ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Tuesday was the first day back to public school after spring break in Arlington, Virginia.
However, in the COVID-19 era, “class” looks very different than it used to. Students are not in actual classrooms, of course, but inside of their own homes.
As the Arlington County Public Schools district moves forward with distance learning for students, administrators have announced they will no longer teach new material.
Instead, according to a letter sent to parents, students will “...focus on previously introduced learning from the first three quarters to ensure that all students have mastered key concepts."
The letter, from APS Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Bridget Loft, says, "As part of our commitment to ensuring equity of access to new learning for all students, concepts that students would have normally learned during the fourth quarter will be introduced in September, at the start of the 2020-2021 school year."
FOX 5 spoke with Loft via FaceTime, who said the fourth quarter material is generally lighter anyway, due to end-of-year testing.
Loft said the school district plans to cover most of the missed coursework in September, then launch into material pertaining to the new school year in October.
While she recognizes the enormous emotional impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on children, Loft says she’s confident they will catch up academically.
“We are so fortunate in Arlington to have really bright kids who are ready to learn and teachers who are professional and creative when faced with a pandemic, I think that when we come out the other side, we’re going to find that our kids will have done just fine,” said Loft.
However, one APS parent who spoke with FOX 5, said she was concerned about some students being left behind.
Moga Metsi explained, “You have different learning levels for children. There are children who are slow learners, there are children who are much more advanced and for slow learners who really depend on an instructor to be able to help them constantly, it’s not easy. I know teachers are available to be able to clarify some of the things, but it’s not the same.”
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With students out of class, all across the region, and the country, each school district is finding its own way to navigate the pandemic and most of the schools are attempting distance learning for the first time.
Most school districts are not grading students on their work and Arlington is not alone in simplifying its material.
Other administrators tell FOX 5, their coursework also will focus on mastering those previously learned concepts.