Aug. 25 Return-to-School Update

En Español

Dear APS Community,

School begins remotely in distance learning for all students two weeks from today, on September 8. APS teachers and staff are all back virtually to make final preparations for students – making sure every student has a device and connectivity, finalizing class schedules, engaging in training for distance learning, and working to create online classroom environments and learning experiences that are safe, inclusive, and engaging. APS is committed to making this distance learning experience positive for all students.

Below you will find some information to help you and your student navigate distance learning in the new year.  We will be rolling out more resources to help you get your student ready for school over the next two weeks.

Parent Academy Resources Now Available
The first Parent Academy videos, tutorials, and resources are now available on the APS Parent Academy program page. They address frequent questions and topics for returning to school, including:

  • How to access and use Canvas and SeeSaw;
  • Instructional delivery for Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Arts electives;
  • Delivery of specialized services and supports for students with disabilities, English Learner and Gifted students;
  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) priorities and programs;
  • What to expect for extracurricular activities and athletics; and
  • Information about Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Dual Enrollment courses as part of the distance learning model.

We are making some enhancements to this page in the coming week, so please check back. We will notify you as additional courses are posted.

Schedules in ParentVUE
Elementary class assignments and schedules are now available in ParentVUE. Secondary schedules will be posted next week once all schools are ready. We will notify families when schedules are available. If you need assistance accessing your child’s schedule or to obtain a printed copy, please contact your child’s school.

Biweekly Update on Services for Special Education, English Learners and Gifted Students
Yesterday, families of Special Education students, English Learners and Gifted students received an update on specialized services and resources in preparation for distance learning. These updates will be sent every other week on Mondays from the Department Teaching and Learning, and you can find them on our website here.

School Meals for All Students
Our summer grab-and-go meals service will continue through this Friday, Aug. 28, which will include meals for Saturday, Aug. 29 and Mon, Aug. 31. The national Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ends on Aug. 31, so there will be no APS meal service during the week of Aug. 31. Meal services will resume on Sept. 8 when we will be operating under the National School Lunch Program. Under the National School Lunch Program, we are committed to ensuring that all students can easily access healthy meals and will be operating at 21 school locations three days per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Additional details about this service can be found online and were shared earlier today via School Talk and text message in multiple languages.  

Technical Support and Services
APS is committed to ensuring that every student has a device and internet access before school starts. Devices are being distributed through individual schools. To support families during distance learning, APS has developed the Digital Learning Device Help webpage, including guidance on how to set up an APS device, iPad troubleshooting tips, Global Protect, Microsoft Teams, and more. In the event you need direct support, families can contact their school-based ITC for technical support. APS has partnered with Comcast to provide internet access to eligible families; find out more and get a school code to apply at apsva.us/internet-service/.

How to Help – School Supplies for Students in Need
As a reminder, APS has set up an online store where community members can help purchase basic kits of school supplies for students in need. More than 1,870 kits have been purchased so far for students in grades PreK-8. Thank you for your support! If you would like to contribute, please use this link to donate. Donations will be accepted until TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1. Supply kits will be shipped directly to APS and distributed to families in September.

School Support and In-Person Registration
Last week we sent information about in-person registration and the document drop-off process now available at schools by appointment. To clarify, most of our staff are continuing to work remotely for their health and safety, but schools are checking voicemail regularly and will have staff working in the front office on Tuesdays and Thursdays to answer calls and schedule in-person registration appointments. As an alternative, families are also able to drop off registration documents at the APS Welcome Center by appointment Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. You can contact the APS Welcome Center at 703-228-8000 to schedule an appointment.

Buses on the Road Again
Transportation Services will be holding on-the-road training for staff on August 26, 27, and 28, so you may see some of our yellow school buses on the road in our community this week. This training is part of our ongoing preparation for anticipated transitions to hybrid, in-person learning, depending on health conditions. Also, several of the out-of-County schools to which we send a few of our students will start in-person learning in September, so a few of our buses will be out on the road again transporting students, starting September 1.

Latest Updates on Return-to-School Planning
I presented a comprehensive Return-to-School Monitoring Report at last Thursday’s School Board Meeting. The presentation is available on our website, and you can watch the video of my presentation and Q&A here. Yesterday, the Task Force met to review plans for Food Services and Technology. Both presentations are available on the APS website and provide updates on the expansion of meal services, as well as devices, connectivity, and technical support for staff, students, and families. The Task Force will hold our final meeting next week.  We look forward to a great start to the year.

Take care and stay safe.

Best Regards,

Dr. Francisco Durán
Superintendent
Arlington Public Schools