On Thursday, Oct. 15, the Alexandria City School Board discussed our proposed plans for the second quarter of the 2020-21 academic year. ACPS is recommending a phased-in reopening of our school buildings, beginning with a small cohort of Students With Disabilities enrolled in our citywide program starting Nov. 5.
ACPS’ proposed plan takes into account its students’ needs, resources, staffing and facilities. Please be aware that we are focused on our own resources, student demographics and constraints, including our building capacity, while adhering to CDC guidelines and staffing implications, and therefore our plans may look slightly different from neighboring school divisions.
We also need families and staff to be aware that a return to school may not mean a return to a familiar school building, classroom or teacher. To accommodate the maximum needs of our staff and students, we will need to be flexible about where we place students across ACPS and how we assign teachers due to the building capacity constraints while adhering to the CDC guidelines.
We want to prepare families and staff for these adjustments during the phased-in return to school process. It is important that our families and staff understand the required adjustments to our operations during our phased approach to in-person learning, including required face coverings, six-foot social distancing, and one way entrances and exits.
Key dates for the proposed phased-in return of students have been adjusted over the course of the past week and were presented and discussed with the School Board. Additionally, in response to the School Board’s questions during last Thursday’s School Board meeting, initial adjustments have been put into place and the draft plans that are under development for secondary students are outlined below.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, the School Board will hold a Special Called Board Meeting to discuss any adjustments to the proposed phased-in reopening plan and then vote on the transition into in-person learning strategy. You can find the agenda and a link to watch the meeting on the School Board page on the ACPS website.
Key Dates of Phased-In Reentry
Below is an outline of the key dates that were shared at the School Board meeting on Oct. 15, along with the most recent adjustments:
Beginning Nov. 5: Phased-in return of high priority/most vulnerable Students With Disabilities (Citywide self-contained students with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Multiple Disabilities or Emotional Disabilities) to be served at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School
- Nov. 5: Begin with Students with Disabilities in grades K-2 who are enrolled in the Citywide Special Education program who opt into in-person learning.
- Nov. 17: Expand to include Students with Disabilities in grades 3-5 who are enrolled in the Citywide Special Education program who opt into in-person learning
- Nov. 30: Expand to include Early Childhood Special Education students who opt into in-person learning (to be housed at the Early Childhood Center).
- Nov. 30: Expand to include Students with Disabilities in grades K-5 who receive self-contained Language Arts and Math instruction who opt into in-person learning.
- Dec. 2020: Expand to include Students with Disabilities in grades 6-8 who are enrolled in the Citywide Special Education program who opt into in-person learning.
- Jan. 2021: Expand to include all remaining students in grades PreK-5 who opt into in-person learning.
- Feb. 2021: Expand to include all remaining students in grades 6-8 who opt into in-person learning.
- Draft plans for secondary students are under development.
Please be aware that we are considering the feedback from the School Board and still working through our staffing model which takes into account that our staff members are facing some of the same challenges that many of our families are grappling with during this pandemic such as:
- People who are 65 or older;
- People of all ages who have underlying medical conditions, are at higher risk of serious illness if they do get COVID-19;
- Other groups at higher risk for complications including pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems;
- Caring for a family member with underlying medical conditions or weakened immune systems;
- Child care; and
- Family life obligations
This iterative process of our phased-in return to school is informed by this feedback and our staffing considerations which will allow us to adjust as necessary. We will continue to make changes and updates according to comments and questions from staff, the Board and the community. Furthermore, once the proposed phased-in reopening plan is approved by the School Board, we will provide continuous updates at the following School Board meetings: Nov. 12 and 23, Dec. 3 and 17, and Jan. 21.
View the phased-in reopening presentation to the School Board (PDF). NOTE: We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion following the publication of ACPS Express last Wednesday. This presentation was re-uploaded on the School Board website on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, causing previously published links to break.
A full outline of the plan for Quarter 2: Phased Reentry of Students to School Buildings will be available on the ACPS website on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
ACPS will also be sharing a video from the Oct. 27 simulation of safety protocols with families and staff in ACPS Express and ACPS Insider on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
Watch the Presentation from the School Board Meeting
Watch video of the phased-in reopening presentation to the School Board from Thursday, Oct. 15.
Watch various sections/topic areas from this presentation:
- Superintendent Overview
- CDC and Alexandria Health Department Guidelines
- Survey Results
- Virtual PLUS+ Overview of Adjustments, including assessments
- Virtual PLUS+ Elementary Schedule Changes
- Virtual PLUS+ Learning Packet Update
- School Board Questions on Virtual PLUS+ Improvements
- Phased Reentry Overview
- Reentry: Citywide Program Students With Disabilities
- Reentry: Other Special Education Students
- Reentry: Safety Measures for Students in Schools
- Reentry: English Learner Students
- Reentry: Elementary Students
- Reentry: Middle School and High School Students
- School Board Questions on Reentry Plans
Update on ACPS Book Giveaways
There are more opportunities to get free books today! Don’t miss out on these opportunities to snuggle up with a new book as the weather turns cooler.
ACPS Free Book Distribution at Ramsay until 12 p.m. today! All ACPS students in grades K-5 are invited to William Ramsay Elementary School from to collect a free book. Students can dress up as their favorite book character, superhero, or wear another cool costume. Wearing a costume is not a requirement to receive a free book. Pickup will be outside the main entrance.
Patrick Henry Only Event: Please note that the book giveaway at Patrick Henry on Monday morning is only for students who attend Patrick Henry K-8 School.
Community Budget Forum Today: Have Your Say in How Our Funds Should Be Allocated
The ACPS Department of Financial Services is offering one Budget Forum this year. This year’s forum will address financial topics related to COVID-19 and its impact on our school division, as well as highlight our efforts to tackle the present-day issues and challenges.