Superintendent’s Weekly Update

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Dear APS Families,

I hope you enjoyed a relaxing and fun Memorial Day weekend. APS honors our military families and pays tribute to all who have served and sacrificed for our country.

As summer break approaches, we have much to celebrate as we reflect on all our students have achieved and the challenges they have overcome. Our seniors are preparing to graduate and begin a new chapter in their lives, and we look forward to celebrating each of them at graduation ceremonies later this month.

We also celebrate progress in Arlington, as COVID-19 cases continue to decrease, vaccine availability expands, and we begin to resume some of our normal activities with fewer restrictions. To ensure a strong finish this school year, here are year-end calendar reminders, information about mask requirements on school grounds, and what to expect when APS resumes in-person classes five days a week in the fall.

June Calendar Reminders – This week, June 1-4, I want to remind high school families that most APS high school students will shift to asynchronous, full-distance learning. This change was made to ensure we have the staffing required to support and proctor SOL testing. Hybrid, in-person learning students should only come to school if they are scheduled to take an SOL test this week. Review your school’s specific testing schedule for details. Additional year-end calendar reminders:

  • Wed, June 2 – Elementary Early Release
  • Thurs, June 3 –School Board Meeting
  • Wed, June 9 – Elementary Early Release
  • Wed, June 16 – Last Day of High School – Early Release
  • Fri, June 18 – Last Day of Elementary and Middle School – Early Release
  • Thurs, June 24 – Final School Board Meeting of the 2020-21 School Year, Year-End Recap Report

Countdown to Graduation! – Graduation is just a few short weeks away. This is an incredibly joyous and special time for Class of 2021 graduates, and we look forward to celebrating all they have accomplished. The full schedule for in-person graduation events is available online. Schools are communicating the details regarding tickets for each graduate, so please contact your principal with any questions. In addition, Arlington Educational Television (AETV) will be broadcasting each in-person ceremony so that family members and friends not in attendance can watch the event live online or view it on APS broadcast channels.

Guidance on Masks for the Remainder of the School Year – Per the Governor’s Office Executive Order, APS continues to require masks indoors on school property. While inside on school property, students, teachers, staff, and visitors must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. This is consistent with CDC guidelines which state that schools should continue with all current mitigation strategies through the end of the school year despite updated guidance for fully vaccinated people. While outside on school property, students, staff, and visitors who are fully vaccinated can remove their masks. If individuals are not fully vaccinated, they must wear a mask unless they can maintain at least six feet of distance. Additional FAQ on mask requirements in various settings per the Governor’s Order are available online.

Returning to Five Days a Week of In-Person Instruction in the Fall – We currently have nearly 60 percent of our students in person at least two days a week, which provides a great foundation as we prepare for our full reopening in the fall. As has been shared with families in several recent updates, APS is committed to a full reopening in the fall and resuming normal school schedules, in person, five days a week for students who selected in-person learning. Students who selected the Virtual Learning Program in the selection process will attend school online five days a week.

  • In August, I will be hosting a series of Return-to-School Town Halls for families and staff, in English and in Spanish, on what to expect in the new school year in both models. Details will be communicated closer to that date.
  • As a reminder, administrators are currently planning staffing and schedules for the 2021-22 school year based on the family selection process. Families will have additional opportunities to change their preferred model selection at various points throughout the school year. For elementary families, the window to change the selection will open prior the start of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th For secondary families, the window to change selections will open prior to the start of the second semester. Specific dates and details for the selection windows will be communicated at a later date.

I greatly appreciate your resilience in the face of so much uncertainty this school year, and we look forward to returning to five days a week of in-person learning in the fall. Your support for our school system and the strong partnerships between schools and families have made all the difference. I hope you have a wonderful, short week!

Dr. Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools