FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - As school districts work to come up with plans to safely resume in-person learning in the fall, President Trump threatened on Twitter that he may have to pull federal funding from schools that don’t reopen.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos singled out Fairfax County, Virginia, in particular Wednesday, attacking its reopening plan. Local leaders are now responding.
DeVos said at a briefing, “There are some creating false paradigms for the fall. And here, right in our neighborhood, the D.C. area, Fairfax County, which is one of the most well-funded I would call it an elite public school system, in America, offered families a so-called choice for this fall. Either zero days in school for their students or two days. And their springtime attempt at distance learning was a disaster.”
Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Scott BraBrand wrote in a letter to parents, “The health and safety of our staff, our students, and our community must come before politics. We would all prefer to have a normal in-person school year. But we cannot have the same number of students in the same number of available buildings for the same amount of time and still maintain the social distancing that the CDC and other health experts say is essential to protect children and teachers from this global pandemic. We are working hard to ensure that FCPS students will receive meaningful instruction – both virtually and in-person - along with the opportunity to engage with students and staff this fall.”
Alena Yarmosky, a spokesperson for Governor Ralph Northam’s office sent FOX 5 the following statement:
“This is about public health. While Governor Northam wants nothing more than to have children back in school this fall, recent surges in other states make it clear we need to proceed cautiously. We must continue to prioritize safety—not just for students and their families, but for teachers, staff, and communities across the Commonwealth.
I would also note that the Trump administration has yet to release any comprehensive plan for reopening schools. No one—not Secretary DeVos or the President of the United States—should be playing politics.”