PA COVID Mitigation Strategies

Layered for the 2021-2022 School Year

Dear Pinnacle Community,


As you know, under SB 1303, we are required to provide five days a week of in-person instruction, as directed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.


Pinnacle is committed to continuity of learning during the 2021-22 school year and the school division is using layered prevention strategies to do everything possible to ensure our schools remain safe, healthy, and open.


The most important thing we can all do to keep our schools safe and open all year is to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as we are eligible. Vaccines are safe, effective, available, and free.


The CDC uses a benchmark of 70% as their target vaccination rate for community protection. Vaccination rates for students 12 and older have not reached that target yet, and those under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. Wearing masks provides a proven layer of protection when vaccination rates have not reached the 70% percent goal.


The Fairfax County Health Department updates vaccination rates daily on the COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard.


By now, we all know that social distancing is a key safety measure in preventing the spread of COVID-19. But, adequate social distancing may not always be possible in schools. Wearing a mask means we can safely be a little closer when necessary.


Students will be in cohorts throughout the day with their grade level peers. They will eat lunch in their classrooms and will take recess on a rotating schedule with their homerooms. We are implementing this step for the safety of our students and faculty and to avoid a school-wide shut down should a case occur in one of the classrooms.


Below you can see the details of our layered mitigation efforts. Our plans were made in partnership with the local health department, CDC guidelines, and school leaders and board members at Fairfax County Public Schools. This is a living document, that will be updated regularly for viewing at your convenience. Feel free to bookmark this on your web browser.


Kindest regards,

Principal Lyndsey

COVID Screening Available Every Week at NO Cost To Families

We have partnered with Omecare Testing to make weekly testing available to all Pinnacle staff and students. When used with insurance this will come at ZERO cost to all families. The tests are done through saliva collection. Every Monday a test will be given to every student. Families will be responsible for returning the tests to school on Tuesday. The tests will then be shipped overnight to the Omecore lab and results will be uploaded within 24 hours to a secure dashboard.


Once we hit under 2% positivity rates, we will go to biweekly testing.


Testing is optional for students under 12, but mandatory for students over 12 and staff/volunteers who are unvaccinated.


More information will be available on orientation and in additional communication coming from the school prior to the September 7.

Masks Required For All

Masks are an essential tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting those unable to be vaccinated.


To ensure a safe start to the school year, masks will be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, inside the school building. Families are responsible for sending their students(s) with masks to school each day. We will have extras on campus.


As we bring large numbers of students and staff back to our building, Pinnacle is committed to doing all we can to provide a safe environment for everyone to learn and work. Therefore, existing mask requirements have been extended to include everyone, regardless of vaccination status and location. We will all wear masks indoors, unless we are alone in an office or room. Outdoor masking is still recommended for those who are unvaccinated in crowded settings.


There are some situations in school when students and staff are permitted to remove their masks, including:


  • When actively eating or drinking (if eating indoors, individuals are required to put their masks back on when not actually eating or drinking)


  • When outside (e.g. outdoor recess, outdoor physical education, outdoor instructional groups; anyone not fully vaccinated is recommended, but not required, to wear a mask in crowded settings)


  • Pinnacle will use outdoor eating and instructional areas to increase opportunities for physical distancing as permitted by space, weather, and supervision. PA will implement full physical distancing to the best of our ability in all classrooms.


By now, we all know that social distancing is a key safety measure in preventing the spread of COVID-19. But, adequate social distancing may not always be possible in schools. Wearing a mask means we can safely be a little closer when necessary.


Students will be in cohorts throughout the day with their grade level peers. They will eat lunch in their classrooms and will take recess on a rotating schedule with their homerooms. We are implementing this step for the safety of our students and faculty and to avoid a school-wide shut down should a case occur in one of the classrooms.

Screen for Illness Every Day, Stay Home When Sick

One of the most important prevention strategies is screening students daily for any signs of illness prior to leaving home for school. Any student who is ill or presents with COVID-like symptoms is to remain at home.


The health department approved daily health screening questionnaire and all translated versions can be found on the Health and Safety Guidance document. This document provides the details of the policies and protocols related to COVID-19, and it is continually updated to align with public health guidance as it evolves during the school year. Daily completion of the health screening is done on an honor basis and does not need to be sent to the school.

