly. Each week, one new episode of At Home with APS will be available, per the online broadcast schedule, on Comcast Xfinity Channel 70/1090 (HD) and Verizon FiOS 41, and online via the APS website, YouTube and Vimeo. At Home with APS is scheduled to work alongside other educational programming developed at the state and local level.
    • What are the instructional areas of focus in the Continuous Learning Plan for elementary students and how can elementary students access the digital instructional activities provided by teachers? (Updated April 9)

      • Students in grades PreK-5 will engage in learning activities focused primarily on literacy and numeracy. Additional choice activities related to Art, Music, FLES, Library, Physical Education, Science, and Social Studies can be found at apsva.us/continuity-of-learning. Please review the Continuous Learning Plan for Elementary: PreK-5 for complete information about the areas of focus for each grade level and specifics about teacher check-ins and special education services.
      • Students in Grades 3-5 will use their iPads to access digital instructional activities provided by their teachers. As students in grades PreK-2 do not have APS-provided devices, their learning plan is paper-based. The materials will be available to all families electronically through ParentVUE. Alternatively, printed packets will be available for pick up at APS grab-and-go meal sites as of April 13, 2020.
    • Will middle and high school students learn new content during the closure? (Updated April 9)

      • Except for Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual Enrollment (DE) or Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses that have competency requirements, no new content will be taught or graded for the remainder of the school year. Sequential courses in all content areas will address power standards* that would typically have been introduced during the 4th quarter of the 2019-20 school year during the early part of the 2020-21 school year. This will require that course content will be covered from October 2020 through June 2021.
      • *Power Standards are a smaller subset of standards that have been agreed upon as the most essential to focus re-teaching on first. There are specific power standards for elementary and secondary grade levels.
    • Do you have any guidance or updates for students enrolled in Dual-Enrollment or Advanced Placement Courses?

        • Dual-Enrollment: Dual-enrolled students are enrolled concurrently with Arlington Public Schools and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). NOVA has directed its instructors to adhere to the expectations articulated by the public school division (APS). Therefore, similar to students in other classes, dual-enrolled students will not be assigned grades on newly introduced concepts or topics.
        • Advanced Placement: For students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, teachers will continue to offer new concepts and topics throughout the school closure; however, they will not grade assignments or assessments.
    • Are there updates or guidance for the International Baccalaureate Program?

      • Washington-Liberty High School has worked closely with their International Baccalaureate (IB) counterparts, and together, they have agreed to be flexible during any school closures. Fortunately, students have already submitted their Extended Essays and the IB Program allowed staff to amend the internal assessment calendar as needed.
    • How will APS deliver Special Education Services during this time?

      • For students who receive special education services, Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams will use student performance data to determine make-up services. Special education teachers are making modifications and providing accommodations to the assignments general education teachers are creating for students. MIPA, FLS, and Shriver teachers have provided resources to parents and are creating activities based on those resources.
      • Special Education teachers are connecting with students, whose cases they are managing, and their parents via virtual video check-ins to ask about their students’ social-emotional well-being, assure them their teachers are thinking of them, and provide some consultative support. Related service providers are collaborating with special education teachers to design accessible instructional activities or adapt existing activities for home learning. Additionally, if individual students or parents are experiencing difficulties accessing instruction, related service providers will set up a consultation with the parents.
      • For additional information or questions, please visit the Office of Special Education webpage.
    • Will families be refunded fees for Extended Day and pre-K programs due to the closure? (Updated May 1)

      • Any advance payments for services in the second half of March and beyond will be applied as a credit to each family’s account. These credits will be applied to future fees when services resume. Refunds for the unused services in the second half of March will be issued if a family will no longer need the services once services resume or has extenuating circumstances. Refunds will not be issued if the family account has an outstanding balance. Under normal circumstances, refunds take 4-6 weeks. Families can expect refund processing to take up to 12 weeks due the school closure.For additional information, or to request a refund, please contact:

Grading

    • Will students have to repeat their current grade level?

