Some elementary school students and other students in specific programs are returning to classrooms next month in Virginia’s largest school system.
Fairfax County Public Schools said that starting Nov. 16, it will open in-person instruction to students in kindergarten, pre-K, Early Head Start, special education and students with intensive support needs.
Then, no later than Monday, Nov. 30, in-person cohort learning will begin for first and second grades, and students in Specialized Career Centers – Special Ed.
“We can see that COVID-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, and it is time to move forward with in-person instruction,” Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in a video Friday.
The school board voted in September to allow some students — which include some preschool students, as well as some students with disabilities — to resume in-person learning this month.
“Our first three weeks of in-person cohort learning have gone very well, and we have had no incidents to cause concern. We are bringing back additional groups of students as we continue to meet the health and operational metrics that have been established for in-person instruction, including low transmission rates, mitigation strategies, planned response for confirmed cases, and availability of teachers and staff,” Brabrand said in a letter to the school community Friday.
The plan will have students receive two days of teacher-led instruction in the classroom and two days of teacher-led instruction at home.
“We have concurrent instruction pilots underway in several of our schools, and I will bring back to the school board at their Nov. 12 meeting an update on this instructional method,” Brabrand said.
Under the “concurrent model” students learning from home would get the same instruction as students in the classroom. Both sets of students would be watching the same teaching from the same teacher.
Brabrand said this approach “maximizes teacher-led instruction by allowing in-person students to ‘log into’ class on at-home days.”
Here’s a video demonstrating how the concurrent classroom looks:
Students who want to continue with full virtual learning may continue to do so.
Brabrand has recommended a schedule for when the rest of the students should return to the classrooms — with a group returning as early as Jan. 4 and the rest no later than the beginning of the second semester in February.
The 12-member school board deadlocked last week on whether to endorse the rest of Brabrand’s plan.
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