Arlington Co.’s return-to-school plans updated following revised CDC distancing guidelines

Arlington, Virginia’s public school system has detailed how it will move forward following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s change in guidance saying that students can sit as close as three feet apart in the classroom as long as they wear masks.

Arlington County Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Duran said the plan is to continue to admit additional students to participate in hybrid/in-person instruction during the current school year, and according to each school’s building capacity, during a school board meeting on Thursday.

The plan prioritizes special populations on waitlists and those struggling with virtual instruction. Families who want their children to begin reporting to school in person should contact the individual school. Transportation will be provided for prioritized, eligible students on waitlists.

Earlier this month Duran said schools will continue with the current hybrid model for the remainder of this school year, in accordance with current health and safety guidance.

“Changing the model to provide additional in-person days now — even for targeted groups — is a monumental logistical challenge,” according to Duran’s presentation.

Any modification will affect, among others, class schedules, staffing, space configurations, lunch procedures, and coronavirus testing and contact tracing, the presentation stated.

The school system’s decision to continue its current model, despite the CDC’s revised recommendations, divided some Arlington parent groups.

The current schedules for hybrid learning were based on family surveys conducted last fall and 6-foot distancing recommendations.

The revised 3-foot guidance, however, allows the school system to offer full in-person summer instruction five days a week, on top of full-distance learning five days a week. Families of eligible students will be able to indicate how they prefer to attend.

Students in Arlington County Public Schools will be able to be back in the classroom five days a week this fall, if they choose.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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