Arlington County Public Schools will delay in-person learning for elementary students who were set to head back into schools next week amid rising COVID-19 cases in the area.
Superintendent Francisco Durán told parents Monday night that elementary students will continue online learning through at least December. Level 2 of the school district’s hybrid, in-person learning plan was set to begin Nov. 12. Select students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade would have headed back into schools.
Durán cited safety and staffing concerns.
“Moving too quickly to Level 2, while [coronavirus] case levels are still rising, represents a safety risk and could cause further disruption to schedules,” he wrote. "[...] This decision allows us to carefully monitor the effective implementation of all CDC mitigation strategies, while continuing to solidify staffing plans and capacity for Level 2 students.”
Level 1 will begin Wednesday as planned, with 236 students with disabilities getting “in-person distance learning support.”
A parent group pushing for a safe return to in-person learning criticized the decision.
“At some point, we have to learn to live in a world where Covid exists AND children are allowed to attend school. There is no such thing as a zero-risk environment for anything,” Arlington Parents for Education said in a statement. “Arlington’s children will feel the effects of this decision for years to come."
D.C. Public Schools also announced Tuesday that they would drop plans to bring some elementary students back into classrooms next week. The chancellor also cited concerns about safety and staffing.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.