Limited School Visitors

Pinnacle Academy will limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations with people who are not fully vaccinated, particularly in areas where there is moderate-to-high COVID-19 community transmission.


  • Mentors supporting students are considered essential visitors in schools. All mentors visiting our school must comply with school visitor polices. This includes wearing a mask while indoors and completing a daily health screening prior to entering the building. PA emphasizes the importance of staying home when sick. Anyone demonstrating symptoms of infectious illness, such as flu or COVID-19, must stay home and seek testing and care.


  • All visitors will be required to complete a daily health screening questionnaire prior to entering the building.


  • Please be aware that the daily health screening questionnaire form is NOT part of the sign in/ log in form. They are separate forms and should NOT be combined into one form.


  • All visitors are required to sign in and out of the school building on the sign in/log in sheet. The daily health screening questionnaire form is NOT part of the sign in/log in sheet and should not be used for sign in purposes.


  • Any visitor responding “yes” to any of the daily health screening questions will not be permitted to enter the building.


  • All visitors are required to wear face coverings/masks (cloth or disposable) regardless of vaccination status, while indoors on school property (to include the buildings, school buses and other school-provided vehicles) during the school day or during any school-sponsored activity.


  • An appropriate disposable mask will be provided for any visitor not in possession of an acceptable face covering/mask while at school.


  • Face coverings are not required for visitors when outdoors on PA school property.


  • Any student participating in distance learning that must visit the building for any reason will be required to complete the daily health screening questionnaire and wear a face covering/mask (cloth or disposable) while in the building.


  • Delivery personnel are NOT required to complete a daily health screening questionnaire or sign-in if only dropping off or picking up items. If delivery personnel have to spend an extended period of time on site, they must complete the visitor procedures.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Measures will be implemented to ensure that common areas and equipment, and personal workspaces, are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Mr. Ozen has worked closely with PA custodians to adjust their cleaning processes to better address current considerations. PA custodians are using effective disinfectant and sanitizing products to clean our facilities every day.

Care Room for Ill Students (Not Nurse's Suite)

Pinnacle Academy has designated a separate room as a "Care Room" for students presenting with COVID symptoms to wait until their parent/guardians are able to pick them up from school.


A designated staff member will be assigned to supervise students while in the predetermined care room should the need arise. The staff member will be provided with a gown or lab coat, gloves, and a face shield as appropriate. The staff member assigned will complete the trainings on COVID-19 and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Staff will be available at various times throughout the day to supervise any student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 while awaiting pick up by the parent or guardian.

Becoming Ill At School

Students demonstrating any of the following symptoms will be sent home from school:


  • Fever (100.4 or greater) - Chills – Cough – Shortness of breath – Loss of taste/smell – Sore throat – Fatigue – Muscle aches – Runny Nose/Congestion – Stomach ache – Diarrhea – Nausea/Vomiting – Headaches.



The parent/guardian will be notified and a SICK STUDENT NOTIFICATION and RETURN to SCHOOL FORM will be sent home.


The top portion of the form will be completed by a PA staff member. Parents are expected to pick up their child within one hour of notification. Parents are to check into the front office.

Students Diagnosed with COVID-19

Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, may not return until:


  • It has been at least ten (10) days since my child first had symptoms AND
  • My child has had no fever off anti-fever medicines (ex: Tylenol, Ibuprofen) for 24 hours AND
  • My child’s symptoms are getting better

COVID-19 Exposure Protocols

If someone in the household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or the student is exposed, the student must remain home for 14 days after their last exposure to the household member.


If there is an exposure in schools, the school will notify affected families. The Fairfax County Health Department is responsible for contact tracing.


The CDC has issued a revised definition of close contact. In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the “close contact” definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically, compatible illness) where:


  • both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks; and
  • other K–12 school prevention strategies (such as universal and correct mask use, physical distancing, increased ventilation) were in place in the K–12 school setting.


Individuals who meet the K-12 definition of close contact will still need to quarantine.

This close contact exception mentioned above does not apply to teachers, staff or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

Response to a Positive Case at School

The school will send general notification to the entire school community when a student, staff member, or visitor tests positive for COVID-19. This will let families and staff know that the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) will follow-up with case investigation and contact tracing.