      • Students who were in good standing as of the (end of the third quarter) closure of schools on March 13 will proceed to the next grade level, while students in need of support or students with failing grades will receive the necessary help to make up work and grades in preparation for the next grade level.
    • How will elementary student’s work be graded? (Updated April 9)

      • Per Virginia Dept. of Education (VDOE) guidance, the distance learning work the students are doing during the school closure will not be graded, however, it is essential for students to complete the assigned academic activities because these lessons will serve as a foundation for learning in the 2020-21 school year.
    • How will grades be determined for high school credit-bearing courses? (Updated April 9)

      • The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has indicated that students in good academic standing as of Friday, March 13, 2020 will be promoted to the next grade. This provision includes graduating seniors. For full year and semester classes – students’ final report cards will communicate student achievement through the end of the 3rd quarter.
        • For full-year classes, final grades will be calculated based on quarters 1-3; there will be no final exam.
        • For semester classes that were scheduled during the second semester, final grades will be calculated based on quarter 3; there will be no final exam.
        • Students in good standing (who have earned a final grade of C or higher) will have the opportunity to improve their grade from a C to a B, or a B to an A, by completing extension activities related to previously introduced learning (from Q1-Q3) developed at the discretion of the teacher and/or by content Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs). Teachers should continue to check in with these students until the end of the school year to engage in dialogue about their learning.
        • Students not in good academic standing—those having earned a final grade of D or E as of Friday, March 13, 2020—will be expected to demonstrate proficiency on teacher identified power standards to improve their grades. Having evidenced proficiency with these standards, these students’ grades will be changed from an E to a D or from a D to a C. Teachers will work with students until the end of the school year to identify opportunities for them to demonstrate proficiency on the identified standards.
    • What if my secondary student has a “C” or higher as a final grade, but wants to raise their grade one letter grade? (Updated April 21)

      • The secondary continuous learning plan reads, “Students in good standing (who have earned a final grade of C or higher) will have the opportunity to improve their grade from a C to a B, or a B to an A, by completing extension activities related to previously introduced learning (from Q1-Q3) developed at the discretion of the teacher and/or by content Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs).” The spirit of the document is that students would have to complete all of the activities in order to move a full letter grade (from a B to an A, for example). If a student only completes some of the activities, it’s fine for the grade to move up within the particular grade scale (from a B to a B+, for example). The teacher must communicate this to students at the outset so students are clear on how to proceed.
    • How will the work of dual enrollment students be graded? (Updated April 9)

      • Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) has moved to an entirely online delivery model for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. In order to earn credit through NOVA, a student must be introduced to all subject matters and complete all course material. It is for this reason that APS students enrolled in dual enrolled courses will be introduced to new topics, receive new assignments, and be assessed comprehensively.
      • The APS report card will show the student’s letter grades earned during the three marking periods that will constitute the 2019-20 school year. These three grades will be used to calculate the final APS grade for the course. This grade may differ from the student’s grade on the NOVA transcript. Students also have the option of receiving their earned letter grade (e.g. A, B, C, D) on their NOVA transcripts. However, they must specifically request this, and it is not reversible. Students who wish to receive letter grades must initiate this request for each class separately.
    • What happened with end of 3rd quarter grading?

      • The last day of the third-quarter grading period has been altered due to the school closure. All teachers will complete their grading of third-quarter content by March 20, and it will only include student work submitted by that date. Report cards will still be sent home to families at the end of April as previously scheduled. Teachers will be able to grade assignments assigned prior to Friday, March 13, for use when calculating third-quarter grades. It is important to note that the last day for students to submit third-quarter assignments is Friday, March 20, unless otherwise arranged with the teacher.
    • Why did APS change the end of the third quarter to March 20, 2020?

      • With the third quarter now closing March 20, 2020, instead of April 3, teachers were asked to use the week of March 16 to collect and grade missing assignments and complete their third-quarter grade books. The instructional direction was that teachers would not post new learning activities or new work until March 23 so students could finish any outstanding assignments for the third quarter.
      • We recognize that changing the end date of the third quarter will affect our students, and this decision was made after careful consideration of several factors. Students will have a full week to complete missing assignments and tie-up any loose ends with their classes. Ending the quarter on March 20 also allows for the possibility that student access to Canvas in the long term may be inconsistent due to potential student illness, lack of WiFi, or other factors. Also, while APS plans to reopen on April 14, it is possible that the schedule may change as new information becomes available, making it even more challenging to reconcile gradebooks that would then have been open for three weeks without direct communication between teachers and students.

