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Alexandria City Public Schools Partially Reopen, First In-Person Classes Since March

Updated at 10 p.m. on Nov. 5: Alexandria City Public Schools partially reopened today (Nov. 5) for less than 10 students with disabilities, and Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. told parents that this is but the first step of the reopening process.

When asked on social media how many students attended, ACPS responded that it was fewer than 10 students.

“It was under 10,” ACPS wrote on Facebook. “Many of the staff and students who initially indicated they wished to return, have since changed their ability to return. We are trying to accommodate as many students as we can, while adapting to changing circumstances every single day.”

This is the first in-person schooling in ACPS since the pandemic forced the school system to shut down on March 13.

“This morning, we had the opportunity to welcome back the first of our ACPS students at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School,” Hutchings wrote parents in an email Thursday morning. “While this was just a small group, we want to make sure we have thought through all health and safety measures before we expand our in-person learning to more students.”

The School Board board last month approved allowing back kindergarten through second graders with disabilities to Jefferson-Houston, and then expand to include all citywide special education students by December.

“We are working through all the pieces to get all our students back in school as soon as possible,” Hutchings wrote.

Hutchings also wrote that not all school staff will wear as much protective gear as seen in a recently released ACPS simulation.

The full note from Hutchings is below.

ACPS Families,

This morning, we had the opportunity to welcome back the first of our ACPS students at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School. While this was just a small group, we want to make sure we have thought through all health and safety measures before we expand our in-person learning to more students.

We are working through all the pieces to get all our students back in school as soon as possible.

We also wanted to provide some clarity regarding the simulation we shared with you in ACPS Express yesterday. Please review the FAQ that will give you answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions. Please note that the Specialized PPE worn by staff during the simulation is required only for certain staff, including those staff who are part of the citywide program for Students With Disabilities. These staff members are required to assist with restroom visits and feeding, in addition to instruction, and may not be able to maintain social distancing at all times.

If you have more questions about the health and safety guidelines for each particular group of students, please see the Virtual PLUS+ Phased Reentry Plan document we shared on Oct. 21. You can also see our Health and Safety Measures page, which outlines who will use Specialized PPE.

We will let you know how our first day of in-person learning went in ACPS Express next Wednesday.

Sincerely,

Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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