|A proposed classroom layout showing how social distancing could work. [FCPS]|
The school board on June 23 agreed to give families a choice among two options on how they return to school:
- Full-time online face-to-face instruction four days a week, with one day set aside for specialized instruction.
- Or two full days of instruction in school each week with social distancing protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and virtual learning on the other days.
FCPS asked parents and employees to choose one of the options by July 10, to give school administrators enough time to plan virtual and in-class schedules.
The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, Association of Fairfax Professional Educators, and the Fairfax Education Association are calling on the school system “to work with union leadership to develop much more detailed, clear, and concise implementation plans for both scenarios well in advance for employees and families.”
The unions urge FCPS to continue with virtual learning until there is adequate information to make informed decisions about returning to face-to-face instruction. When finalizing its plan, they call on FCPS to “prioritize health expertise, educator voice, access to protection, and a focus on equity.”
Related story: Fairfax County school officials provide more details on return-to-school alternatives
Fairfax Education President Kimberly Adams said in-school learning should not occur until a vaccine or treatment is widely available for COVID-19.
“Our educators are overwhelmingly not comfortable returning to schools. They fear for their lives, the lives of their students, and the lives of their families,” said Tina Williams, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers. “Due to FCPS’s lack of consistency and transparency, we encourage our members to continue with distance learning to keep our community safe.”
According to a survey conducted by FCPS, 51 percent of families said they were comfortable or highly comfortable sending their children back for in-school instruction with social distancing, and 42 percent indicated they were likely or highly likely to select full-time online enrollment.
Eleven percent of staff said they were highly comfortable, and 32 percent said they were comfortable returning to school with social distancing in place.
Twenty-six percent of staff said they were uncomfortable and 17 percent were highly uncomfortable returning to school. Fourteen percent didn’t know how they feel.