FCPS Classes Begin Aug. 28; What You Need to Know

Elementary school children standing in front of school bus.

Wow, summer went really fast! Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) begin classes on Monday, Aug. 28, a week earlier than past years.

We have more than 189,000 students attending FCPS, which makes us the 10th-largest school division in the U.S.  Back to school impacts most of us, even if you don’t have a student in school (public or private school!) – here are five things to know.


1. Bus and Pedestrian Safety

More than 1,700 buses, as well as young drivers and student pedestrians, will be out and about in our neighborhoods and roads. Please consider adding extra time for your commute, especially as everyone adjusts to school being back in session.

To help you plan your commute, here are the start and end times for our schools:

  • Middle schools begin 7:30 a.m. and end 2:15 p.m.
  • Three secondary schools (Hayfield, Lake Braddock and Robinson) begin 8 a.m. and end 2:45 p.m.
  • High schools begin 8:10 a.m. and end 2:55 p.m.
  • Elementary schools’ schedules vary. They start from 8:10 to 9:20 a.m. and end from 2:55 to 4:05 p.m.

The rules are pretty simple if you encounter a school bus with flashing red lights. Drivers must stop in both directions, unless separated from the bus by a median. In 2016, there were 154 citations for passing stopped school buses, according to the Police Department.

Here are the four simple rules:

school bus safety

Pedestrian safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking or biking may show up suddenly and quickly; pay attention at all times.
  2. Drivers should not block crosswalks. Allow pedestrians plenty of space to walk safely.
  3. Pay attention to school zones, especially where they start and end. Those slower school zone speed limits are there for a reason. Follow the speed limit when the lights are flashing.
  4. Always stop when directed by a police officer or crossing guard.

Back To School Safety Message From Police Chief

More about our school buses, safety and more – watch:


2. Special Election on Tuesday, Aug. 29

family voting at school precinct

There is a countywide special election for an at-large seat on the School Board on Tuesday, Aug. 29, which is the second day of classes. More than 160 of the county’s 243 voting precincts are in our schools. Voters are encouraged to vote before or after school hours if possible and to postpone voting during the times when school buses are dropping off or picking up students.

Get Voting Info


3. Help for Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are all around us and the beginning of the school year can be especially hard for some students. We have a 24-hour text service that’s available for students (or anyone) to contact.

text "Connect" to 85511

4. Free Homework Help and Tutoring

The Library has a long list of online resources to help your student succeed from the first day of kindergarten through SAT and ACT test prep. Get live help with math and science homework from a teacher, review resources for writers and look at enough publications to turn anyone into a bookworm. Or stop by your Library branch and our staff will help you find the best resources and online help for an assignment.

Get Homework Help


In addition, volunteers from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Robinson Secondary School are offering free tutoring in math, reading, writing, science, social studies and ESL. This program, called GIVE – Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education –  is provided on select Saturdays.

GIVE Tutoring Schedule


5. Five Steps to a Healthy Start to the School Year

Our Health Department encourages parents and students to follow these five steps to a healthy start to the school year:

  1. Get at least nine hours of sleep per day.
  2. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  3. Limit screen time to two hours or less outside of school.
  4. Get at least one hour of physical activity per day.
  5. Eliminate sugar-added beverages.

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