Fairfax Co. schools to feature ‘traditional’ instruction for expanded in-person learning

In Virginia, the superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools said that with the expansion of in-person learning to four days per week, students will begin to see more traditional and hands-on learning.

During hybrid learning, students would be in the classroom, and they will still primarily use a laptop for instruction to stay congruent with students learning virtually at home. But Superintendent Scott Brabrand said that will change over the next month.

“It’s going to be returning, in many cases, to more traditional instruction. There still may be some students who are coming in concurrently from the virtual option at home,” Brabrand told WTOP.

“But we are working very closely with our teachers in supporting more traditional, hands-on, in-person, instructional activities, while still providing support for our virtual students,” he said.

FCPS is able to expand in-person learning because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that schools could safely reduce social distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet.

“We are also going to see a difference in the classroom where those desks are going to move from 6 feet apart to 3 feet apart,” Brabrand said.

As of Tuesday this only applies to elementary students. Middle and high schools will still expand capacity for in-person instruction but will remain at six feet of social distancing until community transmission of coronavirus is reduced.

Staff must still maintain a distance of 6 feet from students and other staff. Children eating lunch would also remain 6 feet apart.

The change to four days of instruction per week began Tuesday for certain students in pre-K through grade 12.

The first group moving to four days per week includes students of any grade who have the greatest learning challenges, as identified by school personnel. Some in that group will return April 6; the remainder will return April 13.

All pre-K through 12th grade students whose families expressed a preference for in-person instruction will increase their in-person learning from two days per week to four starting April 20.

FCPS plans on returning to five days per week of in-person learning in the fall.

“This expansion to four days of in-person instruction this spring will really help us with all of the challenges and opportunities to be better prepared to do five days of in-person in the fall,” Brabrand said.

Graduation plans

Brabrand said unlike last year, the Class of 2021 will get to enjoy all the pomp and circumstance.

“We have been really working closely with Gov. (Ralph) Northam’s administration, and we will have in-person graduations at all of our high schools,” Brabrand said.

Each high school will finalize plans and release more information about the ceremonies later this month.

“We know that is going to be a wonderful opportunity for all of our graduates,” Brabrand said.


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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.

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