Welcome back, Generals!

Senior Hudson James Esch poses for a back-to-school photo. Sophomores through seniors will return to the building the week of March 16, 2021.

When students first left the school in March 2020, no one had expected a year to pass before they would return. This time, the typical chattering groups of students on the stairs, crowds moving through the yellow-painted hallways and tightly packed table groups in classrooms have been replaced with six-foot distancing measures and virtual classmates’ colorful icons smiling from the Smartboards. Regardless, students are thrilled to be back. 

“I am excited [to be in-person for the first time] — I’m a little bit nervous because I don’t know the school super well and have only ever been on the first floor,” freshman Sadie Wallander said. “I’m hoping that I’ll get to learn the building and interact with my teachers more.”

Arlington Public Schools (APS) superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán unveiled the details about the return to in-person hybrid learning on Feb. 9, 2021. Students’ schedules were posted on both ParentVUE and StudentVUE. Freshmen returned to the building today, and sophomores through seniors will return next week. 

Parents must complete a five-question long health screening before students may board the bus or enter the building. Wearing a mask is required for everyone, unless they are medically exempt. Within the building, students must remain six feet apart from each other, and there will be marked “lanes” and school staff to guide them in the hallways. Lockers will not be available for use. 

In the classroom, all desks are six feet apart, and students will wipe down their desks at the beginning and end of each class period. If students have teachers that are virtual, they will be directed to the cafeteria, auditorium, Little Theater or other spaces as needed. This information may be subject to change in the near future, though.

The everyday class schedule has also been modified. Now, first-period classes begin at 8:25 a.m. and the school day will end at 3:05 p.m. Another lunch period has been added as well. Lunch A will run from 10:55 to 11:45 a.m. and Lunch B will be from 12:35 to 1:25 p.m. 

During lunch, students are allowed to eat in the cafeteria, the gym or outdoors if the weather permits. Students may not have food delivered to them or leave the school to pick up lunch. Students will be seated 10 feet apart from each other at lunch, as they will not have their masks on when eating.

Although returning to school looks different from pre-COVID-19 years, Principal Antonio Hall has been looking forward to seeing students and staff back in the building, and wants everyone to be conscientious about the pandemic.

“This represents an opportunity to continue our mission, which is to provide a world-class education for all of our students,” Mr. Hall said. “While continuing our journey towards academic excellence, we want to do so while remaining vigilant in the face of a global pandemic. That means caring for one another by continuing to wear masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently as well as adhering to all other safety guidelines and protocols. I have no doubt that together, we will continue to do great things as a school community. Go Generals!”


Please visit https://www.apsva.us/school-year-2020-21/hybrid-in-person-model/high-school-hybrid-in-person-distance-learning-model/ for more information on the hybrid model.