Monday Message: 5.11.20

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May 11, 2020

We hope all of the mothers in our community enjoyed a pleasant Mother’s Day yesterday, and we send our best and warmest wishes to each of you. Along with the Arlington Public Schools community, the Parent Resource Center (PRC) warmly welcomes Dr. Francisco Durán, who began his career in special education, and will assume the role of Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools on June 1, 2020. Read more

Today’s Monday Message includes updates from the Virginia Department of Education, updates from Arlington County’s Child and Family Services Division on supervision guidelines for children, new early childhood resources and additional COVID-19 resources from (VCU-ACE), along with links to a few events happening in the next day or so that have just been added to our events page.

Please note that the PRC’s Webinar of the Week will feature our own Deborah Hammer, Autism and Low-Incidence Disability Specialist, who will share a Calming Strategies session for students AND parents on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 from 1:30pm-2:30pm. Register online or call 703.228.7239, and a link to join the session will be sent to you.

Take good care, be well, and have a great week. Your PRC team misses you, and can be reached by phone at 703.228.7239 or email at

Messages from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)
These are challenging times for everyone.  Families of children with disabilities may currently be experiencing an additional layer of stress that others are not.  Below, please find a short list of resources that may help you and your family through this period.

  • FREE Children and Screens Virtual Workshop (for Parents of Adolescents)
    As schools transition to online learning and more time is spent with friends virtually than ever before, many parents have concerns about their teen’s digital well-being. Children and Screens:  Institute of Digital Media and Child Development will be hosting an online workshop geared toward parents of teenagers to discuss healthy screen habits during the pandemic.  The workshop will take place on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, from noon-1:30p.m.
    Click here to register for the Children and Screens Virtual Workshop
  • The Autism Society of America has put together several resource toolkits for families of people with autism who may find themselves struggling as a result of COVID-19.  Click here for resources and toolkits
  • FREE Lunch and Learn Series from Virginia Commonwealth University-Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE)
    Please plan to join VCU-ACE over the next four Thursdays for their Lunch and Learn series for families.
    Click here for Lunch and Learn registration information
    (Note – Lunch and Learn sessions are also posted on the PRC’s Events page.)
  • Updated Coronavirus Information & Resources
    VDOE has been working closely with the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Department of Health, and other state agencies to ensure our public schools and communities have the most up-to-date information and resources. Visit COVID-19 & Virginia Public Schools, Frequently Asked Questions  and Guidance on Graduation Requirements, Awarding of Credits, and Continuity of Learning for the latest information.

Arlington County’s Child and Family Services Division has asked us to share the following information with families. Please help spread the word.

How Young is Too Young to be Home Alone?
These guidelines represent the minimal acceptable standards for the supervision of children. They have been developed by professionals in collaboration with the community. Remember, these are only guidelines. There may be situations when it is not safe to leave a child unsupervised.

Whenever any child is unsupervised/unattended:

    • There must be no emotional, medical or behavioral problems that affect the child’s judgment or decision-making.
    • The child must be comfortable being alone.
    • All youths, including teens, must have a safety plan worked out with the parent/caretaker including:
      1. How to access a parent or other responsible adult at all times (knowing the adult’s whereabouts and telephone number)
      2. What to do in case of an emergency
      3. Guidelines for acceptable behavior
    • Youth must demonstrate the ability to follow the safety plan and make good decisions about personal safety.

Supervision Guidelines:

    • 8 years and under: Should not be left alone for any period of time. This includes leaving children unattended in cars, playgrounds and yards.
    • 9 to 10 years: Should not be left alone for more than 1 ½ hours and only during daylight and early evening hours.
    • 11 to 12 years : May be left alone for up to 3 hours, but not late at night or in circumstances requiring adult supervision.
    • 13 to 15 years: May be left unsupervised, but not overnight.
    • 16 to 17 years  May be left unsupervised for up to two consecutive overnight periods.

New Early Childhood Resources and Additional Resources for Individuals with Autism

VCU-ACE – Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center for Excellence – has announced the development of early childhood specific resources for families raising young children with ASD. These resources are designed to support families through the challenges and disruptions of the COVID-19 event as well as support families in understanding topics related to ASD and child development. While a VCU-ACE Early Childhood website is currently under development, you can find all these new resources right now in a COVID-19 and Early Childhood Playlist on YouTube, along with additional resources and materials for individuals of all ages.This playlist includes a variety of videos, including:

Additional resources from VCU-ACE related to COVID-19 include:

Late-Breaking Events
(Stay tuned for additional postings in this week’s Webinar Wrap-Up, and check the PRC’s Events page for details, and upcoming and “on demand” events.)

  • Trust Talk Tuesday
    May 12, 2020: 10:00 am – 11:30 am
    Please register here.
    Note: This is a conference call rather than in-person meeting.
    Presented by The Arc of Northern Virginia
  • Keeping Distractible Kids in “Study Mode” While Working From Home
    Wednesday, May 13, 2020: 12:15pm
    Register for this Live Webinar Here
    Presented by Educational Connections
  • Lunch and Learn: Home Activities to Learning Experiences
    Thursday, May 14, 2020: 12:00 – 1:00 pm ET
    Register on Zoom
    Presented by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE)