Superintendent’s Feb. 9, 2022 Update: Staff Recognitions & Test-to-Stay

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Dear APS Families,

Today I want to share a few reminders about recognitions we are observing this week, as well as an update on some changes coming to our COVID testing program. Also, please take note of the special meal pick-up happening today at three designated school sites.

Lunar New Year: Feb. 1 marked the start of the Year of the Tiger and the Lunar New Year holiday. Read more about the holiday and its significance in Asian culture.

Happy School Counseling Week: This week, join us in thanking the outstanding APS School Counseling Team. We are fortunate to have 124 talented professional counselors helping students grow and thrive. Watch this video featuring APS school counselors sharing why they do what they do.

Appreciating APS Crossing Guards: This week is also Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, so remember to thank them for keeping students safe. Congrats to Long Branch and Fleet Crossing Guard, Shashu Gebre, for being recognized as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards of 2021!

Summer School and Activities Update: APS will hold our virtual Summer Activities Fair Wed, Feb. 16, providing families information about Summer School and the camps and enrichment activities available through Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation and other local providers. Full details online.

New Vendor for Weekly In-School COVID Testing: Over the past several weeks, APS has been working with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to address challenges with our current testing vendor, CIAN Diagnostics. VDH has advised that the best course of action for APS is to transition to a new VDH-approved provider, Aegis Solutions. Aegis will begin providing the weekly in-school COVID testing on Mon, Feb. 14. Families currently opted in with CIAN will receive an email with a link to update their consent later today with Aegis Solutions. While this is an inconvenience, it’s a necessary change to sustain the weekly screening as a preventative measure.

Test-to-Stay Program Starts on Monday: Reminder that free, proctored testing for eligible students identified as close contacts will be provided at Syphax on school days, starting Monday from 2:30-7 p.m. The VDH Test-to-Stay program helps keep students who are not up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations in school if they are identified as close contacts, as long as they are asymptomatic and test negative for five days following the exposure. Close contacts exposed on or after Mon, Feb. 14, 2022, will be eligible for the test-to-stay program; students exposed prior to that date are not eligible and should complete their 5-day quarantine. As a reminder, students who are up-to-date on their vaccinations are exempt from quarantine if they have no symptoms and wear a mask consistently. Guidance is available online.

Early Release and Meal Kit Pickup TODAY: Today is an Early Release Day for students. Extended Day operates on the normal schedule. Food & Nutrition Services is holding a special meal pickup today from 2- 3:30 p.m. at Kenmore, Gunston and Yorktown. This is a proactive measure to ensure all students have breakfast and lunch at home if we need to transition to virtual learning due to inclement weather at any time in February or March. We encourage all families to pick up a free meal kit which includes three days of shelf-stable meals.

Thank you and have a great week!

Dr. Francisco Durán