Join Club

DEVELOPING: APS Return to School Plan Hits Snag

While students with disabilities are still set to return to classrooms next week, further return-to-school phases are now on hold.

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán made the announcement in an email to families Tuesday evening.

“Currently, the health and safety metrics are not where they need to be to proceed with Level 2, Phase 1 Return on Nov. 12 for PreK, Kindergarten, and Career & Technical Education (CTE) students,” Durán wrote. “Compared to Level 1 [for students with disabilities], Level 2 brings a significantly larger group of staff and students into our buildings and classrooms, and that is why the metrics are set to a more rigorous standard.”

“To begin phasing in Level 2 students, we need to see further improvement in the metrics,” Durán continued. “We will continue to monitor the data at the end of this week and, in consultation with Public Health, will make a final determination about next steps for Level 2 by next week.”

Among the key metrics that APS is monitoring to determine when to advance to Level 2 of the return-to-school plan and beyond are the county’s rate of increase of coronavirus cases and teacher preferences for whether to return to in-person instruction.

The Case Incidence Rate per 100,000 people currently stands at 9.4, and advancing to Level 2 calls for it to be between 5-6. The latest teacher survey found that only 39% want to return, compared to the 70% or greater set as the criteria for Level 2.

(Level 2 includes PreK-5 and Career and Technical Education students. The criteria for Level 3, which would bring all other students who opt in back to classrooms two days per week, includes a Case Incidence Rate between 4-5 and a teacher preference for in-person instruction above 95%.)

The rate of new coronavirus cases in Arlington has been fluctuating over the past couple of weeks, at a higher level than September, but the county has not seen the kind of surge currently taking place elsewhere in the country.

Students with disabilities are still set to return a week from Wednesday, Durán said.

“Based on my review of the data and in consultation with Public Health, the current health and operational conditions allow for us to provide in-person learning support for Level 1 students with disabilities, beginning on November 4,” the superintendent wrote.

The full letter is below.

Dear APS Families,

I want to take this opportunity to update you on our Return-to-School Plan and next steps. I have received many questions from staff and families regarding how we are using the APS COVID-19 Dashboard to assess our readiness to reopen.

We use the dashboard to analyze risk and to help assess our readiness to open. Based on my review of the data and in consultation with Public Health, the current health and operational conditions allow for us to provide in-person learning support for Level 1 students with disabilities, beginning on November 4. My decision to proceed is based on the health and safety data; my confidence in our preparations for Level 1; mitigation measures in place to protect employee and student health and safety; and the urgency of serving our highest-need students who are currently struggling to access their education.A few points of clarification and factors to keep in mind:

  • All metrics have been met for Level 1 except for the case incidence rate for Northern Virginia which has a score of 9.4, per the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) weekly transmission report. This is just above the threshold of 9 the school division set for Level 1. We will monitor this closely as we move forward. I am looking holistically at all health and operational data to inform decisions for each level, factoring in student numbers and needs, as well as the mitigation strategies we have in place to ensure health and safety.
  • Level 1 comprises 236 students with disabilities and 115 employees, who will be returning to 33 buildings. This is a relatively small group of students per building which averages to three students per classroom at this level. This allows us to effectively monitor compliance with our safety measures.
  • We have taken every recommended precaution to mitigate risk and to ensure a safe return for our employees and students. Every school site has received the required cleaning and disinfecting supplies, face coverings, and other equipment necessary.

Final preparations are taking place this week and next. I will be out visiting schools personally in November as we begin to welcome students back to ensure each member of our staff has all the support needed to serve our students effectively and safely.

Level 2 Monitoring and Next Steps

Currently, the health and safety metrics are not where they need to be to proceed with Level 2, Phase 1 Return on Nov. 12 for PreK, Kindergarten, and Career & Technical Education (CTE) students. Compared to Level 1, Level 2 brings a significantly larger group of staff and students into our buildings and classrooms, and that is why the metrics are set to a more rigorous standard.  To begin phasing in Level 2 students, we need to see further improvement in the metrics.

We will continue to monitor the data at the end of this week and, in consultation with Public Health, will make a final determination about next steps for Level 2 by next week.

Level 2 ParentVUE Selection Results

The ParentVUE selection process for Level 2 for elementary and CTE students has concluded. We will post the results of the family selection process on our website later this week. Schools are working through staffing, bus routing, and other next steps based on that data. The instructional model selection process for middle and high school students has not opened yet, and we will let families know when it will open.

As we prepare to begin in-person learning, I urge families, students and staff to continue to take the recommended actions to slow the spread of the virus in our community. Wear face coverings, follow distancing guidelines, and stay home when you are sick. Our success in opening schools and remaining open is directly connected to and dependent upon everyone helping to prevent transmission in the community.

Again, I want to thank you for continuing to direct your concerns to me or to [email protected]. I understand the stress we are all under and the different opinions being expressed about the best way to proceed in this pandemic.

Thank you for acknowledging our teachers and staff who are working harder than ever before to deliver instruction virtually while preparing for in-person learning.

Sincerely,
Dr. Francisco Durán
Superintendent

Recent Stories

In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.

In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.

A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org

Submit your own Announcement here.

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list