FCPS to close for four weeks

The front of Bucknell Elementary, with letters spelling out name of school visible on bricks next to awning over main entrance

There will be no school in Fairfax County Public Schools through April 10, FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced Friday afternoon.

Students will be able to access their belongings at school on Monday, and both school offices and central offices will be open as well. Students in grades 3-8 who do not have laptops will be provided laptops or other digital devices, and learning plans will be sent to parents and guardians, Brabrand said.

“The Virginia Department of Education has recommended that all public school systems provide continuity of learning programming for the next three weeks,” Brabrand said. “We will promote digital and online resources to FCPS students that will help student learning continue. This work will not be required nor graded.”

The closing decision came shortly after Gov. Ralph Northam had announced that schools across Virginia must close for at least the next two weeks as part of the state’s effort to combat coronavirus (COVID-19). Northam had declared a state of emergency Thursday, but individual schools systems had been left on their own to make school closing decisions.

FCPS decided to close on Friday after initially making the decision to stay open the previous evening. Many parents, students and employees disagreed, and shortly before midnight last night Brabrand changed course and ordered the system to close.

Alexandria and Arlington both followed suit by midday Friday, and Northam’s announcement came shortly after that.

FCPS also announced Friday that the teacher work day scheduled for Monday is postponed.

During the closure students will be able to pickup free meals for both breakfast or lunch. The distribution program started Friday at five schools, including Hybla Valley Elementary School on Lockheed Boulevard (see map). More schools will be added next week, Brabrand said.