The Fairfax County school system is giving parents and teachers two options for the start of the next school year — 100% virtual online learning or face-to-face instruction in school buildings at least two days a week.
Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand, in a letter to parents, said that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is unlikely that students will go back to school buildings on the day schools are set to start.
“Our first preference, of course, remains 100 percent in-person learning. However, based on current health data, that seems unlikely by Tuesday, August 25, the first day of the 2020-21 school year,” Brabrand writes.
In a draft plan a task force offered options the school board reviewed on Tuesday.
The superintendent recommended families get the choice of two scenarios:
- Families may request to attend school with social distancing (Scenario 2);
- Families may request to enroll in full-time online program for entire school year (Scenario 3).
Staff also would get two options:
- Staff may request to teach in-person with social distancing (Scenario 2);
- Staff may request to teach online for the school year (Scenario 3).
The two options are essentially 100 percent virtual online learning or face-to-face instruction in school buildings for a couple days each week.
In the virtual option, known as Scenario 3, interactive instruction would be provided four days a week.
In the option that involves partially reopening school buildings, at least two full days of instruction would happen in school each week, with students engaged in independent study and work on the days they are not in their building.
“Both choices will offer all students new instructional content and student work will be graded,” Brabrand said.
“One day each week will be set aside for teacher planning and intervention support for some students in either scenario.”
Brabrand said parents would receive an enrollment letter asking them to respond and state their preference. Teachers will be asked their preference as well.
“It’s critical for us to know your choice by July 10 so we can begin planning virtual and in-person class schedules,” said Brabrand. “Additional details about the plan will be shared with the community in the weeks ahead as they are developed.”
A dedicated web page has been set up to provide updates.
“School will look different in the fall,” said Brabrand. “We will continue to work diligently in partnership with the school board to prepare for the very best start to the 2020-21 school year we can possibly offer our students and families.”
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