APS News Release

Superintendent Updates Board on Return-to-School Plan, Metrics and Ventilation

The Superintendent provided a return-to-school update on health and safety metrics, vaccinations and air quality at the Feb. 4 School Board meeting. Highlights:

  • APS is using revised reopening guidance from the Virginia Department of Health which advises school systems to base return timelines on a self-assessment of mitigation and level of transmission in schools open for in-person learning, in combination with health metrics.
  • APS is finalizing preparations for all hybrid/in-person student returns in alignment with the state’s guidance for reopening safely and will communicate all dates by the Feb. 18 School Board meeting. (Update 2/5: Timeline to be announced Tue, Feb. 9.)

Vaccines
To date, just over half of APS staff have requested or scheduled appointments to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to date. According to the latest data from the Arlington County Health Department, as of January 29, over 3,400 APS staff have received their first shot.  APS iso working closely with Public Health to ensure that staff will have access to their second dose within proper timeframe.

Air Quality
APS continues to follow a layered approach recommended by the CDC to risk mitigation that includes improved ventilation, mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. APS is working with CMTA, an independent consultant, to review our schools, following the CDC and ASHRAE ventilation guidelines.As of Feb. 4, APS has implemented significant ventilation improvements based on CDC recommendations

  • Ensured ventilation systems are operating properly
  • Improved central air filtration
    • Increased air filtration to the highest possible MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) without impacting design air flow
    • Inspected filter housing and racks to ensure appropriate filter fit to minimize filter bypass
    • Checked filters to ensure they are within their service life and properly installed
  • Increased outside air by opening windows and doors when weather conditions allow
  • Installed Certified Air Cleaning Devices (CACDs) to enhance air cleaning
  • Decrease occupancy in areas where outside ventilation cannot be increased

Facilities and Operations has installed 650 CACDs to classrooms where outside air changes do not meet recommendations and/or that have filters rated less than MERV 13. APS has Ordered 800 additional CACDs to provide one CACD for every APS classroom.

The Superintendent’s full presentation is available online and you can watch the presentation here.

Monitoring Items
Staff provided an update in the Pre-Kindergarten to Adult Education Instructional Programs and Pathways (IPP). The IPP will serve as a framework for making decisions around instructional visioning that will inform APS planning initiatives, including but not limited to, the annual budget, Capital Improvement Plan, boundary processes, and the Arlington Facilities and Student Accommodation Plan (AFSAP). The presentation is available here.

Information Item
The Board discussed the Proposal for Local Diagnostic Assessment. Staff is proposal to the School Board to request that APS pilot an alternative local diagnostic assessment to PALS. The VDOE requires that any school division requesting a pilot for a local diagnostic assessment must seek School Board approval prior to submission of a detailed proposal to the VDOE. 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.