APS News Release

School Board Discusses Proposed Name for New Elementary School at the Key Site

The School Board discussed the proposed name for the New Elementary School at the Key Site at its Feb. 18 meeting.

The naming committee—chaired by Principal Claire Peters and comprised of parents, students, community members and staff—presented two options the Board:

  • Innovation Elementary School is the committee’s first choice because it represents “a skill and an ideal that they want their children to learn at the school.” Innovation is the ability to think of a new idea and then work through the steps and challenges to bring that idea to life.
  • Gateway Elementary School was presented as the second choice, as it represents the physical location of the school in Arlington and the concept that learning is the gateway to a child’s future. Rosslyn has long been known as the gateway to Arlington from Washington, DC. Gateway Park is located in Rosslyn and many cultural events are held there.

The School Board is expected to vote on a name on March 11. The full presentation is available online.

2020-21 School Year Update
The Superintendent reviewed the recently announced plan and timeline for hybrid/in-person student returns in March. In addition, the presentation featured updates on a new health screening platform, air quality and the Distance Learning Task Force Report.

The New Student Health Screening Platform Launching March 1 – Beginning March 1, APS will launch the new APS online daily health symptom screener, as part of mitigation efforts. Parents/guardians will receive one invitation for each student via email or text as listed in their ParentVue/Synergy account at 5:30 AM daily, regardless of model (distance or hybrid).

  • The symptom screener is available in five languages and it is expected that each student has completed their symptom screener prior to arriving at the bus stop or school or the start of each day to ensure effective mitigation.
  • Parents and legal guardians will be able to show a date and time stamped verification screen that the student is cleared to attend school that day.
  • Invitations will be sent every day of the week as the system does not allow us to differentiate for our students who participate in weekend activities.
  • Students who do not pass the symptom screener will receive an automatic email reply from the system with their exclusion from attending in person activities and instruction until return conditions are satisfied. These letters are also being sent in multiple languages.

More information will be sent Tuesday, Feb. 23, including a short tutorial video on the process.  Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to check their ParentVUE account to ensure if they wish to receive text message invitations, they have a text capable cell phone in the appropriate field.

Air Quality and Ventilation – APS continues to follow the CDC’s and the Harvard Public School of Health’s guidelines for a holistic risk mitigation approach. Earlier this week, APS staff spoke with Dr. Joseph Allen from the Harvard School of Public Health regarding their guidelines to checking ventilation in classrooms. He emphasized that ventilation is part of an overall layered approach. Their first recommendation is having a strong mask requirement which can reduce transmission by 95% when using a KN95. Wearing the recently recommended surgical mask underneath a well-fitting cloth mask can provide greater than 90% protection.

​​Harvard’s guidelines are focused on classroom spaces and not larger areas such as auditoriums, gyms, art or music rooms. The target is 4 – 6 Air Changes Per Hour (ACH) and believes schools can and have met the target of 4 – 6 ACH by utilizing various lower cost strategies such as opening windows and doors, upgrading filters or adding a portable certified air cleaning device (CACD) in each classroom. On Monday, CMTA visited every school to determine the correct ceiling heights in order to convert the ASHRAE ventilation data to air changes per hour. After converting to ACH, CMTA determined that:

  • 5% of all classrooms with one CACD meets the 4 – 6 ACH target recommended by Dr. Allen. This calculation excludes any recirculated air.​
  • The remaining 5 classrooms at Montessori Public School of Arlington and 17 classrooms at Jamestown will be provided a second CACD. Classrooms with operable windows can open them to increase outside air ventilation. ​Providing a second CACD in the 22 classrooms will bring all our classrooms in the recommended 4-6 ACH target.

Additional details are available in the Superintendent’s presentation or you can watch it here.

Distance Learning Task Force Report – The six-week, 75-member Distance Learning Task Force focused on strategies for continuing to improve distance learning and instruction for students. Participants discussed solutions and strategies to improve students’ access to learning and further support their social-emotional growth. Some takeaways included a commitment to:

  • Provide for consistent use of Canvas (common home page and module templates used within each school, consistent access to assignments).
  • Enhance Microsoft Teams to provide regular access to breakout rooms, and private communication between teacher and student to access help.
  • Update the student camera policy to encourage students to consistently turn cameras on during instruction and interaction with peers and teachers.
  • Develop a shared sense of classroom community between DL and in-person students.
  • Provide distance learning students with access to supplies, resources and hard copies of materials.
  • Ensure that distance learning students can actively engage with in-person classmates in concurrent model.

Information Items
The School Board was provided updates on the following items:

  • Revisions to School Board Policy F-7 Real Property
  • The Heights FY2022 CIP Estimate Funding

Details on both items are available on BoardDocs.

In recognition of Black History Month, students from across the county performed the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing. You can watch the performance here. The School Board also recognized Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations John Chadwick who is retiring at the end of the month.

For More Information:
Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the Board at school.board@apsva.us or call 703-228-6015. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary.

School Board meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41; live-streamed on the APS website, and re-broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the meeting. All materials and minutes will be posted to the website at aps2016.apsva.us/schoolboard upon School Board approval at a subsequent meeting.