Superintendent’s Feb. 23, 2022 Update: Mask Guidance & APS All Stars

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Dear APS Families,

Today’s update includes information about health and safety and APS mask requirements for students, elementary mathematics, APS All Stars and the FY 2023 budget.

Updated Student Mask Guidance: As communicated last week, families will be able to opt their students out of wearing a mask in school beginning next Tuesday, March 1, in accordance with the recently passed Virginia law, Senate Bill 739. As this new law takes effect, I ask everyone to practice patience and understanding for others with respect to mask choice. We are one community, unified by our shared commitment to student success, health and well-being. A few points to know:

  • I will provide a comprehensive update this Friday with further student opt-out information and related guidance for parents. APS will collect opt-out information for contact tracing only; opt-outs will not be monitored for any other reason.
  • Our medical accommodation process remains available for families with serious health issues that place their student at high risk for COVID complications. Further information on this process will be included in Friday’s update.
  • Masks continue to be required for all students and staff riding on school buses per the CDC’s federal mask requirement for transit.
  • All APS staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks inside our buildings during high and substantial community transmission.

We have navigated many tough challenges together throughout this pandemic, and I am confident we will continue working together through this change. Let us continue to model the mutual respect that we expect of our students in the classroom.

COVID-19 Layered Mitigation Measures: Arlington remains in the high transmission category, and we continue to encourage active participation in the layered prevention measures we have in place. We continue to require masking, encourage weekly testing and vaccinations, and implement daily COVID case monitoring, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine protocols. I am hopeful that the recent signs of progress will continue and will keep you updated as conditions improve, moving transmission levels to moderate to low.

Math Update: This video takes you inside a classroom at Randolph Elementary to see how APS Math Coaches and Teams are helping students excel in mathematics. I will provide a similar update on secondary math at the March 10 School Board Meeting, followed by a comprehensive update on student performance data in English Language Arts and Math at the March 24 Board meeting.

FY 2023 Budget: I will present my proposed FY 2023 Budget on Thursday with a focus on investing in students, staff and schools. View the full budget calendar.

APS All Stars: Thank you to the students, parents and staff who nominated over 200 staff members for APS All Stars awards. Our first five were surprised with their awards on Friday. Read about these outstanding staff online—all nominations received so far will be considered again in March.Our students always say it best. Take a moment to view this feel-good video of MLK contest winners sharing famous quotes that inspire them toward unity, peace and kindness.This is a good reminder that Arlington’s strength has always been in our shared values of diversity and inclusivity, and in embracing our differences.


Dr. Francisco Durán