Superintendent’s April 20 Return-to-School Message

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Dear APS Families,

Yesterday, we launched the selection process for the 2021-22 school year. Please take a moment to respond for each of your students by April 30. Below is information on this process and other updates.

Family Selections for SY 2021-22 – The process is now open for families to select a learning model for the 2021-22 school year: full-time in-person school or full-time distance learning. Families are also asked to indicate their Transportation and Extended Day needs. FAQ and one-pagers on the models are available online. Here are five things to know about the instructional choices and process:

  1. In-person school (PreK-12) will be conducted five days per week, with normal start and end times, and with teachers present in classrooms. Concurrent instruction will be limited to a very small number of specific secondary courses, such as AP, IB, Dual Enrollment.
  2. APS is committed to health and safety and will continue to follow the guidance from the CDC and VDH regarding effective COVID-19 mitigation, such as mask usage and health screenings.
  3. Transportation is being planned for all transportation-eligible students. Transportation-eligible families need to opt-out in ParentVUE, if they do not need transportation.
  4. The K-12 Distance Learning Program offers five days of synchronous distance learning per week. It is a separate program with a dedicated administrator and staff that will be aligned with in-person school schedules, curriculum, and pacing. Students will maintain connection to their school of record through their counselors, extracurricular activities, sports, and reporting/attendance.
  5. Responses are due by April 30 to allow us to plan effectively for the fall. Families who do not make a choice for their student will be automatically placed in the in-person model. Once the window closes, selections can be changed on a quarterly basis for elementary students (before the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters) and after the first semester in January for secondary students.
    • If you are moving schools, your selection will follow your student. If you have a student who is not yet registered or is a rising Kindergartener, your selection will be captured during registration.

Summer School – We look forward to welcoming many students for summer school beginning July 6, either in person or in distance learning. Strengthening programs are open to current APS students in grades PreK-12 who have been identified as eligible by a school administrator or counselor. Families of eligible elementary students should have been notified through ParentVUE and/or an email or phone call from their school last week or this week. Secondary students will be notified of eligibility by their counselors by mid-May and may take a maximum of two strengthening classes, as recommended by their counselors. Please be aware that Extended Day will not be offered during summer school. Additional information is available online.

Progress on Waitlists and Expanded In-Person Instruction – In response to the CDC’s 3-foot distancing update, schools have continued to accommodate more students in person, and nearly half of all APS schools have cleared their waitlists. So far in April, nearly 1,000 students have been added for in-person instruction, and we are working through the remaining students as capacity allows. Additionally, more classes at the elementary level have now transitioned into one classroom, versus the previous split classes. Current enrollment numbers in each model as of Monday, April 19, are online. Additional updates will be provided during this Thursday’s School Board meeting.

“Purple Up! For Military Kids” Day Tomorrow – Tomorrow is the day in April set aside for everyone to show their support for military-connected students. APS encourages the entire school community to wear purple, which represents the blending of the colors of the five branches of our armed forces. Here in Arlington, we are proud to be home to Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard and Reserve families, so this is a chance to show our solidarity and support.

Have a wonderful week and thank you for your partnership.


Dr. Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools