WARRENTON, Va. - Monday meant welcoming back 70 percent of the kindergarten through 12th-grade students in Fauquier County, the latest to take a shot at in-person learning even as COVID-19 cases rise in the region.
Superintendent Dr. David Jeck tells FOX 5 the school system can do in-person learning safely.
Social distancing on buses and in classrooms, along with masks, are requirements.
"These kids need to be in school so it's a balancing act. You have to find that middle ground and for us it's been taking a conservative approach to the number of kids in class and on buses and requiring masks at all times and then on the other hand making sure we're providing a virtual format for students," said Dr. Jeck.
"She wanted to go back to school. She’s excited for it. She wanted to see her friends and it’s hard for her doing it at home," said parent Shanna Estep.
Thirty percent of families chose to stay in an all-virtual enviroment.
Dr. Jeck says the reopening plan had significant buy-in from teachers. Only about 20 of nearly 1,000 teachers took a leave of absence or resigned rather than return to in-person teaching. The district also accommodated nearly 60 teachers to teach only virtual classes.
The school district is creating a matrix that would tell leaders if and when a return to all-virtual learning is required if there are significant outbreaks.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, new cases of COVID-19 are averaging 6.9 per 100,000 in Fauquier, significantly lower than in other counties closer to DC.Nearby Prince William County Schools plan to open for in-person learning for its youngest students on Tuesday.