Chromebook/Tablet Distribution, Digital Meal Passes, and more

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Day 115 — Safe, Steady, Ready

We are now less than two weeks away from the start of the 2020-21 academic year and ACPS is actively preparing and refining our work for what is sure to be an unforgettable start to the academic year.

There is a lot of important information to share with you today to ensure a smooth launch of Virtual PLUS+ for all. Please set aside a few minutes and take your time to go through the sections relevant to you and your family. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. We want everyone to feel confident, prepared and able to hit the ground running on Sept. 8.

Today we have three more videos to share with you which will give you a sense of the school day for middle and high school students and English Learner students. We also have a video regarding child care options. If you missed last week’s newsletter, see the videos for pre-K and elementary schedules. 

We also have some updated information on resources for families of students with disabilities and, as an additional support, this week our Family and Community Engagement team will kick off a series of free online workshops with a Q&A component to help our families prepare for the school year.

Next week, you can expect to receive in the mail a Virtual PLUS+ Back-to-School Forms packet for you to update contact information, complete a Free and Reduced Price Meal form, and much more. Please complete the forms online or on paper by Sept. 15.

Tomorrow marks an important event in the process to consider the renaming of T.C. Williams High School. I will be presenting at the Alexandria City School Board work session ahead of the community engagement kickoff in the fall. Also during this session, I will be talking about our 2020-21 ACPS Areas of Focus. I would love for you to listen in so please join us on Thursday, Aug. 27 at 5 p.m.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay informed.


Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

Chromebook and Tablet Distribution

Distribution of devices for students in kindergarten through grade three and newly enrolled students in grades four to 12 will take place between Aug. 31 and Sept. 4, 2020. 

See the details and distribution schedule for each school.

Pre-K families will receive their devices on Wednesday, Sept. 9. More details will be provided next week. 

Due to international supply chain issues and high demand for Chromebooks, ACPS did not receive the new Chromebooks scheduled for delivery in early August. However, we will be using our older supply of Chromebooks in the meantime to get all our students online on Sept. 8. Please don’t worry, it will not be for long! Once these new Chromebooks arrive, the older Chromebooks will be switched out.

Food Access: Digital Meal Passes

Starting Sept. 8, all ACPS families will have to present the new Digital Meal Pass or Family PIN when visiting one of our food distribution sites to pick up student meals.

For most families, your Digital Meal Pass and Family PIN should have arrived by email yesterday. Please make sure to check your inbox for a message from ACPS. If we do not have a valid email address for you on file, you will receive your Digital Meal Pass and Family PIN through postal mail.

See details about the ACPS Digital Meal Pass.

Watch a video to see how the Digital Meal Passes work:

Need Help? The Multilingual Virtual PLUS+ Helpline Will Go Live on Monday

If you have questions or need support on any aspect of Virtual PLUS+, you will be able to call the multilingual Virtual PLUS+ Helpline as announced in our reopening plan, starting Monday, Aug. 31. 

The Virtual PLUS+ Helpline can help you get answers to your questions about:

  • social, emotional or academic support
  • technology
  • child care options
  • food access

Our team of 15 staff will be ready for your call when we go live on Monday, Aug. 31, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • For English: Call 703-844-1763
  • For Spanish: Call 703-844-3424
  • For Arabic: Call 703-927-7095
  • For Amharic: Call 703-927-6866

Have questions? Email

Watch our introduction to the multilingual Virtual PLUS+ Helpline:

Back-to-School Forms Arriving in Your Mailbox Aug. 31

Keep an eye out for Virtual PLUS+ Back-to-School Forms packets which are being mailed out to your homes next week. On these forms you can provide updated contact information, complete your Free and Reduced Price Meals application, and more. The information you give us on our back-to-school forms helps keep you updated on very important information related to your child and allows our schools to run efficiently. 

Complete the entire packet of forms online via your Virtual PLUS+ Parent Access (PowerSchool) account, or return the paper forms to a dropbox at any school by Sept. 15. Access codes for Virtual PLUS+ Parent Access accounts will be provided in the packet you receive.

Family Webinar Series to Help You “Start Strong!”

Want to know more about Virtual PLUS+ expectations for students, how to support learning at home, and where to go for assistance?

Grab your phones, tablets, or computers and “Let’s Start Strong!” Join ACPS and our Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team for a free webinar series designed to help families navigate the numerous changes to the school system as we begin a new year in a virtual environment.

Each “Let’s Start Strong!” webinar will be recorded, captioned and posted on our website, and can be watched at a later date. The webinars will allow for live Q&A and offer interpretation in Spanish, Amharic and Arabic. 

