Some Fairfax County students were set to return to in-person learning on Tuesday but the school district said Monday afternoon that the plan needed to change.
As COVID-19 cases surge, Fairfax County Public Schools will delay bringing back early HeadStart, pre-K and kindergarten students, plus some students who receive special education services.
Coronavirus cases in the community exceed the threshold for expanding in-person learning, Superintendent Scott Brabrand told parents.
“We made this decision as soon as new health metrics were released and are communicating it to you immediately as promised. We always anticipated the need to potentially adjust our return to school plans as necessary during this ongoing pandemic,” he said in a letter.
Group 5 will remain virtual until at least through November.
Falls Church City Public Schools announced Tuesday that they will temporarily “pause” in-person learning for the week of Thanksgiving. “This will be for next week only and [we] will continue to monitor the data,” a letter to parents said.
Before FCPS made their announcement, leaders from several Northern Virginia teacher associations demanded that Gov. Ralph Northam take these decisions away from local school districts and keep all students fully virtual for now.
“Governor Northam must provide leadership for our schools in addition to the guidance he has given to our businesses and public spaces,” said Kimberly Adams, president of the Fairfax Education Association.
In a tense snapshot of the sharp divisions on the topic of reopening schools, a man not wearing a face mask approached Adams as she spoke and yelled that schools need to reopen.
“So many kids are being left behind because teachers are refusing to do their jobs,” he said. “Shameful! Ridiculous!"
Staff asked him to leave, which he did before police arrived.
Teachers association leaders continued their push for the governor to step in. On Monday, tighter restrictions went into effect for restaurants, bars and public gatherings. The restrictions did not include schools.
Northam told News4 that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t make sense. For now, teachers and students continue to adapt to regular change and a most unusual school year.