Roots, Resilience & Renewal - Week 10 Updates

The month of November has certainly started with quite a bang, and there is a great deal for us to all be thankful for this week!  Elections and vaccine news have been on the radar this week. Regardless of where you stand politically, to see an increased level of engagement in voting has been wonderful for our local community. Thanks to all for coming out and voting. The other big news this week was the Emergency Use Authorization (EAU), allowing the administration of the Pfizer vaccination to students who are ages 5 to 11 years old.  We also held our first ATL days this week. Settle in with a cup of coffee and enjoy the read because this week’s RRR Update is full of important information!

Welcome to Our New School Board Members

On Tuesday, the community elected four new board members to the FCCPS School Board. I would like to welcome (in alphabetical order) Tate Gould, David Ortiz, Lori Silverman, and Kathleen Tysse. We are so pleased that these four leaders will be joining us as representatives of the community and are ready to “roll up our sleeves” and get to work building a new team in January when they officially take office.

ATL Days 

On Tuesday, FCCPS had our first Approaches to Learning (ATL) day of the year. There have been some questions about these days, and I would like to clarify what they are and why they exist. Last winter, when the School Board was adopting the annual calendar, the school year was scheduled to end on a Wednesday - June 22nd. There was some concern that those last few days of school would not benefit student learning as days before state assessments, IB assessments, and final projects. Consequently, FCCPS added in three ATL days for students to work on IB projects and other academic assignments during the school year AND...this is an important clarification...on days that students would not be in school anyway. In other words, the ATL days would have normally been regular “plain old” days off for students due to end-of-quarter grading days, but now, those ATL days count as school days, and the end of the year is three days earlier. Therefore, we will end on Friday, June 17th, instead of Wednesday, June 22nd. 

At the beginning of the school year, our staff had professional planning days to develop the work to be completed on the ATL days, and I hope that planning paid off and your students found the activities and time for study and collaboration meaningful. My daughter used her ATL day to eat Indian food, rate the food, and do some study about the country and culture of India. Gaining a global perspective is integral to the IB program that all of our kids are part of. This was assigned by her teacher for this first round of ATL time.

I hope that this clarifies the intent behind the ATL days and how they came about. It is new, and anything new is different and leaves room for improvement. :)

Vaccines for 5-11-Year-Olds

This was an exciting week with the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11-year-old children. FCCPS has scheduled two vaccine clinics on November 17th (1st dose) and December 8th (2nd dose). The clinics will be held at Oak Street Elementary from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM.  However, families do not have to wait! The Health Department encourages all families to utilize the many options available across the community to secure vaccine appointments for children. 

Those options include pediatrician/healthcare provider appointments, retail providers such as pharmacies/grocery stores, community clinics like Tyson’s, which can provide 3000 appointments a day, and finally, school-based clinics. Please visit: to find and schedule an appointment for your student(s). 

The  Community Vaccination Center (CVC) reopened in the former Lord & Taylor store (inside the mall, on the first floor, next to Subway) at Tysons Corner Center located at 7950 Tysons Corner Center, McLean VA, 22102. They can offer 3000+ vaccinations each day.

Appointments are required at this time. To find an appointment, visit / or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), TTY 711.

The CVC offers Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (1st & 2nd doses, boosters) and the J&J vaccine (single-dose and boosters). 

There are also several “Pop-UP” Clinics available for families to receive the COVID-19 vaccination over the weekend. Please visit COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Scheduling | Health from the Fairfax Health Department to find a  “pop up”  clinic near you!  Also, save the date for the FCCPS clinic being provided by the HD.

Strategic Plan

The Strategic Planning Team has engaged the community over the past few weeks and completed 13 focus groups and a Town Hall. We heard from over 200 stakeholders, including students, teachers, staff, community members, parents and families, alum, School Board members. Additionally, our Community Assessment was completed by 521 stakeholders. We will use these data to inform priority areas of the strategic plan during a Steering Team session on November 15th. We will involve additional stakeholders in the process during our sessions on December 7th and 8th. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please reach out to 

Internet Scam--Stay Alert!