ACPS Back-To-School Webinars:

  • Survive & Thrive in Virtual Learning
    Thursday, Aug. 27 at 4 p.m.
  • Connecting to Class with your ACPS Chromebook! (Grades 2-12)
    Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 12 p.m.
  • Food for Thought: Accessing Meals in Virtual PLUS+
    Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 4 p.m.
  • Attendance Matters in Virtual PLUS+
    Thursday, Sept. 3 at 12 p.m.
  • Connecting to Class with your ACPS Tablet! (Grades PreK-1)
    Thursday, Sept. 3 at 4 p.m.

See the full list of dates and access links.

Additional workshops are being scheduled for September and October. Have questions about the “Start Strong!” workshop series? Want to see a specific topic covered? Email us at

See the Virtual PLUS+ School Day for Middle School, High School, and English Learner Students

This week we are continuing our series of informational videos to help our families envision what a day in the life of their child will look like when school resumes. Last week, we shared videos for pre-K and elementary schedules and today we are giving you a peek into the day for middle and high school students and EL students. Next week you can expect more from us on nutrition, child care and how to access learning via Virtual PLUS+ Access and tech support.

Watch our videos:

Student teacher assignments and schedules are being mailed and will arrive Sept. 2-3.

Special Education Parent Resource Center Now Open

Staff at the Parent Resource Center are now available to offer advice and resources.

The Anne R. Lipnick Special Education Parent Resource Center, also known as the Parent Resource Center or the PRC, is located in Room 134 of the Minnie Howard Campus of T.C. Williams High School, 3801 W. Braddock Road in Alexandria. The Parent Resource Center is open every school day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the services of the PRC are free and available to anyone who lives, works or goes to school in the City of Alexandria. The following is available at the PRC: 

  • A lending library with over 500 books and DVDs on a variety of disabilities and parenting issues;
  • A list of service providers in the community, such as speech therapists, math tutors and respite care providers;
  • Support groups for parents;
  • A workshop series for parents on various disabilities and general parenting topics;
  • Individual consultations to help parents understand their child’s special education services and to support them with the challenges of raising a child with a disability or learning difference.

Follow the PRC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social-Emotional Screenings Coming this Fall

ACPS is committed to the welfare of the whole child and given the chaotic and stressful times we have all been living through, students in grades three through 12 will undergo an age-appropriate social-emotional screening.

The screening tool will allow schools to identify students who may need small-group or individualized social-emotional interventions to support them in being available for learning. 

The specific screen that ACPS has selected is used widely by a range of professionals in child-serving systems such as behavioral health, pediatrics, schools, and child welfare. 

If you do not wish for your child to participate in this, you are able to opt out. Find out more details about the screening and access the opt-out form.

Proposed Policy Changes for the Fall

ACPS is proposing to make adjustments to several policies including the grading policy and attendance policies for the 2020-21 academic year to accommodate circumstances around the pandemic. Some of the proposed updates are include:

  • During the 2020-21 academic year, course curricula, assessments and grading policies will be aligned regardless of whether teaching and learning occurs via in-person instruction or distance learning.
  • Student attendance will be recorded in each class daily, whether teaching and learning occurs via in-person instruction or distance learning.
  • In addition to daily recess/movement breaks and active classroom learning, ACPS will strive to meet the established health and physical education instructional minute/hour guidelines from the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) by accounting for both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for instruction and learning. 
  • While maintaining consistency with School Board policies, some health and physical education instructional methods and practices may also be modified to align with the distance learning environment.
  • In accordance with the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) phased reopening guidance for schools, ACPS will require enhanced health and safety protocols to be observed during the 2020-21 academic year, regardless of the operational status of the division’s buildings or the City of Alexandria’s reopening phase. These provisions will remain in effect throughout the school year. 

These policy changes will be presented to the School Board during the School Board Work Session at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27. 

For all the proposed policy changes please review the School Board agenda.

Find out how to share your comments with the School Board on the proposed changes. 

T.C. Williams Renaming Process: School Board Work Session

Tomorrow, Aug. 27, the Alexandria City School Board will hear from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. during a School Board work session about the recommended T.C. Williams High School renaming process ahead of the community engagement process kickoff in the fall.

ACPS is committed to launching a robust public community engagement process to allow for ample time to engage all members of our community. 

T.C. Williams was named after Thomas Chambliss Williams when it opened in 1965. Thomas Chambliss Williams, who was the superintendent of ACPS from the mid-1930s until 1963, resisted desegregation and argued that Black and white students learned differently and should remain in separate schools.

Today, T.C. Williams High School is proud to educate students from 120 different countries, with 121 different languages spoken. At ACPS we view our diversity as a strength and ensuring racial equity is at the heart of the school division’s Strategic Plan: Equity for All 2025. While we still have much work to do within our schools, including policies and practices, the school’s name does not align with who we are as a community.

The School Board work session, which is open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. and can be viewed live or watched as a recording following the meeting.


The food distribution below will continue until Sept. 4. Starting Sept. 8, families will be required to show their ACPS Digital Meal Pass to receive meals. Learn more about Virtual PLUS+ Food Access.


Grab and Go breakfast and lunch meals are available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. at the following locations:

  • William Ramsay Elementary School
    5700 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22311
  • Francis C. Hammond Middle School
    4646 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304
  • Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology
    3600 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305
  • Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School
    1501 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
  • T.C. Williams High School
    3330 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22304

And available at our “Pop-Up” sites located at:

  • Mason Apartments at South Reynolds Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Brent Place Apartments at 375 South Reynolds Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
    11:20 to 11:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Ruby Tucker Family Center at 322 Tancil Court, Alexandria, VA 22314
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Community Lodgings at 607 Notabene Drive, Alexandria, VA 22305
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Old Towne West Apartments (parking lot) at 500 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
    11:20 to 11:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Corner of Florence Drive and Four Mile Road, Alexandria, VA 22305
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • The Fields at 4309 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22304
    10:45 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Bennington Crossing Apartments at 441 North Armistead Street, Alexandria, VA 22312
    11:30 a.m. to noon, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

NO SIGN UP OR REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE MEALS. Meals consist of breakfast and lunch, and include, for example, fresh fruits and vegetables and sandwiches for multiple days.

NOTE: No food distribution will occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The limited days for distribution is to support the practice of social distancing and to limit social gatherings. Meals for two days will be provided on Mondays and Wednesdays, and meals for three days will be provided on Fridays.

Other Food Resources in the City of Alexandria

For food pantry locations and schedules in Alexandria, visit or call ‪703-662-1067.

Questions? Or Need Translation?

Send us your question in Spanish, Arabic or Amharic:

  • Text ACPSMEALS to 797979 (English and Spanish)
  • Call or text 703-927-6866 (Amharic)
  • Call or text 703-927-7095 (Arabic)


Call the FACE Center’s Bilingual Parent Information Lines, available Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:

  • For Spanish/English, call 571-775-9719
  • For Amharic/English, call 703-927-6866
  • For Arabic/English, call 703-927-7095

SAFETY REMINDER: Please remember to observe social distancing practices while at the food distribution site by maintaining six feet of personal space between you and other families or individuals.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of a respiratory illness like fever, runny nose, sore throat, coughing or difficulty breathing on the day of food distribution or in the previous 24 hours should not visit a food distribution site but call a health care provider instead. If you do not have a primary care physician and are not enrolled in a clinic, you may CALL an urgent care center or emergency room.


The Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams is still open regular hours Monday through Friday for all Alexandrians ages 12-19. All services are provided in the clinic and if the teen is ill with an elevated temperature (100.0 or more) we will see them through our telehealth video format. Make an appointment over the phone by calling 703-746-4776.


The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department strongly urge everyone to follow state orders to STAY HOME except for essential trips such as food purchases and medical care, and keep 6 feet apart from others when in public. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you to stop the spread of COVID-19. For other questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline at 703-746-4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Additional updates can be found at

Coping with COVID-19 Fear and Uncertainty

Check out the City of Alexandria webpage Coping with COVID-19 Fear and Uncertainty which includes the COVID-19 Wellness Resource Guide.


Please consider donating through ACT For Alexandria and the COVID-19 Response Fund if you are able. 

Community members who would like to volunteer should reach out to or 703-836-2176 to register for any additional potential volunteer opportunities.


Continuity of School Support and Academic Advisement

School Student Support Team staff, including school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and school social workers will be available during school hours throughout the closure. Monday — Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. staff will be connecting with students and their families. The Department of Student Services, Alternative Programs and Equity staff members are also available during this time and can be contacted by voicemail and at

Emergency Supports

If there is a crisis or emergency during the time of the closure, students and families can access the supports below:

We know that this is a challenging time. ACPS will continue to share information through the ACPS website, social media, and email. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your student’s school counselor or school social worker with any questions.


Don’t Feel Well?
Contact your primary health care physician. Don’t have insurance? Contact Neighborhood Health at 703-535-5568.


Have questions, concerns or feedback? Contact us.

Stay Healthy!
Wash your hands regularly. Regular soap is OK.

ACPS, Coronavirus, School Board