Dear APS Families,
Thank you for reaching out with questions and comments regarding return-to-school plans. I have received many emails since last week, and while I cannot respond to them all, I want you to know that I read all of them and appreciate your feedback. We have not yet made a final decision regarding the student return dates and will keep you informed as soon as we have a definitive timeline. Last week, we announced the timeline for teachers and staff to return, and I continue to evaluate when the time is right to bring more students back into our buildings.
Below is the latest information and reminders for the coming week.
Return-to-School Timeline – I have received questions regarding why Level 2 and 3 teachers and staff are returning prior to the announcement of student return dates. Staff will report in person, either the week Jan. 25 or Feb. 1, for one week of preparation while teaching from their classroom, according to their assigned in-person schedule. This ensures staff who are reporting in person feel confident in the mitigation measures that we have in place and builds in time for staff to prepare classrooms and adapt to new operating protocols and health and safety routines, prior to students returning.
Transportation Planning – As we continue to prepare for Level 2 and 3 students to return, bus schedules are being finalized in accordance with state guidelines for health and safety. Student bus routes and schedules will be communicated to families via ParentVUE once the student return dates are finalized. Bus service will operate very differently because of limited bus capacity for the hybrid learning model. We have posted additional information about changes to expect with bus service that protect the health and safety of students on our website.
Next Week’s Schedule – Mon, Jan. 18, and Wed, Jan. 20, are holidays in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and Inauguration Day. We have designated Tues, Jan. 19 as an asynchronous day ONLY for middle and high school students to provide ample preparation for the last week of the second quarter, and of the first semester for semester classes. Elementary will continue as synchronous on that date. The additional middle and high school asynchronous day will allow more opportunities for teachers to connect with students via office hours and provide targeted interventions for students whose second quarter grades are D’s and E’s.
Vaccine Update – We are excited by the news that APS teachers and staff are able to receive the vaccine soon, within Phase 1b. We are working with the Arlington County Public Health Department to begin the process for APS staff to register for vaccinations, and employees will be receiving more information later this week.
Thank you again for your patience and support as we navigate these changes. I will keep you informed of new developments. My commitment remains to protect the health and safety of our staff and students, as we continue to work towards a return to in-person learning for more students.
Arlington Public Schools