SCPS 21-22 Frequently Asked Questions
Health Services/COVID protocols
Q: What are the current masking guidelines for students and visitors?
A: The Stafford County School Board voted on February 10, 2022 to rescind the universal masking mandate for students and visitors that was established on January 20, 2022, on the grounds that universal masking for students and visitors is no longer practicable in Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS). The effective date of the rescinded universal masking mandate for students and visitors will be Tuesday, February 22, 2022.
Beginning February 22, 2022, the SCPS masking guidelines will be as follows:
- Per Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, masking will still be a recommended practice to stop the spread of COVID-19 (unless changed by the CDC or state law).
- Families will be responsible for setting masking expectations for their child; SCPS will not track masking preferences, there will be no forms.
- Students will continue to wear a mask in the Head Start Early Childhood program due to federal mandates until the CDC order is no longer in effect.
- Students will need to wear a mask upon returning from isolation or quarantine on Days 6-10, in conformance with the guidelines that were adopted by the School Board on February 8, 2022.
- Additional masks (N95 or KN95) and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided for staff or students upon request.
- Physical distancing will be maintained to the extent practicable.
Q: What was the school board’s decision from February 22, 2022 pertaining to updating the masking guidelines for staff?
A: Stafford County School Board voted to make masks optional for division staff, effective immediately with three exceptions:
- Bus drivers, bus attendants, and students on SCPS buses will have the option not to wear masks effective Thursday, February 24, 2022.
- Students, staff, bus drivers, and attendants at our Early Childhood Education Center working with our Head Start programs must continue to wear masks at all times due to federal mandates.
- The requirement to wear masks for five days if they test positive for COVID-19 when they return to school for Days 6-10, in conformance with the adopted guidelines on contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine protocols from February 8, 2022.
Q: What was the school board’s decision from January 20, 2022 pertaining to updating the mask mandate for students?
A: The School Board directed the superintendent to continue to enforce the universal mask mandate with no parental opt-out for PreK-12 students, staff, and visitors in school buildings, consistent with the 2021 Virginia Acts, Chapter 456 (SB 1303), in effect through August 1, 2022, including exemptions identified by the CDC and the following additional exemptions:
- Individuals eating, drinking, or sleeping;
- Individuals exercising or using exercise equipment
- Any person who is playing a musical instrument when wearing a mask would inhibit the playing of the instrument so long as at least six feet of physical distance can be maintained from other persons;
- Any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance;
- Any person who has a disability or meets at-risk criteria of those assisting such persons, including but not limited to individuals with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) or 504 plan under the Rehabilitation Act, where wearing a mask would inhibit communication or the receiving of services;
- When necessary to participate in a religious ritual; and
- Persons with health conditions or disabilities that prohibit wearing a mask.
Q: What are the alternate masking strategies for students with special needs?
A: Some students with medical conditions are exempt from mask use due to the inability to remove the mask themselves. Teachers and staff work with students with sensitivities to acclimate them to wearing masks. Teachers of children who are DHI, or with speech impairments, have masks with open windows.
Q. If a child or staff member tests positive, returns to school or work, and is exposed, do they have to quarantine?
A. According to the CDC a person doesn't have to quarantine if they tested positive for COVID-19, were again exposed after isolating for 10 days, due to temporary immunity within 90 days of testing positive.Q. Are at-home COVID tests used as confirmation of a case?A. At-home COVID-19 tests that are documented by an app that accompanies the test or by a report to your healthcare provider can be used as documentation of having had COVID-19. A person having COVID-19 within 90 days of an exposure does not have to quarantine but needs to monitor for symptoms. If they become symptomatic they need to isolate immediately and be tested for COVID-19.
Q. How will my student receive instruction if he or she is placed in quarantine?
A. If a student is placed in quarantine, the student will continue to receive instructional services. Unless there are needs specific to the course or the student requires a different modality, the student will access learning remotely through concurrent learning. This includes the use of school division administered devices (Chromebooks and Internet access devices as needed; our learning management system, Canvas, and other tools as needed) If an entire class is quarantined, instruction will shift to a virtual delivery format facilitated by the SCPS teacher utilizing existing technology tools.
- Certain courses that are more conducive to another method of learning (e.g., Career and Technical Education (CTE courses) may require an alternate modality.
- Students who have an IEP or 504 will receive instruction as determined by the IEP/504 team.
Following quarantine, a student will return to school for face to face instruction.
Q. What happens if an entire class is placed in quarantine?
A. If an entire class is placed on quarantine, instruction will shift to a virtual delivery model, facilitated through the utilization of existing technology tools to include the Canvas learning management system, Google Meets for live instruction, and other modalities as determined by the teacher. This will take place until the quarantine period ends and the class is cleared to return to school for face to face instruction. Any individual students who are not able to return yet at the end of quarantine will receive instruction via the individual quarantine protocols outlined above.
