Dear APS Families,
This week, students in grades 7-8 and 10-12 return to in-person instruction, concluding three consecutive weeks of celebrating student returns. By the end of this week, 64 percent of APS students will be in person at least two days per week in the hybrid model, while 36 percent of our students continue in full-time distance learning. We remain committed to ensuring all students finish the year strong and confident in all they have accomplished.
As we look ahead, here are updates regarding the remainder of the current school year, spring break, summer school, and fall 2021.
Current School Year Hybrid Schedules – In response to requests for APS to bring additional students back for more in-person days, I want to clarify that APS will continue with the current hybrid model for the remainder of this school year, in accordance with current health and safety guidance. We all want to have as many students as possible back in the classroom, as soon as it is safe to do so; however, we need to continue to adhere to current health guidelines.
- Current CDC and Virginia Department of Health (VDH)/Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) guidelines necessitate hybrid schedules and reduced classroom capacities to maintain the physical distancing and limited mixing of student groups.
- We understand some families wish to change their model selection from distance to hybrid as soon as possible in the current school year, and we will continue to monitor capacities at each school. Principals are maintaining waitlists and will inform families if space opens for additional students to return for in-person instruction.
Planning for the Fall 2021-22 School Year – My goal is to return to five days of in-person instruction per week in the fall. We are beginning to plan now so that we are ready to make the transition back to five-day per week, in-person schedules, while continuing to follow CDC and VDH/VDOE health and safety guidelines for schools. We will continue to monitor changes in health metrics, social distancing guidelines and other factors that would allow more students to attend school in person.
We are also working to provide an all virtual, full-time distance learning option in the fall. Many students are doing very well in full-time distance learning and wish to continue in this model or a variation of it.
Spring Break Safety – Spring break is March 29-April 2. We encourage staff and families to continue to practice all recommendations for reducing your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 while on break:
- VDH urges all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel, especially if you are at higher risk of COVID-19 or if you will be visiting someone at higher risk, and to restrict or delay travel for vacation purposes. This recommendation applies to everyone, even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have fully recovered from COVID-19. VDH travel guidelines and restrictions are available online.
- The CDC specifically states: Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. CDC travel guidelines and restrictions are available online.
Together, we all share responsibility for keeping our schools as safe and healthy as possible.
Summer School – I know many are interested in learning more about summer school, and we will be sending a communication with details on summer school this Friday. We will continue to keep you informed of planning for fall 2021, as we learn of changes in the federal and state law and guidance for schools.
Thank you for your support and cooperation during these transitions. This truly takes a village.
Dr. Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools