Dr. Noonan's Friday Reopening Update - November 6, 2020

Dear FCCPS Families,

This has been an unusual and stressful week for us all (a common refrain it seems). Despite the election and politics, we continue to be focused on monitoring our health, operations, and instructional metrics. Our reopening planning continues.  We had our weekly call with the Fairfax County Health Department today and there has been little change in our area since my message on Monday. Therefore, on Tuesday, Nov. 10th the Kindergarten (K) and Third (3rd) Grade students will return to in person learning on a hybrid schedule with the rest of elementary students returning the following week on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Additional details can be found on our Elementary Reopening Plan webpage. 

Our next step in the reopening process is to detail our plan for Grades 6-12.

This week’s message is focused on our  Secondary Reopening Plan.

 Everyone is committed to the health, safety, and well being of all involved--employees, students, and their families. The teams at Mary Ellen Henderson and George Mason have crafted a comprehensive reopening plan. The plan developed offers a thoughtful and measured approach in a complex time. 

FCCPS will continue to meet weekly with the FCHD and have partnered with them as both the Elementary Reopening Plan and the Secondary Reopening Plan were crafted. Here is the link to the presentation that FCHD provided for our staff if you would like more information on the epidemiology of the virus and reopening schools. 

Below you will find an overview of the Secondary Reopening Plan. A web-page has been created where parents/guardians can find additional information and details. After reviewing this message and the webpage if you still have questions, please use reopening@fccps.org for any general reopening inquiries not answered by the webpage. 

Secondary Reopening Plan Overview

After much collaboration and planning, FCCPS is offering our 6-12 parents/guardians two (2) instructional models from which they may choose, for the third quarter. The details are provided below. If you have any specific questions in regards to reopening, please email: reopening@fccps.org 

  • Tuesday, January 5-8th, grade 12 students will have the option to transition to in-person learning (Senior Only Week) or remain in a virtual instructional model. Additional details will be communicated to Seniors in the coming weeks.   

  • Tuesday, January 12th, grades 6-12 will have the option to transition to the Hybrid schedule or remain virtual. 

Instructional Model Options 




Learning Model Side-by-Side Comparison 

Hybrid Schedule (with simultaneous instructional model) Overview 

(All) Virtual instructional model Overview

  • Access to in person learning two days per week (at school) 

  • Access to live (simultaneous) virtual learning two days per week (at home)

  • New instruction four days per week

  • Monday: independent learning time

  • Access to live (simultaneous) virtual learning four days per week 

  • New instruction four days per week

  • Lessons will continue to be recorded for all students to access via Schoology

  • Monday: independent learning time

All 6-12 parents/guardians are asked to complete the FCCPS Learning Intention Form by November 20th, 2020. The form can be accessed here: FCCPS Learning Intention Form (English) Formulario de intención secundaria de FCCPS (Spanish)  

Please Note: Parents will be given the opportunity to revisit their decision for attending in the Hybrid or the Virtual model after the completion of the third quarter (March 26th). 

OPTION 1: Hybrid Schedule (utilizing simultaneous instructional model)

SCHEDULE:  Tuesday-Friday (Beginning Jan 12)

Students in grades 6-12 will receive access to the following: 

  • New instruction, Tuesday-Friday, from 8:00am to 3:00pm. 

  • Students whose last name begins with the letters A-K (Group 1):

    • Will attend school, in person, on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

    • Will access virtual learning on Thursday and Friday. 

  • Students whose last name begins with the letters L-Z (Group 2): 

    • Will attend school, in person on Thursday and Friday.

    • Will access virtual learning on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

  • Students from the same household/family and those with transportation needs will be assigned to the same Group 1 or Group 2 schedule.

  • Please visit our Secondary Reopening Plan webpage for a sample hybrid schedule to see a “week at a glance” for both Mary Ellen Henderson and George Mason students.

Hybrid Scheduling Note: GMHS/Henderson “Cross-Campus” students

  • Cross-Campus Students will transition between buildings to access their respective course(s). All health/safety mitigation factors will be applied.

  • Cross-Campus students will eat lunch in their respective schools.

OPTION 2: (All) Virtual Learning (utilizing simultaneous instructional model)

SCHEDULE:  Tuesday-Friday (Beginning Jan 12)

Students in grades 6-12 will receive access to the following: 

  • Virtual learning via Schoology conferencing/classroom streaming.

  • New instruction, Tuesday-Friday, from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

  • Instruction delivered by current classroom teachers.

Other important information:

  • There will be no in-person learning for students in hybrid or virtual models on Mondays. Students will be assigned self-paced independent work to complete and required to log in for attendance purposes.

  • Classroom teachers will utilize AVer cameras to stream instruction to virtual/at-home students via Schoology Conferences for both in person and virtual students (simultaneously) to ensure all are engaged in the learning community. 

  • All in person students will need to bring laptops and chargers to and from school daily.  Students should bring headphones to school daily as well.  If your student needs headphones, please reach out to your school directly.

  • Special Education, 504 Plan, ESOL and Gifted Services will be provided.

  • Bus transportation will be provided for students residing outside of an expanded walk zone to ensure we have no more than one student per seat.

  • FCCPS and the City of Falls Church are working collaboratively to develop a walking/biking route to ensure students arrive at school safely given the construction that continues. 

  • Students will be able to drive to school. Parking lot locations and senior space availability will be communicated at a later date.

  • Parent/Guardian Drop Off updates will be shared in an additional communication. 

  • All in-person students will have access to breakfast and lunch at no cost.

  • All students will eat socially distanced and have opportunities to eat outside if the weather permits.

  • Outdoor areas will be utilized to provide additional learning spaces as the weather permits.

  • After School care at Henderson (ASAP)  will not be provided while implementing the hybrid schedule.

  • Students are encouraged to bring their own personal water bottle from home for use during the school day.

  • All buildings are deep cleaned and sanitized every night, while high touch areas will be cleaned multiple times during the day.




All of our families can be reassured that our teams at Mary Ellen Henderson and George Mason have been very thorough in developing and implementing extensive mitigation practices. All in person learning opportunities will have detailed COVID-19 protection procedures in place. Those include: Daily Health Screenings, Temperature Checks, Face Coverings, Social Distancing, Handwashing/Hand Sanitizing Practices, Extensive Cleaning Procedures, and Health Clinics & Public Health Nurse Support in Place. PLEASE VISIT OUR SECONDARY REOPENING WEBPAGE FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS AND INFORMATION. 

Protocols for COVID-Like Illness/Sickness:

All parents must notify their student’s school immediately when:

  1. Any student is absent due to illness. (All students will be required to provide a statement from a health care provider clearing them to return OR provide a negative COVID test result in order to return to in person learning.)

  2. There is a COVID positive result for the student or a member of the student’s household.

Process for Addressing COVID Positive Cases & Contact Tracing:

When the division is notified of a COVID positive case in our schools, all those who could be impacted will be placed on a brief  2-day “pause” for in person learning. 

  1. Students and staff who may have come in contact with a COVID positive case will transition to virtual learning for the 2-day pause.

  2. The pause allows for deep cleanings to occur and for the Fairfax County Health Department & FCCPS to conduct contact tracing.

  3. Individuals who have been identified as a direct contact or exposure (closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) will remain in a virtual learning environment for approximately 10 additional school days for quarantine based on guidance from the Fairfax County Health Department.

  4. Individuals who are not considered direct contacts or exposures will return after the 2-day pause to in person learning.

  5. Families will be notified by FCCPS regarding the need to “pause” via the contact information you have shared with the school system. Please update your contact information if necessary.  

  6. The Fairfax County Health Department will contact families during contact tracing only if their student is considered an exposure. 

  7. A general notification will be provided to the impacted school community regarding the outcome of the event however, no specific information will be provided to ensure privacy and confidentiality for all involved.

In closing please spend some time over the weekend reviewing the information provided and thinking about what option is best for your student(s) and your family. This is a deeply personal choice and all decisions will be respected. 

In conclusion, we are asking each family to:

  1. Review the information provided in this communication and on our SECONDARY REOPENING PLAN WEBPAGE

  2. Determine if your selection of Face-to Face Hybrid or the 100% Virtual learning option for your student(s)

  3. Complete the  FCCPS Learning Intention Form (English) Formulario de intención secundaria de FCCPS (Spanish)  by 11/20/2020

  4. Email general questions to reopening@fccps.org that may not be answered by the information on our webpage - please note that the webpage is comprehensive and we have tried to provide as much information as possible there. 

As always thank you for your support, patience, and understanding. We are all navigating this journey together without a template or playbook. #bettertogether

All my best,