Q. When might my student be recommended to quarantine or isolate?
A. Updated February 9, 2022. The updated guidelines formed in collaboration with our local and state health department regarding recommended quarantine are as follows:
- If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19 but has no symptoms, they should isolate (stay home) for five days. If there are still no symptoms on Day 5, they may end isolation and wear a well-fitting mask when around others on Days 6-10. If wearing a mask is not possible for the additional five days, isolation for the full ten days will be expected. If symptoms develop, isolation starts over (resetting the five-day clock).
- If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms, they should isolate (stay home) for five days. If fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms are improving, on Day 6 isolation can end while wearing a well-fitted mask when around others for an additional five days. If symptoms persist more than five days, isolation should continue until you are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and symptoms have improved. If you were severely ill with COVID-19 or are immunocompromised, you should isolate for at least 10 days. Consult your doctor before ending isolation in accordance with CDC guidelines.
- All potentially exposed staff in the building and parents of potentially exposed students in the classroom or setting will be notified by letter of possible exposure. If notified, the expectation after a potential exposure is to monitor for symptoms and wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days when around others. Potentially exposed staff and students might be recommended to quarantine for 5 days based on quarantine criteria and can return on day 6-10 and are required to continue wearing a mask from day 6-10, if symptom and fever free .
Q. What are SCPS' procedures for contact tracing and determining which staff and students need to quarantine or isolate?
- A. Updated February 9, 2022. SCPS follows VDH recommendations for determining which staff and students are recommended to quarantine or isolate due to being exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19 or if a person tests positive for COVID-19.
- VDH recommends a transition to limited contact tracing for outbreaks or high-risk settings, which could potentially lead to quarantining. The priorities as outlined by the VDH are essential workers, teachers, activities that involve high transmission (i.e., athletics, band, chorus), and staff/students who have immunocompromised and comorbid conditions. If you fall within one or more of these categories it will be recommended that you quarantine. If notified, the expectation after a potential exposure is to monitor for symptoms and wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days after last known exposure while in contact with others. It is recommended that you get tested five days after last known exposure and stay home if symptoms develop. If you choose to quarantine, you will only be expected to quarantine for five days, as long as symptoms do not develop after five days.
- SCPS protocol guidance, per the CDC and local health department, for persons who are a primary contact to a positive person with COVID-19 is as follows:
- If both students are masked and are 3 feet or more apart, there is no primary contact and no need to quarantine (for staff/adults it is 6 feet or more apart),
- If a student is less than 3 feet apart from a positive person, for 15 cumulative minutes in a 24 hour period, they will need to quarantine (for staff/adults it is less than 6 feet apart),
- If one student is not masked and is exposed, they must quarantine regardless of distance (same for staff/adults),
- For all staff, students, and visitors, if you are a primary contact to a person who tests positive and are fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms, they are not required to quarantine, regardless of wearing a mask and social distancing. Additionally, if vaccinated and exposed to a primary contact, the CDC recommends wearing a mask in public spaces for 14 days, monitor for symptoms, and get COVID-19 tested 3-5 days after exposure.
- For additional information, please visit the CDC website.
Q. Will staff and parents be notified of COVID-19 cases that come up in their child’s building if they are not considered a direct contact?
A. If a student is in the vicinity of another student or staff member who tested positive, such as in the same classroom, on the bus, at a sports team practice, etc. then the family of that student will receive a letter. Additionally, SCPS will update the data dashboard on the SCPS website notifying the public of our cases per building. Staff will also be notified due to Virginia Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations.
Q. What practices regarding cleaning protocols and ventilation improvements have been adopted by SCPS to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus and variants?
A. SCPS has implemented several facility risk mitigation procedures, including enhanced cleaning and disinfection, increased air filter changes, and placement of air purifiers in all classrooms. For a full list of these mitigation measures, please visit our SCPS Facilities Risk Mitigation Procedures document.
Q. Can young children transmit COVID?
A. Yes, students can transmit COVID-19; below are the CDC studies:
School HoursAt the October 26 School Board meeting, the board extended the temporary schedule implemented on October 12 through the end of the first semester, which ends on December 17.Additionally, November 11 and 12 are now both school board approved holidays for students and staff. There will be no asynchronous learning for students on either day.
Elem. Shift #1
Elem. Shift #2
* Early Childhood
3:35 p.m.*Early Childhood:Mid-day dismissal for morning half day is 11:45 a.m.P.M. half day will begin at 12:00 p.m.
Q. When will school start and end for my student next year?
A. The following chart provides a breakdown of amended school start and end times for each level:
Elementary Shift #1
Elementary Shift #2
Phoenix Center for Innovative Learning
Elementary SchoolThe Stafford County School Board voted and approved a temporary, minor change in school hours beginning Tuesday, October 12, 2021. As a reminder, Monday, October 11 is a Professional Day for staff. Students will not attend in-person or participate in virtual learning.The schedule will be in effect for four weeks (through November 5) to allow other transportation measures time for implementation. For students with an IEP/504, your child's plan may be proportionately adjusted to reflect the new shift in the bell schedule. If you have any questions, please reach out to the designee or case manager at your child's school.
