Health & Safety

icon of hand sanitizer All students will begin the school year in the full-time distance learning model. The hard work and planning that has already gone into our health and safety plan will continue to be developed to ensure that our transition back to in-person learning can be done safely, when circumstances allow.

The health and safety of APS staff, students and families is the number one consideration in planning for returning to school. APS is aligning our operations to local, state, and federal public health guidance and industry best practices for PreK-12 school operations during COVID-19. The APS health and safety plan for returning to school is being developed in consultation with the Arlington County Public Health Division.

Face Covering

All APS employees and students will be required to wear a face covering  (mask) while inside the building unless medically exempt.

Personal Protective Equipment

Enhanced protective equipment will be provided based on interim COVID recommendations from OSHA/VOSH and using the Arlington County Public Health algorithm.

Physical (Social) Distance

All employees and students will be expected to maintain 6-foot physical distance to the greatest extent possible.On school buses, students will be seated one student per every other seat. APS will imodify school assemblies and gatherings of non-school and school-based personnel through streaming and alternating groups. APS is taking measurements of each space now to determine capacities for each classroom and school based on physical distancing guidelines.

Health Screening

All employees and students will go through a daily health screening process, including temperature checks, before participating in any in-person activities at APS. This includes riding the bus, entering the school, or participating in a conditioning workout for VHSL sports. Employee screenings will be logged, using our visitor management system, and student attendance will be used as the log for students.

COVID Response

Clear, documented procedures will be provided for a presumptive or confirmed COVID case and positive health screening within APS.


APS complies with the current CDC and VDH guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting facilities, which includes cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces. We will enhance the cleaning routine for school year 2020-21.


APS will provide modified bus transportation to eligible students in the hybrid model. Due to the state’s physical distancing guidelines, buses will only be able to transport approximately 11 students at a time. As a result, buses may need to make several trips back and forth to school to get all students eligible for transportation to and from school. In order to reduce the number of students APS will transport, some elementary walk zones may expand in areas close to schools. APS will establish (distanced) walking school buses and bicycle trains at schools to support the expanded elementary walk zones.

To help buses move quickly between trips to and from school, all option schools will start using hub stops and some bus stops for neighborhood schools will be consolidated. APS will also establish remote car drop-off locations near schools to give buses easy access to school entrances to drop off students quickly and begin the next bus trip to return students in time for their instructional day.

Details are under development and will be released as they become available through School Talk, the website and ParentVue. We will rely heavily on partnerships with families to help us mitigate these challenges and ensure students arrive safely to school on time.

Initial Steps Completed

  • Three Layer with Filter Pocket Cloth Face Coverings (Adult/Youth) have been purchased for every student (x2) and employee (x4).
  • Additional Specialized Face Coverings are being purchased for Deaf/Hard Hearing Students, Instructors, and Support Staff.
  • Plexiglass Shielding has been purchased for high traffic areas (e.g., administrative assistant spaces, attendance, etc.).
  • Enhanced personal protective equipment for staff in close and constant contact (e.g., psychologist performing psychological assessment).
  • Each employee will receive a return-to-work kit with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in addition to their cloth face coverings.
  • Purchased Infrared Thermometers for schools, activities/athletics, buses, aquatic facilities, Syphax Education Center, and Trades Center.
  • Made adjustments in the Raptor Technologies Visitor Management System to accommodate for health screening and contact tracing of employees and restrict visitors/volunteers.
  • Distributed initial English safety signage to all Arlington Public Schools facilities.
  • Developed multi-lingual guidance on health and safety return-to-work procedures for employees.
  • Developed custodial supply inventory minimums (i.e., 10 weeks) in coordination with Arlington County Government and best practice.
  • Developed interim guidance for conducting of emergency exercises and drills (e.g., fire drills) as required by code.
  • Hand hygiene signage was placed in February and will be refreshed where needed to provide step-by-step directions on proper technique and duration.

Next Steps/In Progress

  • Develop employee health and safety return-to-work training to provide an understanding of COVID procedures for Arlington Public Schools.
  • Implement and deploy new employee IDs to interact with the Visitor Management System to provide quick efficient health screening.
  • Implement physical marking of public spaces within facilities (e.g., hallways, offices, cafeteria serving lines, etc.).
  • Investigate ventilation and filtration needs (if any) above current approved design.
  • Finalize emergency response procedures for health screening concerns and COVID-like symptoms present in schools and workplaces.
  • Print, laminate, and distribute multilingual signage for all Arlington Public Schools facilities.
  • Implement an emergency notification system with capabilities to text, telephone, and email employees.

Updated July 2, 2020