Academic Testing

    • Will the Standards of Learning (SOL) testing be cancelled due to the closure? (Updated April 1)

      • On March 30, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) announced that the U.S. Department of Education has given Virginia permission to cancel federally mandated Standards of Learning (SOLs) tests during the 2019-20 school year. This decision allows students to graduate or progress to the next grade level for the current school year without having to take the SOLs.
      • VDOE Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane submitted the commonwealth’s waiver application after the federal agency informed the Virginia Department of Education that the application did not require prior approval from the Virginia State Board of Education. On March 28, the federal government gave VDOE tentative approval to implement the waiver pending formal approval later this spring.
      • States are required to administer annual assessments in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school per the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. In addition, this law requires testing in science at least once in elementary, middle and high school. As a result of extended school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced on March 20 an expedited process for approving statewide waivers of ESSA testing mandates.
      • Tests in writing, social studies, and history are required by the commonwealth’s testing system, but are not mandated by ESSA. During the reconvened session of the General Assembly in April, VDOE is exploring options for cancelling the administration of all state-required SOLs.
    • How will school closures affect the scheduled IB tests? (Updated May 5)

      • The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, with considerable advisement from stakeholders across the globe including schools, students, universities and official bodies, has tried to determine the most responsible and ethical way forward for IB students in light of school closures and social distancing guidelines.The IB has put into place the following actions:
        • The DP and CP examinations scheduled between 30 April and 22 May will no longer be held.
        • The student will be awarded either the Diploma, Career-related Programme certificate or a course certificate which reflects their standard of work. The achievement will be based around the students’ coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes.

        Additional FAQs are available on the IB website that answer additional questions students may have about the IB programme and exams.

    • How will school closures affect the scheduled AP tests? (Updated May 5)

      • The Advanced Placement (AP) Program has developed solutions that are meant to be as simple as possible for both students and teachers — without creating additional burdens for school leaders during this time. For the 2019-21 school year testing window, the following solutions have been decided:
        • Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place.
        • Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. Every AP subject will be assigned two different testing dates.

        The College Board has released the 2020 AP Exam Day Checklist and an Exam Day Experience Demonstration. AP students should review the checklist access the AP exam demonstration as soon as possible to confirm their testing device and browser will be able to access the AP exam on test day. If a student is unable to complete the online demonstration for some reason, they should contact their AP teacher or testing coordinator immediately for additional assistance.

      • Emails have been sent to students with important information about AP tests. If a student has not received these emails, they should contact their AP teacher or testing coordinator immediately to verify the correct email address is associated with their student account.
      • The AP Program has also unlocked any relevant free-response questions in AP Classroom for digital use so students can access all practice questions of the type that will appear on the exam. Information on taking AP exams and the full AP exam schedule are currently available online. For additional information and course-specific exam information, please contact your teacher or visit the AP Program website.
    • What should I do if I am registered to take the SAT?

      • To keep students safe, and in alignment with public health guidance and school closures across 192 countries, the College Board will not be able to administer the SAT or SAT Subject Tests on June 6, 2020. The College Board also canceled the May 2, 2020, SAT and SAT Subject Test administration. Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled for March 28) were also canceled.Students who already registered for May, whose March test centers were closed, or who do not receive March scores because of any irregularities will receive refunds.
      • If it is safe from a public health standpoint, the College Board will provide weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August. This includes a new administration in September and the previously scheduled tests on August 29, October 3, November 7, and December 5. For additional information, please visit the College Board website.
    • What should I do if I am registered to take the ACT?

      • ACT has rescheduled the April 4, 2020 national ACT test date to June 13, 2020 in response to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19. ACT will communicate directly with all students currently registered for the April 4, 2020 ACT test. All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for next steps. For additional information, please visit the ACT website.

