Superintendent’s Jan. 5 Return-to-School Update

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Dear APS Families,

Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope that you all enjoyed a relaxing time off with your families for Winter Break. For me, it was an opportunity to reflect and recharge, and I hope it was for you as well. I know many of you are eager to learn about our plans for the remainder of the school year. The following provides an update on the transition to hybrid/in-person learning, as well as a new resource available through Parent Academy, and other calendar updates.

Phased Hybrid/In-Person Learning Transitions: I have worked closely with administrators on a phased plan to begin Level 2 and Level 3 transitions to in-person learning. We are finalizing those plans and will provide the timeline and other details during my Monitoring Report at the School Board meeting this Thursday. I want to emphasize that we continue to take a gradual approach, following guidance from the Virginia Department of Health, with effective mitigation, health and safety measures at the center of all planning.Our planning for Levels 2 and 3 builds in time for teachers and staff to transition back to school buildings prior to students and considers the academic calendar as well. With the second quarter concluding at the end of January and the start of the third quarter in February, our goal is to minimize learning disruptions and to maintain as much consistency as possible. The overall timeline will be shared this Thursday, and additional communication will be provided as plans are finalized.

Additional Calendar Dates and Updates: As a reminder, Mon, Jan. 18, and Wed, Jan. 20, are holidays in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Inauguration Day. Additionally, we have designated Tuesday, January 19 as an asynchronous day for middle and high school students to provide ample preparation for the following week, which is the last week of the second quarter, and the end of the first semester. The additional 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.

New Parent Academy Resource: We have provided a new video for families on Parent Academy about asynchronous Mondays. In the video, teachers explain how asynchronous Mondays are used to support instruction for students. New resources are continuing to be produced to support families and students, and we will alert you as new videos are posted.

New Daily Health Screening App—Coming Soon: APS will soon launch a new COVID-19 health screening application that allows students and staff reporting to school and work in person to complete mandatory health screening questions from home, using a mobile device or PC. Developed on the Qualtrics platform, the new app will require individuals to monitor their health daily and complete a short survey regarding symptoms, recent travel, and possible exposure, before reporting to school or work. Temperature checks must still be completed onsite. In addition, the Qualtrics platform will enhance the process for reporting exposures and positive tests, to assist with the speed and efficiency of our contact tracing process.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and I wish you and all our students a successful first week back in this new year.


Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools