Fairfax County parents reacting to school district's plan to return to classroom

Fairfax County Public Schools’ parents are reacting to the district’s robust plan for students to return to school this fall. The plan includes students back in the classroom five days a week.

The school district says low COVID-19 transmission countywide for the first time since March 2020 is fueling the push to get back in the classroom.

A meeting was held at Fairfax County Public Schools headquarters Tuesday evening to discuss the matter. FOX 5 is told the return to school plan will mirror pre-pandemic times.

Several factors going into these decisions including scores of students who have received the COVID-19 vaccination.

The school district says nearly 4,600 students have received vaccines with nearly 56 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds receiving the first dose countywide, and 72 percent of those 18 years and older receiving the first dose countywide.

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At the school board meeting the return to school plan was discussed including requiring face masks indoors for everyone including those who are fully vaccinated. Face masks will also be required outdoors on campus for those who are not fully vaccinated and optional for those who are fully vaccinated. Social distancing requirements will be dropped.

FOX 5 spoke with an FCPS parent who has been pushing for the school district to reopen but expressed apprehension about the district’s plan.

"I’m not even convinced that what we saw on paper today in their slides in actually what’s going to happen in the fall…what actually happens in August when we open," mom Christy Hudson said.

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There will be a virtual learning option, but only for students with approved medical reasons and so far out of 459 requests to continue distance learning, 307 have been approved.

More than 5,000 students left Fairfax County Public Schools during the coronavirus pandemic, opting for private school or homeschooling only about 26 percent are returning this coming school year.

Summer school is taking place and some considering it a test run. The summer enrollment across all grades including special needs students is just under 21,000.  

The school district provided this statement:

"5633 students who left FCPS this year for the following three reasons only—to home school, to private (non religious ) school or to private religious school. Of those returning, we have in each respective category-31%, 29% and 15%. And our recruitment and outreach efforts with those families that left are continuing. We singled out those three categories as they were the top three reasons people left during the pandemic."