Fairfax Co. teachers split 50-50 on returning to school buildings

A sign encouraging social distancing is seen in a Fairfax County school. (CNN)

Families in Fairfax County are leaning toward choosing schools to reopen for the coming academic year while teachers in Virginia’s largest school system are more wary of the idea.

According to new figures released by the county’s public school system on Monday, 59% of families want students to return to in-person education, versus 41% who want virtual learning — while teachers are more evenly split.

“The return to school remains a very, very important topic for all of us,” said Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand.

Families and teachers must decided by Wednesday, July 15 whether they prefer students to take part in full-time virtual learning or a hybrid schedule, where students would report to school two days a week and spend three days learning remotely.

“We still have a number of families that have yet to make their decision,” Brabrand said. “For those that we do not hear from, we will be marking that as ‘in-person.'”

The school year has been delayed from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8 to allow more preparation time for fall instruction during the pandemic. School leaders are setting up isolation rooms and adding hand sanitizer dispensers to buildings and classrooms.

There will be daily temperature checks, and all students over 2 must wear face coverings inside school buildings, with exceptions that include eating, drinking and exercising.

“Our goal is to use the ‘6 foot’ of social distancing in setting up our classrooms wherever possible,” said Brabrand. “We are all, in every school district, creating an experience for returning to school that has never been created before.”

If a teacher or student tests positive for coronavirus infection, Brabrand said the patient would be immediately isolated and the county’s health department would monitor them.

The patient would be quarantined at home and anyone who came into close contact with the patient would be told to quarantine and seek a test.

“The health department will work closely with school administrators to determine a course of action,” said Brabrand.

School leaders promised to have proper virtual learning in place once classes resume.

The school system’s remote learning suffered a poor debut in the spring due to technical glitches. By late April, the school system’s head of information technology had resigned.

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.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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