Fairfax Co. gears up for school year with few coronavirus restrictions

The largest school system in the D.C. area is planning to welcome students back this fall with all in-person learning and minimal coronavirus restrictions.

Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent Scott Brabrand said he’s ready to get students back in schools, and said he thinks it will be pretty normal as far as precautions go.

“We’re very excited for our students to return,” Brabrand said.

While FCPS is still awaiting final guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Brabrand told WTOP they’re getting ready to welcome students back five days a week for in-person learning.

“Our planning assumptions include no social distancing in our classrooms,” Brabrand said.

He said virtual learning didn’t work for all students and he said in-person learning is important for some students to catch up this fall.

“Many of our students, second language students, special education students struggled, and we need to return to in-person instruction so that we can finish the unfinished learning from this past year,” Brabrand said.

He said in-person learning is important for both academic and mental health.

“Our students have missed those connections, those social and emotional connections.”

Brabrand said that almost 5,000 FCPS students between the ages of 12 and 17 were vaccinated at school-based clinics in the last few weeks of school.

He said the school system is closely watching for children under 12 to be eligible for the vaccine and will use school clinics to administer the shot if it happens.

“We’ve done school based vaccination clinics and I think they’ll be part of the mix as we approach the fall,” Brabrand said.

And when it comes to sports?

“We’re continuing to work with the Virginia High School League, but we do expect a normal season.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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