This week the Falls Church City Police shared an internet scam that impacts our students and other members of our community. The scam involves making friends through Instagram or dating apps. The person asks for compromising pictures to be exchanged. Once the recipient gets the pictures, they tell the subject if they don’t send money via gift cards, they will send the pictures to everyone on their Instagram account to include family and friends.  We’ve had several FCCPS students become victims of this scam. Everyone must watch out for and protect our children from this scam. Please take a look at the BBB Scam Alert: Watch out for blackmailers on dating sites to learn more about this.

November with Noonan

I will be at Clare and Don’s on November 10th from 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm for my monthly meet and greet. If you have time and can attend, I would welcome the opportunity to say hello and meet you. I plan to eat a delicious “beachy” dinner with my family following the meet and greet.

Mitigation Matters--Reducing Barriers to Testing!

Beginning November 29th!
ViSSTA Screening Test Process:

FCCP has been matched with a national vendor who will support our testing plan.  If you have not already done so, please sign up to permit your student(s) to participate at Parent/Legal Guardian and Employee Voluntary Authorization Form.  It is critical to our ability to help maintain a safe and healthy, robust system of protecting our schools as we navigate our way out of the pandemic. Testing helps prevent the impact of breakthrough cases and detect asymptomatic cases fast. Here is some important information to be aware of as you make your decision for participation:

  • Vendors provided by the Virginia Department of Health will conduct pooled PCR testing once per week. The screening test is a non-invasive shallow swab. These are not rapid tests.

  • Testing will take place at each of our schools weekly. Parents & guardians will be notified via email if their student has been selected that week for testing. 

  • The result will be emailed to the parent or staff member, in most cases, within 24 hours.

  • Samples from several individuals go into a “pool” and are analyzed. If a group comes back negative, every individual who was part of that pool is considered negative.

  • The participants in the positive pool will not be required to quarantine unless an individual PCR test using the original sample is positive. NO ADDITIONAL TESTING IS NEEDED.

  • If an individual tests positive, they will receive directions for the next steps.

  • Positive students who are isolated due to testing positive will access remote instruction, and the school will work out a plan with the parents/guardians. 

  • Staff will be able to work remotely if they are feeling well, and it is possible given the scope of their job. If staff are not able to work remotely and are isolated due to a positive COVID test, they will receive paid emergency leave.

  • During the testing process, everyone WILL REMAIN IN SCHOOL/WORK, unless they develop symptoms or the individual is confirmed positive on a PCR test.

  • Public health officials determine whether a staff/student quarantines or isolates, and they determine the length, not FCCPS. 

  • All results are kept extremely confidential. Individual negative results will be reported to the tested individual or parents/guardians only. 

  • Every individual test that returns a positive result must be reported to the employee or parent/legal guardian and the Virginia Department of Health. FCCPS will be notified as well. All HIPAA and FERPA regulations will be followed.

  • Students 18 or above do not require parent permission to participate in the COVID-19 testing and/or vaccination program. 

  • Anyone may change their minds at any time during the process. Staff and students can leave or join the testing pool at any time. 

  • When it is time to test, any student who doesn’t not wish to participate, will not be made to participate. If a student is fearful, anxious, or uncomfortable and not able to participate in the process, we will let the parent/guardian know.

  • Anyone who wishes to participate in testing before and after travel is also welcome to do so. Please complete the permission form at: FCCPS COVID Screening Test Permission Form available on our website at

  • Please email Rebecca Sharp at with any questions.

BinaxNOW Diagnostic Testing,  Each school has proctored test kits to be distributed to families who have children sent home from school with symptoms and ill staff members. 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. We have given out over 80 test kits to support students, staff, and their families.

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

  1. Take a couple of minutes to watch the How do I use the BinaxNow/eMed test kit? video to learn more about the process.

  2. Download the NAVICA application from your provider on your tablet or mobile device and set up profiles for your family members. 

  3. Visit and “Bookmark” to learn more as this is the webpage everyone will use for the BinaxNOW testing process. (You can also find the Spanish version and resources there.)

FCCPS COVID By The Numbers:


This Week:

Cumulative from August 1:

# of Student Cases:



# of Staff Cases



# of Students in Quarantine



FCCPS Rate of Transmission

HIGH for Falls Church City

HIGH for Fairfax Health District

Please note that this data is just a snapshot of FCCPS in total and is adjusted based on the outcomes of each contact tracing investigation.