Arlington County Reneges on In-Person Summer School Promise

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Many parents in Northern Virginia were crushed this week when they learned many students who were promised in-person learning this summer will not be given that opportunity.

Gov. Ralph Northam has said all school districts must offer expanded summer school options this year so students can catch up, but Arlington County Public Schools is telling some parents their kids can't participate.

Leo Walsh loves the two days a week he goes to school in-person.

“He can't get out of the car fast enough and to the door when I drop him off," said his father, Bryan Walsh.

Leo has an individualized education program. Arlington County Public Schools told his family he'd be eligible for in-person learning this summer to help him and thousands of other students catch up from missing so much in-person learning during the pandemic.

But this week, Walsh and thousands of other parents were told in-person learning will not be an option.

“As a parent, that's heartbreaking to have to be the one who breaks the news and walks back a promise that someone else made and that someone else is unable to keep," Walsh said.

The school district said despite offering teachers more money, there aren't enough teachers willing to work this summer to offer in-person learning to everyone who is eligible.

The Arlington Education Association, which represents teachers and staff, snapped back, saying teachers are not to blame and adding the extra money offered would not offset the costs of the teachers' childcare.

“I'm not sure how I'm going to break it to him," Walsh said.

Arlington County Public Schools is hosting two town hall events next week to address the summer school setback and discuss possible alternatives for families.

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