The Fairfax County School Board has reached consensus on a plan to offer students a choice in how they return to school in August for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. An enrollment letter will be distributed to parents so that they can state their preference.
The plan offers families two choices:
- Full-time online instruction. Virtual, interactive instruction will be provided four days a week.
- At least two full days of instruction in school each week with students engaged in independent study and work on the days they are not in the school building.
One day each week will be set aside for teacher planning and intervention support for some students in either scenario.
The plan includes increased in-person or synchronous instruction for Special Education students and English Language Learners. New instructional content will be offered to all students and student work will be graded. Additional details about the plan will be shared with the community in the weeks ahead.
Parents will be asked to respond to the registration letter request by July 10, so that detailed planning can begin for virtual and in-person class schedules. Teachers will also be surveyed for their return-to-school preferences.
“Our first preference, of course, remains 100 percent in-person learning," said Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand. "However, based on current health data, that seems unlikely by Tuesday, August 25, the first day of the 2020-21 school year. It’s possible we will be able to provide more than two days of instruction at school each week depending on the number of students who choose the virtual, full time option.
“Our first priority remains the health and well-being of our students and staff members,” he stated. “As the state moves into Phase 3 of their reopening plan, we will be complying with state and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidance for the safe reopening of schools. There are social and physical distancing recommendations for classrooms, buses, and shared spaces in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that will limit the number of students and staff who can be inside a school at any one time.
“We have developed this plan in response to the feedback we have received via surveys, town halls, online comments, and other venues,” he continued. “We are attempting to move forward in a safe, responsible manner that puts health and safety foremost. We sincerely hope that at some point in the future we can bring everyone back into the school buildings full-time.”