What if my child is sent home from school for COVID-like symptoms?

As of Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, students who are sent home from school with COVID-like symptoms will be able to receive a rapid test at Syphax Room 101 anytime between 8am-7pm, and return that same day if negative, or after 24 hours of being fever-free if presenting with a fever at the time of their test.

What are the current requirements for QUARANTINE following possible exposure to COVID?  

Effective Mon, Jan. 17, APS will adopt the CDC’s revised guidance reducing quarantine from 10 days to five (5) days for both students and staff. Quarantine keeps someone who was in close contact with COVID-19 away from others. (View full definition)

What are the current requirements for ISOLATION after being diagnosed with COVID-19?  

Effective Mon, Jan. 17, APS will reduce the isolation period for staff to five days. Isolation keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 away from others, even in their own home. APS will maintain the current 10-day isolation period for students with COVID-19; this is per CDC guidance that the reduced timeframe be implemented for students only with consistent physical distancing protocols in place at all times, including during meals. Since we cannot maintain distancing consistently in schools, APS will maintain 10 days isolation for students with COVID-19.

What documentation is required for a student to return after five days in quarantine?  

Asymptomatic students who are close contacts and required to quarantine can return to school when ALL criteria below are met:

  • Five days of quarantine are completed; AND
  • Student is asymptomatic; AND
  • Student is able to wear a face mask at school.

Are students exempt from quarantine if they are vaccinated? 

Students may be exempt from quarantine if they are up to date* on their vaccinations per CDC guidance, are able to wear a face mask, and are asymptomatic. This documentation will be requested during contact tracing and clearance will be required prior to students resuming in-person learning and activities.
*Up-to-date vaccination means you have had both shots of a 2-shot vaccine (or had an initial single-dose vaccine) AND have had a booster when eligible.

What documentation is required for a student to return after 10 days in isolation for a COVID-19 diagnosis?

Students must:

  • Complete 10 days of isolation from symptom onset or since testing positive (day test administered), whichever is first; AND
  • Be fever free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

What threshold is APS using to determine if a class or school needs to revert to virtual instruction?  

Our priority is to keep APS open for in-person instruction moving forward. Switching any class or school to virtual learning—even for a short period of time—will be a last resort. We will make those decisions on a case-by-case basis using the best available information and in consultation with the Arlington County Public Health Division. Factors we consider include:

  • The number of students and staff who have tested positive;
  • The number of students in quarantine; the number of staff absent for COVID-related reasons; and
  • The level of transmission of the virus in the classroom or school.

How will APS address missed instructional days and grading when students are out for COVID-related reasons?  

We are ready to pivot, when needed, to deliver instruction remotely for individual students or full classes/schools. Our instructional plans are available online. Beginning on day 3 of quarantine or isolation, individual students will have access to one of three options for learning remotely, as determined by the student’s teacher(s). When it’s a full class or school, classes/schools revert to distance learning using the model similar to the synchronous instruction students experienced in the hybrid model. The scenarios by grade-level are outlined in this chart.

Is APS altering the school year calendar or changing grading policies to address the missed instructional time?  

The second quarter and first-semester calendar and grading timelines will remain as scheduled, and we will maintain Jan. 31 as a grade prep/no school day for students, as scheduled in the calendar, to prepare report cards. As a precaution in anticipation of additional possible weather-related closures, APS will be identifying possible dates that can be used to make up missed instruction with minimal disruptions, if necessary.  Schools will work with individual students to support them and allow flexibility in the instructional pacing and grading.

Is there any change to the attendance policy? 

We continue to follow our APS attendance policies as we navigate this challenging time due to COVID and related illnesses. Please do not send your student to school if they are not feeling well. Students that miss school for reasons that fall outside of the acceptable excused absences, as outlined in our attendance policies, will be counted as unexcused. Students with excused absences should communicate with their school regarding how to address missed instruction. If you have questions regarding your child’s attendance at school, please reach out to your school directly.

What solutions is APS using to cover classes when more staff are out due to COVID? 

When a classroom teacher is out, APS takes a variety of steps to ensure classes are properly covered and can continue safely:

  • Identify a substitute teacher from the sub pool (APS is currently seeking subs to add to the pool! Apply today.)
  • Identify another teacher or staff member to provide coverage – this includes a daily list of volunteers from central office who meet the qualifications.
  • Pairing two classes or grouping multiple classes together when needed, and when possible, based on space and grade level.