Fairfax County Public Schools to allow small groups for in-person learning starting next month

Tonight, we’re following up on Fairfax County’s plan to bring small groups of students back into classrooms next month.

A few school board members say the plan doesn’t go far enough and they’re pressing to find out what metrics school leaders are using to determine how many kids can come back –– but those numbers are hard to come by.

READ MORE: Fairfax County school board votes to bring thousands of students, hundreds of staff back to school in October

FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis asked Fairfax County Public Schools exactly what data is the determining factor to bring more students back into school buildings on Wednesday.

FCPS shared which set of metrics they look at but would not say the actual numerical threshold they want to hit.

For example, school leaders consider the following:

● case incident rate (per 100,000)
● percent positivity
● rate of COVID outbreak (per 100,000)

They would not say the target numbers for any of those metrics. 

The Virginia Department of Education says the decisions are being made at the local level by local school boards informed by guidance from the CDC, VDH, and VDOE.

The current proposal that passed includes bringing back more than 6,700 students and 600-plus teachers.

The first students with the option to return to the classroom would include younger students with autism, other special needs students, those learning English, and high schoolers taking career and technical classes.

FCPS board member Megan McLaughlin was one of three board members who voted against that plan. She says it doesn’t go far enough, while community reaction is mixed.

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One piece of concrete information FCPS would give is this: if one student tests positive, that class would return to 100 percent virtual learning for at least 14 days. 

The isolation period could be expanded to other students and staff based on contact-tracing.

Arlington County Schools says it will announce its initial in-person plan on Thursday.

Alexandria City Schools say they will make a decision on October 15 regarding any changes to their current virtual model,.