GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Even as some kids have started going back to school in the DC region, many frustrated parents, are wondering, what’s the plan, just in case the Delta variant impacts in-person learning?
Many of those parents are in Montgomery County, where school starts on August 30.
"All I see is that ‘Yeah, we are returning back to school five days a week full capacity,’ as if there is nothing that is going to happen so it is absolutely concerning," said Sarah Mir.
"I just want to know if there is a plan in place? Because I don’t want a nightmare to happen that happened back in March."
"We still don’t have a plan and then we all know that once the plan comes out, they will come out with a new plan and like how is that going to happen in three weeks before school starts?," asked Jason Makstein.
"We know how important this education is and we know important our kids are and their safety obviously is first but we don’t have a worst case scenario here, we don’t have a contingency," said Marissa Smith.
Fox 5’s Ayesha Khan contacted MCPS and spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said in an email statement:
"…yes, we are planning for those contingencies but will also continue to take direction from the county and state with regard to school closures or capacity reductions. We will be sharing our reopening plan with the community tomorrow and that will have information on operations, safety, logistics and more."
Khan also contacted Fairfax and Arlington County Public Schools.
In an email statement FCPS spokesperson Jennifer Sellers said:
"FCPS is excited to have all staff and students return in the fall for five days of in-person instruction. We believe that in-person learning is the best approach to instruction, and are focused on providing a safe and positive learning experience for all students.
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We are aware that COVID-19 case numbers are rising in Fairfax County, driven by the highly-contagious Delta variant and slowing vaccination rates. We have put layered prevention strategies in place to counter this rise. The American Academy of Pediatrics Guidance recommends a continued focus on layered prevention strategies, including universal mask wearing for all students and staff. We will be starting the school year on August 23 with universal masking in school buildings, along with other layered prevention strategies. We are confident these strategies will support a safe and healthy environment in our schools for our students and staff-- especially those who are not yet able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Eligibility for the Virtual Program was limited and based on a documented COVID-19 related health/medical need of the student. Please note that the application window for enrollment in FCPS' limited Virtual Program closed May 28."
APS spokesperson Frank Bellavia said in an email statement:
"We are committed to opening our schools for in-person learning and staying open, five days per week. We are confident in our mitigation measures and our ability to provide the safest possible learning environments in our schools. APS will continue to watch health data to stay informed of changing conditions to adapt our in-school procedures where necessary. Mitigation measures include a universal mask mandate, distancing where possible, random symptomatic and asymptomatic testing of students and requiring all staff to be vaccinated by Sept. 13 or be tested weekly.
APS, like every school division in Virginia, is required by law to provide in-person learning this fall. The only way that we shift from in-person learning is if the State requires us to."