Based on guidance from the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD), FCPS may temporarily pause in-person instruction, athletics, or school activities for anyone identified as a potential close contact during the case investigation and contact tracing.


The FCHD will determine any close contacts and will contact those individuals directly to provide the appropriate guidance, which may include quarantine. A close contact is defined as someone who has spent more than 15 minutes during a 24-hour period within 6 feet of someone who has tested positive.


The CDC indicates a K-12 exception to this definition. In the K-12 setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet on an infected student when:

  • Both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks
  • Other K-12 prevention strategies were in place in the K-12 school setting


This exception does not apply to teachers, staff or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.


More information on contact investigations is available from the Fairfax County Health Department and the Virginia Department of Health. When the FCHD has completed all contact-tracing, PA will send out a final notification letting the school community know that the process has been completed.

Returning to School After Illness

In order to return to school, the parent/guardian must provide to the school, a completed SICK STUDENT NOTIFICATION and RETURN to SCHOOL FORM.


This form will be completed by the child’s healthcare provider and returned to the school.

This form is to be filed in the student’s cumulative folder.


Copies of FCHD clearance letters (SARA alert forms) provided by the FCHD or a healthcare provider note will also be accepted. These documents should be stapled to the Return to School Form and filed in the student’s cumulative folder.

Protocols for Potential Temporary Closure

In-Person Closure Type: Individual Student(s)

  1. Threshold to Initiate In-Person Closure: Student(s) is directed by their health provider or local health department to quarantine or isolate, or PA is directed by the local health department to pause a student’s access to in-person instruction while contact tracing is implemented as a matter of public health, but their school and class remain open for all other students.
  2. Student Support During Closure: Students will access work through work packets and/or through the provision of asynchronous work that could be accessed from the Learning Management System (Google Classroom).


In-Person Closure Type: Individual Teacher

  1. Threshold to Initiate In-Person Closure: In the event a teacher is required to quarantine, PA will secure a substitute teacher for the class.


In-Person Closure Type: Class

  1. Threshold to Initiate In-Person Closure: PA is directed by the local health department to temporarily close the class as a matter of public health while contact tracing and case investigation is conducted, respond to an outbreak, or to address other health matters.
  2. Student Support During Closure: All students and staff in the impacted class will transition to virtual learning for that class (period for secondary students) until the class can reopen. During such time, secondary students in the impacted class would access work for their other classes via work packets and/or through the provision of asynchronous work accessed from the Learning Management System (Google Classroom).


In-Person Closure Type: School

  1. Threshold to Initiate In-Person Closure: PA is directed by the local or state health officials to temporarily close the school as a matter of public health to conduct contact tracing and case investigation, respond to an outbreak, or to address other health matters.
  2. Student Support During Closure: All students and staff at the school will transition to virtual learning to ensure continuity of learning until in-person instruction can resume.

Requirements for Playground Areas

  • Face masks are not required on the playground
  • Students are to wash hands before going to playground areas and immediately following with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is to be made easily accessible in playground areas for students and staff.
  • Playground equipment is approved for use. Students must sanitize their hands immediately before and after using the equipment.
  • Students may share equipment during recess.
  • Prior to using any piece of equipment, schools should determine if it can be effectively disinfected. (Nonporous items such as those made of plastic or rubber are recommended.) Spray or wipe down equipment during the day if possible.

Travel Restrictions

Currently, the CDC and VDH do not mandate quarantine after travel domestically or out of the country. PA is following this guidance.


VDH urges all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel, especially if you are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 or if you will be visiting someone at higher risk of serious COVID-19. This recommendation applies to everyone, even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have fully recovered from COVID-19. OCCR will support public messaging for families in the coming weeks.


The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommends (but does not require) that all people get tested before and after travel and stay home or reduce non-essential activities for at least 7 days after travel.


Students and staff are not required to quarantine or provide COVID 19 test results.

Families may opt to keep their students at home for 14 days after they return from travel, however, it is not required.


The daily monitoring of symptoms is required.


For further information, please refer to the requirements for domestic and international travel:

Requirement for all Air Passengers Arriving in the United States

Travelers Prohibited from Entry into the United States

Domestic Travel Restrictions