Frequently Asked Questions: Kindergarten and Other New Student Registration

FAQ
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    When will we find out whether children will go to school buildings in the fall?
    Our final reopening plan will be available to families in early August 2020. We will start school instruction on September 8, 2020. Our planning team is reviewing three models for reopening and is following guidelines from the Virginia Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control. These unprecedented times are uncertain, but we will continue working to provide the best possible learning opportunities for our students. Please sign up for ACPS Express to keep up-to-date with the planning process.

    What if school is still online in the Fall?
    We will be communicating regularly with you throughout the summer regarding the reopening of schools. By late summer you should be very clear about how we are planning to operate and be very well informed. Your school will inform you how they will communicate with you regarding curriculum and student assignments. 

    How will ACPS contact my family to let us know about the start of school?
    In late August, you will automatically be signed up to receive ACPS Express updates and your school’s email newsletter. If you wish to receive these emails prior to this time, you can sign up on the website. Please also be sure to sign up to follow ACPS and your school on social media.  

    Do I still need to sign up for an in-person appointment if I completed the online part and scanned my documents in May?
    Yes. The Virginia Department of Education requires school divisions to view the original documents and make copies onsite in order for students to be registered for school. Registration is a two-step process. First, families are to fill out the registration form. Then they will receive a confirmation email from their new school’s registrar with the link to sign up for an in-person appointment. See more information.

    How do I register my child for kindergarten?
    Kindergarten registration is divided into two parts. 

    1. Completion of the 2020-21 new student registration form. Registration forms for the 2020-21 school year are available on the ACPS Enrollment webpage.
    2. Verification of residency and other documentation: ACPS has opened three registration sites so that families can complete the second step in the registration process. This step is required by all families to complete the registration process prior to starting with ACPS in the fall. Sign up for an appointment at the appropriate central registration site location.

    How do I register or enroll my new student for Grade 1-12 in ACPS?
    Go to the ACPS Enrollment webpage to find the school your student is zoned for, get instructions on what documents are needed, and fill out the online enrollment forms. That is step one. Step two requires new families to sign up for an appointment at the appropriate registration site location. 

    What documents are required for all new enrollments?

    • Child’s original or certified birth certificate
    • Parent/legal guardian’s photo identification
    • Custody documents, if applicable
    • Official school records from another school system or country, if applicable and available
    • Medical information that includes immunization records as well as a physical examination and a tuberculosis screening done within the 12 months prior to starting school

    Read more about the necessary documentation.

    If I submitted my forms online in May or June, do I still need to sign up for an in-person appointment?
    Yes. There are two steps in the registration process. Both are needed to complete registration. This is the second step and it is required by all families to complete the registration process prior to starting with ACPS in the fall. Sign up for appointment at the appropriate central registration site location.

    Can I submit my documents online?
    Beginning on July 15, we ask that all documents be presented at your in-person scheduled appointment.

    Can I fill out the forms on my phone?
    All forms can be filled out on a phone, laptop or any other device.

    How can I be sure that this process is secure?
    Upon completion of the online registration form, families will receive directions on how to upload their documents in a secure manner. This information will also be displayed on the ACPS Enrollment webpage.

    Are the online forms available in Spanish?
    Yes. You can complete the entire enrollment process in Spanish or English online.

    Are the online forms available in Arabic and Amharic?
    The online forms are not accessible in Arabic and Amharic. However, there are other options:

    • Contact the school registrar at your zoned school and they will assist you in filling out the forms. 
    • Contact the Office of English Learner Services as 703-619-8022, or email eloffice@acps.k12.va.us, and an EL office registrar can assist you with completing the forms.
    • Print the PDFs of the enrollment forms in Amharic or Arabic.

    What if my child is an English Learner student or has a primary home language other than English?
    The Office of English Learner Services can provide assistance in registering your child for school. Please call 703-619-8022 or email eloffice@acps.k12.va.us. When you call, you will be asked to provide the following information to help them schedule your appointment:

    • Parent/Guardian name
    • phone number
    • Address
    • total number of students needing to be registered
    • student name(s)
    • Student birthdate(s)

    During your appointment, the Office of English Learner Services will assist you in completing the online registration forms, determining grade placement, transcript evaluations, and providing information about EL assessments and instructional supports.

    All ACPS registrars and staff also have access to Language Line and can use this resource to help families enter their information directly into PowerSchool, our student database, over the phone.

    Can English Learners register new students and Kindergarten students in-person and with assistance?
    ACPS also offers onsite registration with assistance for English Learners:

    The English Learner Student Registration Site is open beginning Wednesday, July 15 (8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) at ACPS Central Office at 1340 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314. Please call or email for an appointment to ensure social distancing. 

    • New students in rising grades 1 through 12. 
    • Kindergarten siblings of new students in rising grades 1 through 12 

    NOTE: EL assessments will be done on site

    The underground parking garage on Braddock Place is open for parking. Tickets will be stamped by the staff inside the building to allow you to park free.

    A security guard will be checking temperatures prior to allowing entry into the building. Please wear a mask to enter the building. 

    How do I register my Pre-K student?
    Pre-K enrollment began April 15 for parents who had previously called in and set up appointments or filled out paper or online forms. The first part of the process can be handled over the phone. If you have a child who is eligible for the Virginia Preschool Initiative, please call 703-619-8026 or email vpiearlychildhood@acps.k12.va.us and a member of staff will contact you.

    Will you still have some version of Kindergarten Prep this summer?
    K-Prep is currently scheduled for August 18-21. This year, it will be a virtual academy. We are asking families to save the date. Details will be posted on the Enrollment page on the ACPS website later in July.

