Superintendent’s March 2 Return-to-School Update

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Dear APS Families,

This is a big week! Today we welcomed elementary students arriving at school for the first time in many months. It was exciting to see their smiling faces as they reunited with their teachers and classmates. Thank you to our staff who have worked to ensure our buildings and classrooms are ready. Thank you to all APS parents for your support as we make this transition.

While we are excited to welcome back staff and students in the hybrid model, we are equally focused on supporting the many students who continue to participate in full-time distance learning. As we move forward together, health and safety will continue to be our priority.

The full return-to-school timeline and details about the instructional models are available online. Below are important reminders about health and safety, transportation, and meal services:

  • Ready to Return with Mitigation Measures in Place – APS is committed to providing a safe learning environment and preventing the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health for returning students to schools.
  • All of Us Play a Part – Stay Vigilant – We will be monitoring to ensure each schools’ adherence to mitigation strategies for COVID-19. Staff and families can report any concerns about compliance using the Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management Concern Form. We conduct random onsite spot checks and generate regular reports for school administrators. APS will also monitor the APS COVID-19 Dashboard health metrics and exclusion data for any indication of virus transmission within our schools.
  • Student Screener – The arrivals this morning went smoothly with many families having completed the online health screener in advance of arriving at the bus and school. A few reminders regarding the screener:
    • Remember to complete both the screening questions and the acknowledgement form. Indicating “I agree” on the second screen completes the process.
    • If you make a mistake when answering the questions and need to redo the screener, contact your child’s school for assistance.
    • We are aware that some families are not receiving screeners for all of their students, and some screener texts and email notices are arriving late. Families should check their spam, junk, or other spam filter email boxes and consider adding the email address used for sending emails to their SafeSender list (noreply@qemailserver.com).
    • Updates are being made with our vendor to fine-tune the system and ensure families receive screeners prior to school start times for each of their students. We are also working to make the screener available via Canvas for secondary students as they arrive. More information about the screener is available online.
  • Transportation – Bus schedules for elementary and special education students were posted in ParentVUE on Fri, Feb. 26, and additional updates are being made. APS will re-post information in ParentVUE on Fri, March 5 to address missing information. Bus schedules for students in grades 6 and 9 will be posted in ParentVUE on Fri, March 5. Schedules for students in grades 7 and 8 and 10-12 will be posted in ParentVUE on Fri, March 12. View details and FAQ for more information.
  • Meal Services – Students attending school in person will receive free breakfast and lunch during the school day. APS continues to serve free grab-and-go meals for all children 18 and under at the 22 designated school meal sites. Meals are available for pick up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. The menus are posted online in Nutrislice.
  • Proposed FY 2022 Budget – Last Thursday, I presented the FY 2022 proposed budget, which emphasizes support for education, equity, and compensation for employees. I hope you will stay engaged and follow along through the work sessions and public hearings, prior to School Board action on May 6. The full budget document and budget development calendar are available online.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we prepared for this important milestone. We are so proud of our students and appreciative of the support we receive from our families and community partners in this uncertain year.

Sincerely,

Dr. Francisco Durán
Superintendent
Arlington Public Schools