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Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III - Plan for a Safe Return

Spending Plan

Section 1: Introduction

The purpose of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Fund is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s students by addressing students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. This plan describes how Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) maintains the health and safety of students, educators, and other school and division staff during and following the return to full in-person instruction. 

FCCPS provided a “Back 2 School 21-22” update to the School Board on August 10, 2021, which is available here, and FCCPS’ Back 2 School & Covid Mitigation Town Hall video and information is available here.

Section 2: Maintaining Health and Safety

FCCPS has taken and will continue to take actions to ensure the health and safety of students, educators, and other school and division staff during and following the return to full in-person instruction. A description of actions already taken and additional actions planned is below.

Steps to maintain health and safety during and following the return to full in-person instruction are listed here.

In addition, FCCPS has implemented procedures for each of the following safety recommendations established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 

  • Universal and correct wearing of masks 

  • Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing 

  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette 

  • Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation 

  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the health department 

  • Diagnostic and screening testing 

  • Efforts to provide vaccinations to school communities 

  • Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies.  

    • Any student requesting an exemption to wearing a face covering/mask will provide a written statement from the physician that an exemption from this requirement is necessary due to a health condition, communication impairment or disability or it has been determined that the student meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for exemption from the face-covering requirement (under the age of two (2) years or unable to remove their mask without assistance). 

  • Coordination with state and local health officials 

Additional information can also be found here

 FCCPS is implementing a COVID Testing Program, and information is available here; and FCCPS is holding vaccination clinics for students ages 5-11 on November 17, 2021, and December 8, 2021.

FCCPS will make appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies.

Section 3: Continuity of Services

FCCPS has taken and will continue to take actions to ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff's social, emotional, mental health, and other needs.  FCCPS is committed to continuity of learning during the 2021-22 school year, and the school division uses layered prevention strategies to do everything possible to ensure our schools remain safe, healthy, and open. We plan to remain open using these strategies unless directed otherwise by health officials or an Executive Order.  A plan is in place to ensure continuity of learning in the event health authorities or an Executive Order require a temporary closure to protect the health of students, staff, and the community.

With the return to five days of in-person instruction, FCCPS describes academic plans in detail here.

The school division uses a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) framework to make decisions to provide high-quality instruction and intervention and address student academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. A listing of community resources on health and mental health is also available to staff, students and families here. FCCPS’ Food Services offers no-cost meals to all students through June 2022.  

FCCPS will make appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to academic plans.

 Section 4: Opportunity for Public Comment

In developing the ARP ESSER Plan, FCCPS sought public input and took such input into account. Discussions with the School Board were held on on multiple dates and the most recent meeting materials are available:

  • November 4, 2021 - Community Town Hall - Joint Discussion with Falls Church City General Government

  Section 5: Periodic Review and Revision of Plan

During the period of the ARP ESSER award (until September 2023), FCCPS will periodically review and, as needed, revise its plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services. The plan will be continually reviewed, and FCCPS will take into account both community and staff input throughout the process. Plan revisions will address updated CDC guidance on safely reopening schools if any are issued.  


FCCPS will communicate to parents through our Roots, Resilience, and Renewal weekly communications. These publications include information on Covid mitigation, testing, screening, and vaccinations; mental health and self-care; and support for students. 

 Section 6: Making the Plan Available to the Public

FCCPS has taken the following steps to make this plan available to the public:

  • The plan is posted on FCCPS’ website;

  • FCCPS plan is posted the plan on our website and our website provides translation into Spanish which is our most common other language, and assistance is available upon request via CovidResponse@fccps.org;

  • The plan may be orally translated for parents using a web browser such as Chrome.  Assistance is available upon request via CovidResponse@fccps.org 

  • Upon request, a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA may be provided with the plan in an alternative format accessible by contacting the Executive Director of Special Education & Student Services.

 Questions?

For answers to questions about Return to School, contact FCCPS’ Executive Director of Special Education & Student Services at RSharp@fccps.org