Fairfax County teacher expresses high hopes for improved distance learning

Fairfax County Public Schools headquarters sign
FILE: This March 4, 2019 file photo shows Fairfax County Public Schools in Merrifield, Va. (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat, File)

Fairfax County families with children in the public schools have until Wednesday, July 15, to decide whether they want their students to have full-time remote learning or a blend of online classes and attending socially-distanced classrooms two days a week. 

The school system’s remote learning suffered a poor rollout in the spring when it was hobbled by technical glitches. By late April, the school system’s head of information technology had resigned.

But a teacher with the school system is feeling confident that the fall semester will operate more smoothly.

“Even if it didn’t go smoothly at first, we got there … over the last seven weeks of school, things rolled smoothly,” said Fairfax teacher David Walrod. “There weren’t the technical glitches.

“There weren’t the ‘Zoom bombings’ that we had heard about…now give that same group of teachers an entire Summer preparing and it’s going to look even better in the fall,”

Walrod is also an executive with the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers and a member of Gov. Ralph Northam’s workgroup on return to school planning.

The school year has been delayed from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8 to allow more preparation time for fall instruction during the pandemic.

Full-time online learning will include four days a week of teacher-directed synchronous instruction and one day per week of independent study.

“If a parent were to go with virtual learning in the fall, what they would see would look very different,” Walrod said. “Starting with the fact that they would be getting roughly four times as much face-to-face instruction as we offered in the spring.” 

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