Technology and Internet Access for Digital Learning Devices

    • What if parents have technology issues during the closure – how can families get more information?

      • Student devices are able to connect to a home network and to other open wireless networks. Also, the devices are designed to function without access to the internet.
      • The Federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires all K-12 schools to block and filter student internet connections. Students, staff and families told us that this filtering should be responsive to the age of the student. GlobalProtect is the software application that APS selected to provide the required internet content filtering for the elementary, middle and high school levels. Additional information can be found in the FAQs on the digital learning page.
    • How can families receive support for technology issues?

      • For the duration of APS school closings due to COVID-19, school staff will be monitoring email addresses where families can seek technical help with the student’s school-issued device. If your child is experiencing technical difficulties with their device, please contact the school using the email address listed by visiting the Digital Learning Device Help page.
      • The ITC for your school should be able to help fix the issues once they get to know the details of the problem from the student.
    • How can my child access distance learning if I do not have internet access at home?

      • For direct internet access while at home, internet service provider Comcast is offering free internet access for two months to families who qualify through its Internet Essentials Program. In addition, Comcast is making its Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots free for anyone to use. Millions of the hotspots are scattered throughout the county, so you can find hotspot locations by visiting the Xfinity Wifi hotspot locator page.

Student and Staff Safety

    • If I have safety concerns or an emergency, who do I contact?

      • Concern Phone Number
        Emergency 911
        Police Non-Emergency 703-228-2222
        Arlington County Health Department 703-228-7400
        Arlington County Mental Health Emergency Hotline 703-228-5160
    • What mental health resources are available to support students and families during the school closure?

      • While schools are closed, our school counselors, psychologists and social workers continue to support students and are the first point of contact for student social-emotional concerns. APS mental health professionals are working to maintain connections with students and to provide materials to support social-emotional skills and wellness. Their work includes reaching out to parents and guardians to establish the frequency, communication method, and confidentiality requirements for supporting students while they are home and ensuring that adults are aware of emergency mental health services. Student consultations will provide support and strategies to students who may be experiencing difficulties with anxiety, mood, behavior, or peer or family interactions during this challenging time.
      • To contact a member of the School-Based Mental Health Team at your student’s school, please visit the School Counselors webpage. Each school has a link to their Counseling Department, which includes members of the Student Services teams. Additionally, lists of school psychologists and social workers are available for each school.
      • For a comprehensive list of resources available, please visit the APS Mental Health Resources webpage. For mental health emergencies, and if an emergency is suspected or indicated, please call 911.
    • What is APS doing to protect schools from COVID-19?

      • By order of the Governor of Virginia on March 23, APS schools are closed through the end of the academic year (Gov. Northam News Release). APS is working closely with the Arlington County Health Department, and will continue to evaluate and monitor the situation, and provide updates to the community. APS is supporting student and staff safety by urging social distancing and other preventive measures. We are committed to providing our students and families with access to the educational resources, food and other mental health and wellness services families need during the closure.
    • How should families practice social distancing?

      • In accordance with Governor Ralph Northam’s Stay-at-Home Executive Order issued Monday, March 30, APS urges students, families and staff to stay home and continue to practice social distancing. As noted in the Arlington County notice on the Stay-at-Home Order, everyone is required to stay home, with exceptions for buying food, caring for family members, seeking medical attention, going to work, or volunteering for a nonprofit. The Governor’s order does allow individual exercise, provided people comply with social distancing guidelines of staying six feet apart from people outside their household. Additional information about social distancing is available on the CDC website.
    • What should I tell my child about COVID-19?

      • The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and National Association of School Nurses (NASN) offer the following general guidelines when talking with children:
        • Remain calm and reassuring.
        • Children will react to and follow your verbal and nonverbal reactions.
        • Make yourself available.
        • Monitor television viewing and social media.
        • Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible.
        • Be honest and accurate.
      • In addition, NASP has created a webpage with useful information for parents to use in communicating with their children about the COVID-19 virus. Please visit Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource for additional information. (Downloadable PDF). Additional information is also available on the APS COVID-19 Family Resource webpage.
    • Where can I find updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?