Roots, Resilience & Renewal - Week 8 Updates

Parent-Teacher Conferences

We are excited to see many of you in the upcoming weeks for parent conferences. Here are some reminders about conferences that I hope will facilitate a positive and supportive conversation between you and your child’s teacher. The meetings are an important opportunity for building a partnership between home and school. They are also the chance to share strengths, opportunities, and areas for growth regarding your child. Please remember that the time is limited as our teachers are trying to engage as many parents as possible during the limited conference times. Be thoughtful about the time you have together. Unfortunately, this conference period is not an opportunity to do a “deep dive” regarding your child. Our teachers are committed to sharing academic updates, as well as social and emotional updates.  However, if you desire more in-depth discussion regarding your student, please contact your child’s teacher or school counselor following the conference. We look forward to seeing you!

Vaccines for 5-11-Year-Olds

Yesterday our nation took another big step towards vaccines for our youngest learners, and we are pleased about that progress. We have been in continuous conversations with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) about vaccine distribution once the FDA and CDC approve it for 5-11-year-olds. While we don’t know precisely when the vaccines will be available, everyone involved is busy planning now! We are approaching this in a multifaceted way going forward. The FCHD shared that 80% of pediatricians in our district have agreed to provide the COVID vaccine to kids. So, immediately following the approval of vaccinations, we hope parents will take their children to their local provider,  pharmacies/groceries providing the vaccine or other local health district sites such as the old Lord and Taylor site at Tysons Corner.  The Tysons Corner Vaccination Center is prepared to provide close to 3,000 shots per day. The FCHD will also be deploying mobile vaccination locations all over the health district to facilitate the vaccination of children ages 5-11.  Later this year, the FHD will move to school sites for after-school and weekend clinics so that parents can be present when their child is vaccinated. If we can get these sites going, we anticipate running them for about two weeks. Following that, there would be a “catch-all” period where we would try and get anyone left from the schools that haven’t been vaccinated. 

Vaccines are an important mitigation layer. Once 5-11-year-old students are two weeks post their second vaccine, the same rules for contact tracing and quarantine that are in place for all vaccinated individuals will apply to students ages 5-11.  If a student is vaccinated and considered a close contact, they will not have to “pause” or be quarantined, so long as they are symptom-free. So please get your child vaccinated as soon as you have the chance!!

Strategic Plan

FCCPS is excited to engage all of our stakeholders (students, staff, parents, and community members) in the Strategic Planning process. We are encouraged by the participation so far in the process by many in the community. I believe the schools belong to the community, and we need your feedback to continue to improve. 

There are two ways you can participate:

  1. The Community Assessment Form in  ENGLISH and SPANISH.
    It is open until October 29.
  2. A Virtual Town Hall is scheduled for Thursday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m.
    This one-hour session will include an overview of the strategic planning process and facilitated small group discussions in breakout rooms. All participants must register here to receive the link to the Town Hall Meeting. (32 people registered so far) The meeting is yet another way for you to share your thoughts in a formalized way about our schools. Please consider participating.

Mitigation Matters

ViSSTA Diagnostic Testing We are excited to share that FCCPS received 270 BinaxNOW proctored test kits that have been distributed to our health clinics, daycare, and central office. We will give the kits to families who have children sent home from school with symptoms and staff members who are ill. We can also provide the kits to any staff or student who has been exposed. The kits are “proctored” kits, which means the test is completed and verified virtually by a healthcare representative. 

Here are three things you can do to be ready “just in case” you need to test your student or yourself. 

  1. Visit and “Bookmark” to learn more as this is the webpage everyone will use for the BinaxNOW testing process. (The Spanish version and resources can also be found there.)
  2. Download the NAVICA application from your provider on your tablet or mobile device and set up profiles for your family members. 
  3. Take a couple of minutes to watch the How do I use the BinaxNow/eMed test kit? video to learn more about the process.

ViSSTA Screening Test Process:

FCCPS is waiting on VDH’s final approval and being matched with a vendor to begin our COVID screening test program. As of today, 365 permissions to screen have been completed thus far. (350 students; 15 staff members) Please visit our list of ViSSTA FAQs and be on the lookout for a letter to help with any “myth-busting” regarding the process. 

There seems to be a “myth” that if your student’s pool testing is positive, they will be immediately paused. That is not the case. The “positive pool” of students/staff will remain in school while contact tracing occurs. The only person who will end up pausing is the individual who tests positive on the confirmatory PCR test and any subsequent close contacts as appropriate. Please help us with “myth-busting” and increasing the number of staff/students with permission to participate. Please sign up to permit your student(s) to participate at Parent/Legal Guardian and Employee Voluntary Authorization Form 

I hope you all have a wonderful fall weekend with your family, and we look forward to seeing you next week :).


Peter Noonan
FCCPS Superintendent of School