Superintendent’s Sept. 29 Update: Instruction During COVID-Related Absences

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Dear APS Families,

I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of our 20th neighborhood elementary school over the weekend – Innovation Elementary. In the words of the 5th grade students who spoke at the event, their school is a community of innovators who aim to be “smarter and kinder” and will ultimately be world changers. I believe they will! Watch video of the full event online—the students once again remind us of our hope for the future.As we conclude the first month of the school year, here are updates on our instructional plans and other reminders.

  • Instruction During COVID-Related Absences: We are committed to continuing instruction for students who are quarantined or excluded from attending class due to COVID-19, when directed by the Arlington County Public Health Department. If Public Health requires a student to quarantine, APS will provide one of the following opportunities, as determined by the student’s teacher:
    • Limited livestreaming of instruction (Please note this is not concurrent instruction. The remote student’s camera and audio will be off, but they will be able to watch and listen.) OR
    • Recorded lessons focused on concepts for the course or grade level OR
    • Collaborative work via Canvas or Google.

This is in addition to the asynchronous work provided in Canvas. Teachers will communicate the method with further instructions. If a whole class quarantines, the class will revert to synchronous distance learning during the quarantine period. View the detailed guidance online.

Contact APS and New Family Information Line: There are many ways for families to connect and receive support, depending on the type of help needed. We have posted updated guidance on how to contact APS online. This includes a new Family Information Line (703-228-8000) established this school year to better serve families and address key topics such as transportation, technology and registration.

Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences: This year, parent-teacher conferences will be held on:

  • Thursday, October 21 (after early release) for elementary schools
  • Friday, October 22 (no school for students) for elementary and middle schools

Each school and teacher will communicate directly with more details about the meetings. This is a time to build relationships with your student’s teacher and discuss your student’s academic needs, how they are adjusting to being back in school, and social-emotional skills. We are continuing the virtual format to make the conferences more accessible for families, based on feedback last school year, as well as to limit visitors in our school buildings as much as possible. This is part of our focus on keeping schools safe and open.

Vaccination Verification Update: We have continued the process of verifying employee vaccination status, and 71.65% percent of staff have responded as of this morning. Of those completing the survey, over 97.24% percent of staff have verified they are fully vaccinated. Overall, 67 percent of all staff and 91 percent of instructional staff are fully vaccinated, and we are following up with all those who have not responded to the survey. This data will be compiled and finalized in early October. Regular testing is required for staff who are unvaccinated or did not respond to the survey. Vaccination rates for staff are regularly updated on the dashboard.

As a reminder, we have a School Board meeting Thursday evening that begins at 7 p.m. View information about meetings, the agenda and how to view it online here.  Thank you for your partnership in supporting student success!


Dr. Francisco Durán