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FCPS Returns to All-Virtual Learning December 14 - 17

December 11, 2020

Due to the rising level of community spread of COVID-19 and the resulting impact on the FCPS workforce, all Fauquier County Public School students will return to an all-virtual learning model from Monday, December 14 through Thursday, December 17, 2020.

At the November 23 FCPS School Board meeting, FCPS staff presented the Considerations for Return to All-Virtual flowchart to outline four main factors that would cause a short or long-term return to all-virtual learning model - outbreak, community spread, reduced workforce, and official mandates.  FCPS has identified community spread and reduced workforce as the two main factors leading to the decision for the short-term return to all-virtual learning.

Community Spread 

FCPS consults with local health officials to monitor local health data and track the level of community spread. This week Fauquier County realized a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. 

“The start of the increase in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District appears to be temporally related to Halloween when residents gathered in groups and ignored public health mitigation strategies,” said April Achter, Population Health Coordinator for the Rappahannock Rapidan Health District. “We are now observing a post-Thanksgiving spike in cases as well.”   

According to  the COVID-19 metrics on the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) website, it is clear that the metrics are trending upwards at a steady rate.   FCPS finds the following three indicators particularly concerning: 

  • Total number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days

547.6 today (up from  377.8 a week ago)

  • Percentage of Hospital inpatient beds in the region that are occupied

85.4% today  (up from 82% a week ago)

  • Percentage of hospital inpatient beds in the region that are occupied by patients with COVID-19

11.3% today (up from 9% a week ago)

Reduced Workforce

Another main factor FCPS considers is whether the school division’s workforce has been reduced to the point that it poses health and safety risks and/or a disruption to instruction. FCPS finds the following examples of workforce reduction particularly concerning: 

  • FCPS has seen an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases among staff and an increased number of quarantines, with this week’s number of employees in quarantine spiking to 51. 
  • The number of certified daily absences are now standing at 163, up from 135 a week ago.  
  • Three schools are currently without their regularly-assigned school health nurse. 

“Getting students back to school next semester really depends on the community’s behavior, being safe, and staying away from gatherings outside of your own household for the holidays,” said Achter.  Watch your distance (6ft), wear your mask, and wash your hands.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, is the first day of school for the second semester/term. Hybrid AA students are due to return to school on Thursday, January 7, 2021.