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Dr Noonan's Return to School Update - October 2
Dr Noonan's Return to School Update - October 2
Dr. Peter J. Noonan
Friday, October 02, 2020

Dear FCCPS Families,

I hope you all are well and safe. I have a few updates I want to share with you this week and hope to be quick.

Next Week’s Return

We are delighted to welcome back our first wave of students to the Henderson/Mason campus on Tuesday, October 6th. Additional students will be welcomed back to JTP, MDES, and TJES the following week. Our first “wave” of students will be the first we have seen since Friday, March 13th, and we are so happy. All of our families who are involved in the process have been contacted by their schools. I hope those who are in the first wave are equally excited.

Elementary Return

Over the past several weeks, we have been in continued conversations with the staff and the building leadership teams at MDES and TJES to develop a teacher-led return plan for reopening. A model emerged that will afford every student a half-day program, 4-days a week (Tuesday - Friday) with their classroom teacher, and 4-days a week of synchronous learning with their encore teacher during the time they are not in school. This plan has final details to work through, but I am so appreciative for the input and development of the plans. The plan is to begin phasing in students on Tuesday, November 10th beginning with kindergarten and third grade. Tuesday, November 17th, assuming all goes as planned, we will bring back Grades 1 & 2 and 4 & 5.

This weeks’ information is simply meant to help you begin to think about planning for the move back to school. I promise a communication with much greater detail next week to include a “return to school” preference form that you will have sufficient information to complete. I want to thank our teachers, paras, teacher leaders, and administrators at both schools for their broad engagement.

Secondary Student Return

Several weeks ago I presented the school return plan to the School Board and in that presentation mentioned that we would return students to the Henderson/Mason campus on January 21st. Last week when I wrote to the community I was less precise in my language and this week when asked we have reiterated the January 21st date. There are a number of “solid gold” reasons for that date that are not for this email.

Rather, I wanted to let you know I have heard from many in the community concerned about the time lag between the New Year and the start of the second semester without students in the building. As a team we plan to discuss the return date and will identify what is feasible as we open the new building, return from winter break, and do what is best for the safety of our staff and students. We will also work closely with our School Affiliated Organizations and PTSA leadership to find ways to support our return. 

Please continue to be patient with us as the secondary return is very important and in the order of operations comes after our elementary school reopenings. 

Independent Work Days

October 8th and 9th are designated days for independent work for our students. Each school is working to develop plans for students on those days to engage in meaningful activities that will support their learning. On those two days our elementary staff will be finalizing the return plans and the secondary team will be starting to plan for their return. We also recognize that this has been a challenge for everyone since August 24th and having the two days independent gives everyone an opportunity to breathe a little as we head into the fall full steam ahead. If you have questions about the work assigned on the independent learning days please reach out to your student’s teacher(s). Please remember that October 12th is a holiday/teacher workday and there will be no independent work assigned for students.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I know I will be up all weekend with anticipation of some of our kids returning on Tuesday!