APS News Release

Superintendent Provides Return to Hybrid, In-Person Learning Plan

Update includes New APS COVID-19 Dashboard, Timeline and Metrics

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán presented the APS plan to return to in-person learning at the Sept. 24 School Board meeting. The presentation included updated metrics, a timeline for returning to buildings, and details on a new dashboard for monitoring health and safety metrics.

APS Dashboard
The dashboard is designed to provide a quick glance review of each metric using five colors associated with each level of instruction. ​

  • Grey – Level 0 which is full distance learning
  • Red – Level 1 which includes distance learning supports for select students with disabilities.
  • Orange – Level 2 which provides in-person instruction for PreK to Grade 3, select English Language Learners, students with disabilities and select career and technical education courses,
  • Yellow – Level 3 provides in-person instruction for all students in a hybrid instructional model
  • Green – Level 4 denotes a 100% capacity with no public health restrictions ​

The dashboard is now posted on the APS website homepage and will be updated weekly on Fridays to provide more clarity on how data is informing our plans.

Pandemic Operating Conditions
APS has created four operating levels associated with COVID-19.

  • Level 1: The majority of schools and offices may be closed, or limited employees are reporting.  ​
  • Level 2: The majority of schools and offices will be open and identified students with the greatest need of additional support will receive one or more days of hybrid, in person instruction.
  • Level 3: All our schools and offices will be open, and students will be participating in a hybrid model (either distance or in-person learning.)
  • Level 4: APS returns to pre-pandemic operating status of 100% capacity for students with no public health restrictions. ​

Health and Safety Response
If community health conditions worsen, APS, in collaboration with the Arlington County Public Health Department will pause at the current level, reverse, or suspend all in-person instruction. ​

Student Cohort Group Identification
APS has identified the following groups of students who are most in need of in-person support and instruction and plans to transition them into school this fall, prior to bringing back all students who select hybrid/in-person instruction. ​

  • Level 1: Students with Disabilities (SWD)  SWD who require direct support to access the curriculum as presented via distance learning. ​
  • Level 2:
    • English Learners/SWD – English Learners 1-4 in grades K-12 and all SWD with IEP’s as both groups of students need additional in-person support for language acquisition (EL’s) and access to the curriculum. ​
    • Early Learners – All PreK-3rd grade students given that they need more support in accessing their education in early years of learning. ​
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Students – CTE students enrolled in many Career Center courses need to have access to industry tools and equipment to become proficient in their field of study. Some in-person hands-on work is required in order to meet VDOE competencies not waived and industry credentialing requirements. ​

Return to School Timeline
APS has identified target dates for bringing students back, defined by return level, contingent upon operational readiness and positive health metrics. APS is planning toward these timeframes but cannot yet promise a specific date until operational areas are fully addressed. APS will communicate specific dates when they are available.

  • September: Full-Time Distance Learning, All Students
  • Mid to Late-October: Return Level 1
  • Early to Mid-November: Return Level 2
  • Early December: Return Level 3

The ability to be able to return in each level of instruction during the pandemic is highly dependent on the ability to meet some key metrics and operational capacities, including: Bus Routing; COVID-19 Equipment​; Isolation Equipment​; Health Measure Compliance​; Employee and Substitute Availability​; and Cleaning and Disinfecting Supplies​.

Selection Process for Students, Staff and Families

Staff: Staff will not be surveyed all at one time. APS will determine staffing needs for each level, and only those staff will be surveyed prior to return. ​For Level 1, Human Resources will survey staff Oct. 1-8 and the week of Oct. 5 for Level 2.

Families: APS will contact Level 1 return families directly to confirm preference the week of Sept. 28. For Level 2, APS will open the ParentVue process for all level 2 students and families to update their selections on Tue, Sept. 29.Additional details on return levels, transportation considerations, health and safety expectations and more is available on BoardDocs. To watch the Superintendent’s presentation, click here.

Monitoring Items
The Board was provided updates on the following:

  • Update from the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families – Representatives from the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families will present data and recommendations from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the Your Voice Matters Survey. Details are available here.
  • Elementary Boundary Process Update – Staff provided an update on the Fall 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process which will happen as scheduled but the scope of this process will be limited in response to COVID-19 and the strain it has placed on the school community. The full presentation is available online.

The Board approved the following appointments:

  • Melaney Mackin was named the new Principal of Carlin Springs Elementary School. Dr. Mackin currently serves as the principal at Silverbrook Elementary School in Fairfax County and her appointment begins Nov. 1
  • The School Board appointed Frank Bellavia as the Director of Communications. Bellavia has been with Arlington Public Schools for 15 years.

Information Items
The Board discussed the following items.

  • Charge for the Arlington Public Schools and School Resource Officers Work Group – The APS and School Resource Officers Work Group is being created to primarily address the community concerns expressed to the School Board and Superintendent regarding the relationship and the operations that Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) have with APS. The work of the Work Group will also serve to meet the requirement to review the memorandum of understanding with our local law enforcement and ensure opportunity for community input during the review per VA Code § 22.1-280.2:3. The proposed charge is available on BoardDocs.
  • ATS Key McKinley Refresh and Kitchen Renovation Funding – Staff is proposing a kitchen and two building refreshes as part of the School Moves process that took place last year. The full presentation is available online.

Action Items
The Board approved the following items:

  • School Board 2020-2021 Action Plan – The School Board approved it’s 2020-21 Action Plan that included overarching goals that focus on excellent education and a continued focus on equity. The Action Plan also includes goals on student success and well-being as well as operational planning. The full action plan is available on BoardDocs.
  • Transportation Staff Facility Construction Contract Award – The Board approved the construction contract award for the Transportation Staff Facility Renovation project. Staff recommends awarding the contract to The Matthews Group, Inc. in the amount of $1,847, 427 as well as approving a transfer of $1.2 million from the Capital Reserves. The full presentation is available online.

For More Information:

Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the Board at school.board@apsva.us or call 703-228-6015. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary.

School Board meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41; live-streamed on the APS website, and re-broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the meeting. All materials and minutes will be posted to the website at www.apsva.us/schoolboard upon School Board approval at a subsequent meeting.