DC-Area School Districts Eye Staggered Schedules for Fall

Here’s where we are Wednesday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area, and how our lives continue to be changed

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School districts in the D.C. area are weighing their options for how students can safely return to classrooms in the wake of the coronavirus. 

Draft plans in D.C. and Fairfax County show that officials are considering staggered schedules, major increases in cleaning and classes on Saturdays. 

D.C. Public Schools are considering three scheduling options, News4 reported. The first option would have students at school for one assigned day per week, with virtual learning for four days. The second option would have students at school for two assigned days per week, with virtual learning for three days. The third option would have students in schools for a full week every third week. 

Fairfax County Public Schools are looking at alternate-day schedules and spending millions more on cleaning. They may allow just one child on every school bus seat, which would require hiring more bus drivers and sending more buses out onto roads. 

Fairfax County Public Schools is among the first area school districts to release details of potential changes in the fall. Scott MacFarlane reports.

Here’s where we are Wednesday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area, and how our lives continue to be changed. 

More than 81,000 people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have been diagnosed with the virus. At least 3,451 people have died. Go here to see more data in detail

Families of people who lived at a nursing home in Laurel and died of the virus are concerned about COVID-19 cases there. Forty-two of the 105 residents of Patuxent River Health & Rehabilitation Center have been diagnosed with the virus, the facility said. Seven residents have died.

“Every time I open my email, I’m afraid to read it because there’s another resident that has passed,” said the stepdaughter of a resident who died. 

Family members are asking questions after a number of residents have died at one Laurel nursing home. Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins spoke with a staff member who says they are right to be concerned, because it’s been a struggle to fight COVID-19 there.

People in our region have received scam text messages that purport to be from virus contact tracers. If you receive such a message, don’t click on the link, which could be hazardous to your phone and personal information. Real contact tracers could send you a text but it likely would tell you that someone will call you. They won’t send links and won’t ask for your Social Security number or bank account info. 

It's the job of contact tracers to call people who may have been exposed to coronavirus and give them a warning. But how do you know it's a legitimate call? News4's Jummy Olabanji shares how to avoid coronavirus scams.

Some Fourth of July celebrations in the area are already canceled. Rockville canceled an event that usually draws about 30,000 people. Manassas Park won’t have fireworks. And the Foo Fighters scrapped plans for a music festival at FedExField. 

And now something sweet: A D.C. program that helps children learn to read through the use of therapy dogs has moved its popular offerings online amid the pandemic. Kids are reading to dogs via Zoom. The mother of an 8-year-old who loves the program said she thinks it’s helping him. 

Reading to dogs helps many kids get more comfortable with reading because dogs aren't judgmental about mistakes. News4's Juliana Valencia takes a look at a local program that's gone virtual amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dogs are not critical when kids make mistakes. So, I think it helps give them confidence, and it’s also a lot of fun,” she said. 

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