Arlington County, Virginia’s head of public schools clarified Tuesday that he prefers a gradual return to in-person learning over the upcoming academic year instead of a complete shift to virtual classes.
During an online town hall meeting, Superintendent Francisco Durán said he wanted to take things slowly during the coronavirus pandemic but did not want to cancel in-person classes altogether.
“We need to take our time,” Durán said. “I want to clarify and make sure people understand it is a pause.”
Families in Arlington have been given the option of full-time virtual learning or a hybrid schedule that includes virtual and in-person classes.
The deadline for choosing an option is July 20, and families who have not responded yet are urged to do so.
“It is not taking away the hybrid model, but slowly phasing in when we will begin with the hybrid model for students,” said Durán.
The hybrid model is expected to include two consecutive days of in-person classes and three days of distance learning. Staff and students will be required to wear face masks inside school buildings, with social distancing measures in place.
Durán said he would address the Arlington School Board on Thursday and ask to not only delay in-person learning, but also delay the start of the school year from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8.
In his previous statement, Durán said that school leaders would continue to monitor health data in September and ideally start to bring back in-person instruction in early October, the midpoint of the school year’s first quarter.
“Our goal is to have hybrid in-person instruction in place for all families that have selected that model by the beginning of the second quarter, based on health data and in consultation with health officials,” Durán said.
D.C. has not yet released its plan for the fall school year.
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