Full in-person instruction will be an option in Arlington in fall: Superintendent

Students in Arlington will be able to be back in the classroom five days a week this fall, if they choose, the superintendent of the Virginia school system said Thursday night.

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán told the school board a return to in-person instruction five days a week is the goal, and that plans are in the works. Durán added, however, that the system would “continue to support those families” who prefer to remain virtual-only, and staffers have already begun to plan what the remote option will look like.

“The fall should be a season of joy and triumph” for families anxious to see their kids back in the classroom, Durán said. School systems in Loudoun County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland, have said they will also return to full-time in-person instruction next fall.

Durán said the rollout of Arlington’s hybrid model of learning, where students can get several days a week in the classroom, has been so successful that some families who had opted for online-only are switching, and that some schools even have waiting lists of families wanting to switch.

Durán also briefed the school board on a troubling grade trend for the second quarter of the 2020-2021 school year: Students continued to fail their classes at higher rates than in past years.

He said a summer school plan is in the works, and in the meantime, the school system is continuing targeted intervention efforts for failing students including special office hours, counselor outreach to struggling students, deadline extensions and more “academic support” time in the school day.

Arlington also offers a program that gives students who failed classes a chance to make up missed work. The students can then have their grades recalculated, meaning they can pass a class they previously failed.

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