Here's what DC, Maryland and Virginia school districts have planned for the fall

(Photo by Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images)

What changes will be made for the coming school year amid the coronavirus pandemic? It's one of the major questions running through the minds of parents, teachers and children.

Schools in D.C., Maryland and Virginia are starting to lay out plans for what education will look like come fall. 

Here's what we know:



There are two models ACPS is considering for reopening on Sept. 8, 2020. One possibility is that they remain 100 percent virtual when school reopens. Another option is to create a hybrid or blended model where students attend in-person classes, but also receive instruction remotely. The final plan for the reopening of schools will be shared with the School Board Aug. 7, 2020. Full details of the final plan will be shared with the school community starting Aug. 12, 2020.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather


Arlington Public Schools has voted to change the first day of the upcoming school year from August 31 to September 8. The School Board took action on this proposal at its meeting on July 16. All students will begin the year with full-time distance learning.


The first day of school begins Sept. 8. The Fairfax County School Board developed an updated reopening plan for the upcoming school year that gives parents two options for their kids – full-time virtual instruction or at least two days of full instruction on campus each week.

On Tuesday night, however, the Fairfax County Schools Superintendent announced classes will start with all-virtual learning this fall.

If there is a resurgence of COVID-19 cases that requires a closure of schools or an individual school, all students would participate in online distance learning.

FOX 5's Evan Lambert reports that the school district plans to give the Blackboard online learning system another chance after problems earlier this year. 

FCPS officials say Blackboard and the school system have made major updates over summer. They've also tested it to make sure it can handle the number of users expected in the fall.

READ MORE: Following distance learning problems, Fairfax County Public Schools ends use of Blackboard Learn 24-7

FOX 5 has also learned the school system is working on a phased plan to eventually get students back into classrooms when they determine it's safe.

It'll move from virtual to only the most vulnerable students learning in-person in small groups, then a hybrid mix of online and in-person, before it moves to 100 percent in-person. There is currently no timeline in place.

Falls Church:

The Falls Church City Public Schools will begin the school year in fully online learning for at least nine weeks starting on August 24.

RELATED: DMV parents of students with disabilities worry about 'struggles' of distance learning


On Monday, August 10, the Fauquier County School Board voted unanimously to move to 100 percent virtual learning for the start of the school year. FOX 5's Lauren DeMarco reports that the county was the last public school system in the D.C. region holding onto a hybrid possibility.


The first day of school is Sept. 8. Loudoun will operate under a hybrid model to 100% distance learning, however, the superintendent is changing course, and is now recommending distance only to start the year. This is also what the teacher's association wants. Families indicated their selection of hybrid model or 100% distance learning.

Loudoun County School Board has approved in-person instruction for some special education students, starting on October 13. 

The length of instruction will be up to two days for children in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) through age 22 in self-contained programs with the Aligned Standards of Learning curriculum, according to a spokesperson.

RELATED: Virginia public high school football won’t be played this fall

Manassas City:

Students will operate under 100% full distance learning opening for the 2020-2021 school year. The Board will review the status of community health data monthly, with a goal to return to some form of in-person learning when it is deemed safe to do so. Additionally, the Board approved moving the start date for students to Aug. 31.

Prince William:

The Prince William County School Board unanimously (8-0) adopted a Return to Learning Plan that will have the first quarter of the school year as all virtual learning for most students. The first quarter will run for students from Sept. 8 to Oct. 30, 2020. The goal will be to transition to a 50% capacity model in the second quarter, with the option for students to remain virtual.


D.C Public Schools will begin the new school year virtually. The virtual school year will begin on Monday August 31 and will continue until November 6 for all students from pre-K to the 12th grade.



The first day of school is Sept. 1. The plan for students is to operate under a hybrid learning or fully virtual.


The Board of Education of Charles County voted Tuesday to start the school year with virtual learning for all students with a goal of moving to Phase 2 as quickly as possible. Phase 2 includes in-person instruction for special populations of students.The first day of school is Aug. 31


A vote by the Board of Education is expected on Aug. 5 for hybrid learning or fully virtual learning plans.


The school year will begin on Aug. 31 for all students. MCPS will remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester, which ends on January 29, 2021, Superintendent Jack R. Smith announced Tuesday. All fall and winter sports have been canceled. 

MCPS will provide an updated plan to the Board of Education on August 6, 2020. Phases will last two to four weeks, depending on school level, grade and age. Phases may be adjusted based on changing public health conditions and implementation experience. Details and dates will follow. 

On Friday, July 31, County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles directed nonpublic schools in Montgomery County to remain closed for in-person instruction through Oct. 1, 2020. Gayles will reevaluate the order before Oct. 1 to determine if it should be extended, terminated or amended in any way. The Health Officer Directive is effective immediately.   

Nonpublic schools are defined as any school located in Montgomery County that are not public schools, according to a news release. This includes, but is not limited to all private pay schools, schools affiliated with religious institutions, or schools that are otherwise considered to be independent schools.  

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an order on Monday overriding a Montgomery County COVID-19 restriction that would close private schools until October.

However, on August 4, Dr. Gayles issued a new Health Officer Directive and Order that continues to direct nonpublic schools in Montgomery County to remain closed for in-person instruction until at least Oct. 1, 2020. Details:

Prince George's:

Prince Georges' County will begin the school year on Aug. 31 with distance learning for all grades. Distance learning will continue through the first and second quarters with a goal to return to school buildings in February to begin the third quarter.


Howard County has planned a fully online start for the 2020-2021school year, which will begin on Tuesday, September 8, and end on Thursday, January 28, 2021. Staff will finalize and submit the HCPSS plan to the Maryland State Department of Education for approval by August 14.