A year of COVID-19: A timeline of the pandemic for FCPS


Images via KTOO & map via Bloomberg

March 13, 2020 is a day that many people won’t forget, but the details of the confusion and difficulties can get lost in the rush of a very long year. This overview  can help you see the main events of the pandemic since March 13th for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). 


March 11, 2020- National pandemic declared by the World Health Organization.


March 12 – FCPS cancels school for March 13, but does not move to cancel any school after that point.


March 13 – Governor Northam declares a state of emergency, forcing all k-12 schools in Virginia to shut down for two weeks. FCPS Superintendent Scott Braband closed down schools for what was believed to be two weeks. Later that day Braband announced that schools will be closed for a month.


March 16- School is canceled for a student holiday, allowing teachers to prepare for the “possibility” of online learning.


March 23 – Mr. Northam ordered all k-12 schools in Virginia close for the remainder of the school year. Braband says that FCPS will no longer be continuing in-person school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 


April 14- School resumes virtually.

April 20 – FCPS classes continues to face virtual harassment. Elementary schools switch to Google Classroom after Blackboard  Learn continued to crash, as the County apologizes for the issues. Other schools switch to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.


June 12- End of the 2019-2020 school year.


June 23- Braband proposes a resume to school plan for the 2020-21 school year.


July 3- Graduation date for seniors amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. Students around the county had socially distanced and informal graduations organized by their schools. South Lakes opted for a parade.


July 9 – The School Board pushes back the first day of school, from August 25 to September 8. They also extended the survey deadline for families to chose whether they would like to return to school.


July 15- FCPS releases the results of students choosing whether they would like to return to school in-person or online. 1,857 people from South Lakes chose in-person. 447 defaulted to in-person 1,819 selected online. FCPS pushes back the return plan.


July 8- President Trump threats to withhold public school funding if they do not return in-person, though he lacks the legal ability to do so. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos slams FCPS‘ virtual learning process


August 28- FCPS releases their reopening plan, moving to keep students fully virtual.

Fairfax County Federation of Teachers calls on FCPS to delay reopening | Articles | fairfaxtimes.com
Image via Fairfax County Times

September 8- School resumes virtually.


September 11- FCPS announces that teacher data has been collected by hackers and is being held for ransom.


Sept 22-  School Board meeting to discuss returning to school during the pandemic and the potential to return to school.


October 23- Another back to school plan discussed at a School Board meeting.


November 16- Five groups of students go back: Early Head Start (infants and toddlers) pre-k (three and four-year-olds), kindergarten, Intensive Support Needs students (students instructed with modified curriculum for at least 50% of their core courses and instructed in special education settings for 50% or more of their instructional day), students in the Vision Program at Robinson Secondary School, students with 50% or more of core content areas in special education settings, and students in the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) Programs at Canterbury Woods Elementary School, Frost Middle School, and Woodson High School.

Alexandria, Fairfax County Update Return-to-School Plans for Students - Alexandria Living Magazine
Image via Alexandria Living Magazine

January 1, 2021- A virtual town hall is held as FCPS teachers begin receiving the first dose of the vaccine.


February 8-  Another virtual conference discussing returning to school is held, with no update on return to school plan.


February 10- Virtual town hall is held, announcing the updated return plan.


Feb 16-  Select career and technical education (CTE) classes return, as well as special education students.


Feb 23- Kindergarten, pre-k and more special education classes are allowed back in school.


March 2- Students in grades eight, nine and 12 return for a hybrid approach. 


March 9- First, second, seventh, tenth, eleventh, and select sixth grade students come back to in-person schools for a hybrid approach. 


March 16- Third and the rest of sixth graders are set to come back to school.