Dear ACPS Families,
As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, we want to provide you with an update on our operations and plans should we be required to close our schools.
The ACPS Emergency Operations Plan for flu pandemics has been adjusted over the past week in collaboration with the Alexandria Health Department to ensure it meets the very specific needs of the coronavirus situation. In addition, we have a detailed plan in place that includes every operational aspect of the school division if we are required to close all schools.
At the present time, the Alexandria Health Department is not recommending ACPS to close its schools. They are not yet seeing transmission of the coronavirus occurring between people where the source is unknown, otherwise known as a community-spread. We are working closely with the Alexandria Health Department and the CDC to determine our status. We will update you immediately should this recommendation change.
ACPS notifies parents about school closings in many ways:
- City of Alexandria eNews: subscribe to this email announcement list via City of Alexandria website
- ACPS Hotline: 703-866-5300
- ACPS-TV, Channel 71 in the City of Alexandria
- Local television and radio stations
It is essential that you make sure your contact information is up-to-date. If you are not receiving all ACPS communications, please check with your registrar tomorrow.
Our staff have been working in preparing for educational continuity if schools are closed. Starting tomorrow, please remind your child that they should take their Chromebook home every day. This includes any elementary school child in grades 3 – 5. Elementary school remote learning packets will also be going home tomorrow in backpacks and should be kept at home ready to be used should circumstances arise where we are required to close schools for a period of time. The situation is evolving quickly. We want to ensure that all students have the necessary tools should we need to make a sudden decision. Therefore, we need to make sure we are prepared now for any eventuality.
This is a difficult time for all of us. I personally want to thank you for your patience and resilience as we work through this situation. We will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, please be aware that we are as prepared as we possibly can be to respond to the coronavirus situation.
Please make sure you stay current by reading the key points that follow this letter.
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools
When are we sending Chromebooks and Learning Packets home?
Starting tomorrow, please remind your child that they should take their Chromebook home every day. This includes any elementary school child in grades 3 – 5. Elementary school remote learning packets will be going home in backpacks on Friday afternoon and should be kept at home ready to be used should circumstances arise where we are required to close schools. We want to ensure that all students have the necessary tools should we need to make a sudden decision. The situation is evolving quickly. Therefore, we need to make sure we are prepared now for any eventuality.
What are we planning to do around food access?
We are committed to providing food for our students who qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals. We continue to work on the details of exactly how we can do this should we need to close schools for a period of time. We will share this information with you as soon as it has been finalized.
What is ACPS doing about limiting non-essential gatherings?
As of today, ACPS will be following the CDC’s guidelines to limit all non-essential gatherings. This means that PTA meetings, school events, after-school activities and athletic events will be canceled until further notice. The travel guidelines shared yesterday in the parent FAQ still remain.
How do I make sure I’m receiving all communications?
I want to encourage you to check that your contact information is current in PowerSchool. If you did not receive TWO messages on Tuesday, your information is NOT current in our system. If this is the case, please contact your school registrar immediately. It is essential that we are able to communicate with all our families in multiple ways. You can find an overview of ACPS emergency communication procedures on the website.
Should we be required to close our schools, parents will receive a daily email update around 1 p.m. to provide detailed information. Our goal is to keep you updated with any new information as soon we receive it.
Should we be required to close our schools, the Superintendent will also hold daily webinars at 3 p.m. to answer your questions.
Are ACPS webinars recorded and available online?
Last night, Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. and Dr. Stephen Haering, Health Director for the Alexandria Health Department answered questions around the evolving situation with coronavirus. This webinar is now posted to the ACPS website.
Tonight, Dr. Hutchings and Dr. Haering joined the City Manager and hospital administrators for a webinar about city preparations. You can access this webinar through the ACPS Facebook page or the City’s website.