Virginia schools discuss plan for fall classes

School districts around the D.C. region continue to make plans for what classes will look like in the fall.

All are weighing several options and all include continued distance learning as a possibility. The conversation is happening right now, but concrete plans may not be in place until the last minute.

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There’s a lot of work between now and then is how one administrator described it all. School administrators say they have to wait and see what happens with coronavirus cases in our area. 

In Prince William County, administrators have drawn up plans for schools to continue remotely.

Loudoun County Public Schools is weighing three options: Reopen as usual, reopen with physical distancing and health mitigation strategies, or continue distance learning.

Meanwhile, Fairfax County Public Schools is also weighing three options: continue distance learning, reopen with social distancing,  or a combination of both.

“I think they should go back to school. They need their friends to develop more. We’re going to have to learn to live with the virus. We have to develop immunity,” said Claudia Martinez, a Woodbridge resident.

“It’s okay to have grace, it’s okay to have patience and it’s okay that your homeschool doesn’t look like the public school,” said Robin Warner who has homeschooled her children since before the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think they should have a choice. They can choose distance-learning or have their kids go back to school. I think there should be a choice,” said Tish Asphy, a Woodbridge resident.

Alexandria City Public Schools says it’s in the process of drawing up five different plans that can be implemented quickly depending on the scenario the area faces at the start of the school year.

Arlington County Public Schools shared three possible scenarios — go back to school on time but with strict social distancing, a combination of in-classroom and virtual instruction, or complete online learning.

Stafford County Public Schools says they’re awaiting further guidance.

Surely parents are anxiously waiting to learn more.

Several administrators acknowledge continued distance learning could present a challenge for parents returning to work.

“We want to do everything we can to provide some choice for parents and families as we’re making these decisions. We absolutely understand the tension that exists for reopening school and the need for families to go to work and make a living so we’re mindful of all that while maintaining our priority of keeping students and staff safe,” said Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand.

Prince William County Public Schools says if distance learning were to continue in the fall, the district would secure additional digital devices for students and adopting the Canvas Learning Management System to make it much simpler for students and parents at home to go to a single place for all of their learning.