Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) presented their preliminary recommendations for the 2020-21 school year to the Fairfax County School Board on Monday, June 15, during its work session.
"There are a lot of moving parts to this plan, and much depends on how Virginia's Phase 2 and Phase 3 rollouts go," said FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand. "We are considering all of the variables; foremost are the health and safety of our students and staff members along with budget considerations and support for staff members and families."
With three potential scenarios in place, each offered different teacher-student contact time, benefits and risks. According to FCPS, considerations for fall return included the need to:
”Ensure safe learning and working environments for students and staff
Provide options for students and staff that are unable to return to school/work
Comply with any social distancing requirements from state
Address continued access and connectivity inequities
Provide staff with adequate time and training to prepare for new school year
Make decisions as soon as possible for scheduling and communication with families
Involve all stakeholder groups in the planning process.”
"We all want our schools to return to 'normal' operations and we're hopeful that will be permitted and feasible during the upcoming school year... This report also includes contingency plans should there be a resurgence of the virus in the fall at the onset of flu season or if ongoing waves of the infection occur. In those cases, we could see a return to distance learning for all students or blended learning," said Brabrand.
The final goal is to reach an agreed-upon reopening of the school plan by June 26. Aug. 25 is the first day of school. Share your thoughts on return to school by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scenario 1- Virtual Learning: No students allowed back into schools but instead continue distance learning at home with expanded digital access and curriculum. Staff would have access to the buildings for instructional purposes following health department guidelines.
Scenario 2: Reopening with Health and Social Distance Protocols in Effect: According to FCPS, "In-school instruction may be prioritized for high-needs populations such as special education students, English language learners, or students in grades K-2." Some students would be allowed in school. The plan may involve students coming to school buildings on alternating days or every day for a half-day only (AM/PM shifts). The majority of students would be served virtually. Fridays would be set aside as in-person support days for students with IEPs, English Language Learners, or other selected students in need of additional support. Busing children to school in this scenario would be a challenge.
Scenario 3: Online Learning by Need: This could be within either of the other scenarios, as well as in a "routine" return structure. It would require alternative instructional delivery for students opting out of in-school instruction. It could involve Online Campus, Virtual Virginia. Full-time online enrollment would be offered to students with documented medical needs (personal or family). FCPS is asking parents who choose to opt-out to announce that decision by July 10.
Isn't a global pandemic enough of a medical reason to keep children at home?
Until there is at least some sort of successful treatment for COVID19, we do not feel comfortable sending our child to school.
If non-disabled peers are provided opportunities for distance learning, all special education students must be provided equal opportunities; mandating that all special education students return to in-person school simply because they are disabled is discriminatory.
It's too soon to open up schools. It puts our children at risk and so many still need to be tested young and old. How can we take the lives of others and put them at risk? This is crazy!
I am hoping that the FCPS board takes into account the psychological health of the children in addition to the psychical health. For many kids, the social isolation and lack of opportunities to develop emotional-social intelligence is detrimental to their progress and mental health.