    Since there aren’t open houses at the school buildings, what other ways can I help prepare my rising kindergartner for school?
    Although we do not have the traditional open houses planned, there are other ways you and your prospective student can learn about your elementary school. Take a look at the school’s social media accounts, contact the PTA, or even email the principal. And please, if you have friends who are joining the ACPS family for the first time, be sure to forward this information to them. We look forward to welcoming them.

    How can we make sure our student is ready for the first day of school?
    Perhaps the most important thing you can do to support your child before the start of school is to go to our website and sign up for Parent Access. You will receive a letter in the mail the week before school starts. Create your account, enter the code provided in the letter and you are already on the road to success for your child. There are some key benefits and features of Parent Access for elementary parents including:  

    • The ability to complete back-to-school forms online  
    • The ability to ensure your contact information in always current  
    • Access to a list of bus stops  
    • Lunch pin access  
    • Attendance records for your child  
    • Quarterly progress reports  
    • Teacher email addresses  
    • Results from standardized assessments 

    Is the ACPS process different from the registration process used by other school divisions?
    All school divisions differ slightly in their registration processes. However, all divisions across the region are aligning their processes with the Virginia Department of Education.

    HEALTH FORMS AND ENROLLMENT QUESTIONS

    Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the medical requirements for school enrollment?
    These requirements have not changed. In order to enroll in a public school system in Virginia, state law requires the parent or guardian of a child to provide, among other information, a school entrance health form and a copy of up-to-date age-appropriate immunizations.

    If school remains 100 percent virtual due to COVID-19 this fall and my student is learning at home do we still have to comply with immunization requirements?
    The Commonwealth of Virginia has not changed the law regarding enrollment and the required medical records. Since students will still be enrolling in an ACPS school regardless of where learning happens this fall, they are required to provide the necessary documentation.

    What medical tests and immunizations are required?
    Commonwealth of Virginia and ACPS requires that all new students have a negative Tuberculosis (TB) evaluation before enrolling in our schools. In addition, documentation of nine routine childhood immunizations for preventable communicable diseases should be provided. A list of the required tests and immunizations can be found in the enrollment section of the ACPS website.

    Are there any exemptions to having to have immunizations?
    The vaccinations are required as a safety measure for our children and our larger community.  However, there are exemptions for families with certain religious beliefs and students with specific existing medical conditions. You can learn more about these exemptions on the ACPS website under the enrollment tab.

    Are there any exceptions for the requirement for physicals due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
    Virginia schools are not waiving the requirement for a physical exam within a year prior to enrolling in a Virginia school. All physicals will still need to be completed prior to a child starting school in the fall. You can get records from your doctor to submit for vaccinations.  

    What medical documents do I need to enroll my student at ACPS schools?
    All states, including Virginia, require children to be vaccinated against certain communicable diseases as a condition for school attendance. Virginia also requires new students to provide a negative Tuberculosis evaluation before enrolling. You will need to provide your doctor with the 4-page Virginia School Entrance Health Form (PDF), provided in the enrollment packet, if they do not already provide it for you. The medical documents each student needs to share are:

    • Documentation of a physical examination from a health care provider for elementary aged students.  The physical exam must have occurred within 12 months from the first day of school.
    • Up-to-date age-appropriate immunization record listing the month, date and year of vaccinations. 

    Where can I find the required forms?
    The forms are on the ACPS Enrollment webpage. Please download and print out the forms to take to your medical provider for completion. Alternatively, you may also submit documentation of a physical examination and immunizations from a medical provider provided they are on letterhead from the health care facility. Finally, you may ask your school registrar to mail the forms to you.

    What happens if I don’t have health records that list the month, date, and year of the immunizations?
    Any students for whom dates cannot be provided will be referred to the local health department or a private healthcare provider to update their records before entering school.

    My child was in an ACPS PreK program last year and will enter kindergarten this fall.  Do we still have to do this or can you just use last year’s records?
    Kindergarten registration for ACPS PreK students is streamlined. Parents of those students still need to complete the registration form and make an appointment, but only the following documents are required:

    1. Physical Examination report
    2. Immunization Records
    3. Proof of Residency- 3 Proofs
    4. Alternate Authorized Persons for Kindergarten/Special Education Release

    Are students who already attend ACPS schools in any grade required to provide health records?
    All returning students need to show they are up-to-date with grade-level age-appropriate immunizations. And just as a reminder, 7th-grade students need a Tdap shot. The full list of age-appropriate vaccinations is on our webpage.

    What if I am unable to obtain a well-child exam?
    If this is the case for you, there are alternative providers who can help, including: 

    • Neighborhood Health
    • The Alexandria Health Department
    • The Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams King Street
    • The Partnership for Healthier Communities

    All offer affordable services on a sliding fee scale. You are also encouraged to contact your school nurse if you have additional questions.

    What happens if I don’t have medical insurance?
    The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) is now open for immunizations by appointment, please call 703-746-4888 to set one up. Families should bring immunization records and identification to the appointment. AHD is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for infection control, and will be requesting persons 10 years of age and older to wear masks.

    My child had a doctor’s appointment this winter, can I use those records to enroll or do I need a new appointment?
    If the physical was completed within 12 months of the first day of school (currently September 8), then it is acceptable.

    Can my student be enrolled while they get the necessary immunizations?
    A student may be enrolled for a period of 90 school days contingent upon:

    • at least one dose of each of the required vaccines has been received, and 
    • the parent/guardian has a plan for completing the immunization requirements within the ensuing 90 school days.

    The only exception to this is for students who have not received a second dose of measles (rubeola) vaccine - the state requires the second dose must be administered prior to starting kindergarten.

    We are a military family and received orders forcing us to move. Can we have an exception?
    The children of military families have 30 days from the date of enrollment to obtain any required immunization(s). For a series of immunizations, the first ones must be obtained within 30 days.