Arlington school official apologizes for ‘frustrating’ start to virtual learning

An Arlington Public Schools official has apologized for a “frustrating” and “unacceptable” start to the Virginia school district’s virtual learning program amid criticism from parents.

Parents of around 700 students who signed up for distance learning report their kids didn’t get schedules, had classes that didn’t have assigned teachers and were sometimes funneled into unsupervised mixed grade “virtual waiting rooms” where younger students were bullied by older students.

In a letter addressed to APS Superintendent Francisco Durán and the county school board, parents requested a meeting with administrators to voice their concerns.

Chief Academic Officer Bridget Loft apologized for the bumpy start to the school year in an email to parents Tuesday and said the issues are being worked on.

“We understand that this was a frustrating and unacceptable start to the school year for our VLP families and are working to ensure that these issues, related to staffing, scheduling, technical support and communication, are addressed as quickly as possible,” Loft wrote.

“We are also committed to ensuring that VLP students will have permanent teachers assigned to their classes as soon as possible.

Even as the school system works to fill staffing vacancies, streamline schedules and deal with tech issues, Loft advised that some secondary students might still have to wait for schedules until Friday.

Students assigned a particular teacher might also have to use that class time to work on assignments from other classes while staffing is sorted out.

School officials will meet with parents of virtual learning program students in an online town hall set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Students and parents are encouraged to check their emails and the program’s website for more information.

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez contributed to this report.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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