Elem. Shift #1
Elem. Shift #2
* Early Childhood
3:35 p.m.*Early Childhood:Mid-day dismissal for morning half day is 11:45 a.m.P.M. half day will begin at 12:00 p.m.
Q: What are the arrival and departure times?
A: Schools on Shift #1: Students should arrive between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. and will start at 7:45 a.m. with an end time of 1:55 p.m.
Schools on Shift #2: Students should arrive between 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. and will start at 8:15 a.m. with an end time of 2:25 p.m.
Q: Which elementary schools are Shift 1 and which schools are Shift 2?
Shift 1: Ferry Farm, Grafton Village, Hampton Oaks, Hartwood, Margaret Brent, Rockhill, Stafford, and Widewater Elementary Schools.
Shift 2: Anne E. Moncure, Anthony Burns, Conway, Falmouth, Garrisonville, Kate Waller Barrett, Park Ridge, Rocky Run, and Winding Creek Elementary Schools.
Q: Why will some elementary schools begin earlier than other elementary schools?
A: By staggering start and ending times, we are able to maximize operational efficiency which:
- Reduces Late Buses and Disruptions
- Eliminates Double Runs
- Ensures that students arrive on time with minimal disruption
Q: Will before and after childcare be provided?
A: Yes, SCPS is partnering with the YMCA to provide before and after-school School-Aged Child-Care, as they have in prior years.
Q: Will students have recess?
A: Yes. SCPS will continue to collaborate with the Virginia Department of Health to determine the COVID Mitigation protocols to establish for the 2021-2022 school year.
Q: What will the general schedule be for elementary students?
A: Students will receive 6 hours and 10 minutes of instruction daily. The daily schedule will incorporate the following:
Morning Meeting (15 mins.)
Social Studies/Science (60 mins.)
Language Arts (120 mins.)
Math (90 mins.)
Encore (45 mins.)
Lunch/Recess (40 mins.)
*Times are an approximation based on individual school schedules.
Q. How will extracurricular activities work for secondary students next year?
A. Extracurricular activities will adjust to the new schedules at the secondary level.
Q. Is a later start healthy for adolescents?
A. Numerous medical studies have noted the benefits to adolescents of having a later start school day. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement on school start times, citing numerous research studies in its recommendations for adolescent students to attend school later, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also noted the importance of adjusting school start times later for adolescents.
Q. What is the first day of school for the 2021-2022 School Year?
A. The first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year was Monday, August 9, 2021.
Q: Will breakfast and lunch be provided free of charge?
A: YES, all students will receive free breakfast and lunch this school year.
Q: Do I need to complete a Subsidized Meal Application?
A: Free and reduced applications are not necessary to receive free meals. However, they are strongly encouraged for families wishing to receive additional benefits such as Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT).
Q: Will students have continued access to technology?
A: All students will be provided with a Chromebook. Schools will work with families to find solutions for Internet access for those families who don’t have access.
(540) 940-6915 is the Technology Support line for families or they can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Will masks be required and monitored?
A: At this time, masks are required indoors at all SCPS facilities. SCPS will continue to collaborate with the Virginia Department of Health to evaluate the COVID Mitigation protocols for the 2021-2022 school year.
Q: When and how do I find bus transportation information?
A: Bus information, to include bus number, bus stop, and pick-up/drop-off times, is accessed through the Versatrans E-Link.
Q. What is the instructional plan for the 2021-2022 school year?
A. SCPS will have five-day a week, in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year. The school day is more than 6 hours at the elementary, middle and high schools. The school division will continue to adhere to guidance from the governor’s office, Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in implementing the five day a week model.
Q. How will meals work during the 2021-2022 school year?
A. All students will have the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch at school. Breakfast will be prepackaged in disposable containers so that students can grab and go. Breakfast may be eaten in the lunchroom, classroom, or other designated location.
Lunch will be served in the cafeteria lines in disposable trays. Students will receive lunch and based on principal direction, will eat in the cafeteria, classroom, or other designated location.
Q. Is before and after childcare available for the 2021-2022 school year?
A. SCPS will be partnering with the YMCA to provide before and after-school School-Aged Child-Care. For more information on the YMCA’s SACC programs, please visit their website.
Q. Will my child receive support services, such as special education, gifted, ESOL, etc. during the 2021-2022 school year?
A. Special Education Services: If your child has an IEP, 504, or is in the evaluation process, your child’s IEP or 504 teams will convene to discuss what services and accommodations will look like if you chose the virtual option. Special education services will be provided outside of the virtual schedule and therefore may be reduced to an appropriate amount for your child to access virtual instruction.
Focus/Gifted Services: Gifted services will not be provided by the 3rd party provider; therefore, SCPS gifted services will be very limited.
English Language Services: EL services will not be provided by the 3rd party provider; therefore, SCPS services will be limited to scheduled sessions with an SCPS ESOL specialist to address language acquisition needs in relation to the content material.