Health & Safety

icon of hand sanitizer The health and safety of APS staff, students and families is the number one consideration in planning for returning to school. APS is aligning our operations to local, state, and federal public health guidance and industry best practices for PreK-12 school operations during COVID-19. The APS health and safety plan for returning to school is being refined in consultation with the Arlington County Public Health Division.

  • Staff and students should stay home if they are sick, and report COVID-like symptoms to their school.​
  • Staff and students will require medical clearance to return to school after being excluded for COVID-like symptoms, positive tests, or close contact.​
  • Expanded testing is being identified for students, for COVID-19 diagnostics only  (not a return-to-school criterium).​
  • Parents should ensure that their emergency contact information is up to date in ParentVUE to ensure timely communication from the school.​

See the Building Ventilation Assessment and Recommendation Report

If community health conditions worsen, APS, in collaboration with the Arlington County Public Health Department will pause at the current return level, reverse, or suspend all in-person instruction.

COVID Response Matrix​
Location​ Response​ Return to Instruction/Work​
Classroom​ 1 confirmed case of COVID-19 in a classroom may result in the entire classroom being transitioned to virtual instruction.*​ 14 Days from Date of Onset*​
School​ Confirmed case investigation determines any connections between multiple individuals from a COVID-19 positive individual.​ 14 Days from Date of Onset*; in addition to Health Department recommendations​
Central Office​ Employee self-reports or Health Department reports of a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual.​ 14 Days from Date of Onset*; in addition to Health Department recommendations​
*Exclusion duration may vary depending on circumstances.

Health Screening​

  • Parents and legal guardians should screen their students at home before reporting to their bus stop or school, keeping sick students home and reporting COVID-like symptoms to their school.​
  • Students and employees will participate in a health screening before boarding a bus or entering a school facility each day.​
  • Students and employees who are unable to pass the health screening will be excluded from work and in-person education until cleared by a medical professional or Human Resources to return.​
  • Arlington Public Schools is working with Arlington County Public Health to increase diagnostic COVID-19 testing availability for children under age 13, prior to return to school.​

​School Day​

  • Employees who develop symptoms during the school day should notify their supervisor immediately and remove themselves from work.​
  • Students who develop COVID-like symptoms during the school day will be identified to the main office by an employee.​
  • Main office will consult with Clinic staff for recommendations for student to either report to clinic or isolation room.​
  • Students identified to be moved to an isolation room pending pick-up will be escorted and monitored by school staff ​
  • Students who are identified and placed in isolation will be excluded from in-person instruction until cleared by a medical professional to return.​

Mask Policy

All students and employees are required to wear a face covering or mask while riding on a bus, participating in an activity, or attending in-person instruction.​

  • Please note that while a student may receive a medical exemption from wearing a mask, we will be working with parents as a team to help these students try to wear a mask, incrementally.  ​
  • For students with IEPs and a medical exemption from wearing a mask, IEP teams will work with these students to wear a mask when possible as they return to in-person instruction.​

Physical (Social) Distance

All employees and students will be expected to maintain 6-foot physical distance to the greatest extent possible.On school buses, students will be seated one student per every other seat. APS will imodify school assemblies and gatherings of non-school and school-based personnel through streaming and alternating groups. APS is taking measurements of each space now to determine capacities for each classroom and school based on physical distancing guidelines.


APS will provide modified bus transportation to eligible students in the hybrid model. Due to the state’s physical distancing guidelines, buses will only be able to transport approximately 11 students at a time. As a result, buses may need to make several trips back and forth to school to get all students eligible for transportation to and from school. In order to reduce the number of students APS will transport, some elementary walk zones may expand in areas close to schools. APS will establish (distanced) walking school buses and bicycle trains at schools to support the expanded elementary walk zones.

To help buses move quickly between trips to and from school, all option schools will start using hub stops and some bus stops for neighborhood schools will be consolidated. APS will also establish remote car drop-off locations near schools to give buses easy access to school entrances to drop off students quickly and begin the next bus trip to return students in time for their instructional day.

Details are under development and will be released as they become available through School Talk, the website and ParentVue. We will rely heavily on partnerships with families to help us mitigate these challenges and ensure students arrive safely to school on time.


APS complies with the current CDC and VDH guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting facilities, which includes cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces. We will enhance