Dear APS Families:
Earlier today, you received the update regarding the decision to close schools Monday, March 16, through Spring Break, with the current plan for students to return on April 14, 2020. I want to convey how challenging this decision was for our leadership team and staff.
This is an unprecedented challenge for us all, and the impact on public education and our community is considerable. We know how significantly this impacts our families and the hardship it will cause for many. Up to this point, we made our decisions based on health guidance from the Arlington County Public Health Division and the experts who continue to advise us that the risk of COVID-19 remains low in Arlington. However, given the anxiety expressed by the community and information available now, including other closures throughout the National Capital Region that impact our staff and families, we believe this is the best decision at this time.
In preparation for this period of closure, the following are additional details about instruction, technology and meal services for families.
We have prepared to deliver instruction to our students during this period. Please note the last day of the third-quarter grading period has been altered due to the school closure. All teachers will now 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.
- For Early Childhood and Elementary students (PreK-Grade 5), instructional materials have been prepared and should have been distributed by individual schools either in hard copy or electronically. If you have questions about how to access the instructional materials for your child, please contact your student’s teacher.
- Secondary students (Grades 6-12) will be able to access assignments using Canvas. Teachers will spend the week of March 16 fulfilling their normal duties and working to transition course content, assignments and activities online.
We want to acknowledge that we can never replace the work our teachers do with students in our classrooms; no one expects learning to be as effective as what teachers accomplish directly with students. These activities are meant to help our students maintain their existing skills and knowledge, extend their learning, and prepare a foundation for topics and concepts to come in the fourth quarter.
During our school closure, teachers will provide instructional activities that both review previously taught information and introduce new topics and concepts. While teachers have been instructed not to grade assignments or quizzes of newly-introduced topics or concepts, they may offer assessments to inform their teaching. These formative assessments will be used to monitor student progress and evaluate the effectiveness of instructional activities.
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.
Students Enrolled in Online Courses
Students enrolled in online classes will continue to progress through the course based on guidance from the specific provider being utilized. School counselors will be available to students throughout the closure and available to offer support and guidance, as well as provide passwords for assessments.
Students Enrolled in Dual-Enrolled Classes
Dual-enrolled students are enrolled concurrently with Arlington Public Schools and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). NOVA currently expects that course objectives be taught and assessed. APS and NOVA will work together closely throughout the closure to evaluate the situation and ensure that student assessments are appropriate given circumstances at the time. Students or parents/guardians with questions or concerns should contact Tyrone Byrd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students Enrolled in Advanced Placement Courses
While Advanced Placement teachers will continue to offer new concepts and topics throughout the school closure, they will not grade assignments or assessments.
Washington-Liberty High School has worked closely with their International Baccalaureate counterparts and together, they have agreed to be flexible during any school closures. Fortunately students have submitted their Extended Essays and allowed us to amend our internal assessment calendar as needed.
For students who receive special education services, IEP teams will use student performance data to determine make-up services. Case carriers will collaborate with classroom teachers and related service providers to modify assignments and activities as appropriate for students. The Office of Special Education staff will work directly with teachers to identify activities for students should schools be closed for any length of time.
If students experience technical difficulties, they should contact their school. Each school has an email address for technology questions or issues related to internet connectivity (Global Protect), and our core student digital learning systems such as Canvas, Google and SeeSaw. This mailbox will be monitored by the school ITC. A list of email addresses can be found at https://www.apsva.us/digital-learning/digital-learning-device-help/
Comcast is now providing two months of free internet access for qualified families through its Internet Essentials program. This program is normally $9.95 a month. More information is available from Comcast at https://www.internetessentials.com/
Families that have requested MiFis (wireless internet cards) will be able to pick them up from Kenmore Middle School or Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School. Information Services staff will contact these families to determine the more convenient location and pickup date.
Beginning Mon, March 16, APS will provide free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches at two school sites – Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) and Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School (3500 S. 23rd Street).
Meals will be set up on a table outside the building for distribution from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday. We will provide one lunch for that day and one breakfast to take home for the following day. These meals will be free to any child aged 2 to 18. The child must be present to receive the meals; no meals will be given to parents without the child present. We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and make adjustments as needed.
Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.
Stay connected with us. We will be providing updates as they happen on our COVID-19 webpage. Additionally, families will receive regular communication and updates through our normal APS channels.
Together, we will move forward and continue to serve our students and support one another.Thank you for your continued patience and support.
Cintia Z. Johnson