Fairfax Co. votes to allow some in-person classes starting in October

The Fairfax County School Board voted Tuesday night to allow some students in the Virginia county to resume in-person learning in October.

The plan, which Superintendent Scott Brabrand introduced, calls for about 3.5% of students and teachers to participate in what the county is calling in-person “cohorts.”

Some 6,707 students and 653 teachers would resume in-person learning under the approved proposal.

The county said students returning to schools would be those it identified as “in greatest need of additional support.” High school students taking Career and Technical Education courses, preschool children with autism and English language newcomers are among them.

The decision to resume some in-person learning was made with factors, such as teacher, custodial staff, administration and classroom availability, in mind.

When schools reopen, the county said social distancing practices will be enforced. Staff and students will wear face coverings, desks will be separated by 6 feet of space and students will eat meals in classrooms whenever possible.

School officials are using metrics, such as case incident rate and visits to emergency rooms per 100,000 people, to inform its decision-making.

Parents will be asked to complete a form each day revealing that they completed a health screening before sending their children to school, and teachers will be asked about symptoms and exposure.

Schools will use random temperature checks throughout the day.

The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers is urging the county to ensure the safety of its teachers and staff moving forward.

“FCPS staff are the heart and soul of ensuring our school system runs successfully,” said Tina Williams, the federation’s president, in a statement. “Our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of all students and staff. We continue to urge FCPS to adopt our 11 Pillars of a Safe Reopening and give all staff an option to work in the environment that they feel most safe.”

At the end of July, the board voted to have classes start virtually.

The county’s plans also include an operational level three, which will feature hybrid learning, and level four, which is 100% in-person learning.

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.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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