Fairfax County students plead for return to in-person learning

Students and their parents who want Fairfax County, Virginia, public schools to return to full-time in-person learning spoke out during a school board meeting Thursday.

Some Fairfax County Public Schools students became emotional as they pleaded for a return to in-person learning five days per week.

“Our mental health struggles are compounded by the fact that our peers who attend private school are thriving, attending school five days a week safely,” one female student said.

“You can’t put a price tag on the damage that distance teaching has caused. Previously honor roll students, star athletes and passionate artists are now severely depressed,” said one mother.

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The school board voted unanimously to approve the latest draft plan for a return to in-school learning on Tuesday. It calls for all students to attend in-person classes twice per week by mid-March.

But the Fairfax Education Association said that timeline doesn’t allow all county schools staff who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to receive both doses before returning to the classroom.

“Vaccination is not a silver bullet and we are not all there yet with full protection,” said Fairfax Education Association President Kimberly Adams.

The school system said 90% of staffers have requested or scheduled their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the school district is working to ensure staffers get their second doses in the next few weeks

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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