What will Fairfax County schools look like this fall?

Parents are heading back to work, and their kids are chomping at the bit to get back to school. After months of research and discussion, the Fairfax County Public Schools' (FCPS) Task Force has released details about three possible scenarios facing students returning to the classroom.

While a final plan will be unveiled on June 26, the report outlines contingency plans for all possible options currently being considered for the upcoming school year.

school bus, nurse

Scenario 1: Virtual learning for all students

Simply put, this would be a continuation of what is happening now. Students in all grades would receive distance learning through video broadcasts and online assignments.

Scenario 2: In-person learning with social distancing

If students were to return to the classroom, strict social distancing guidelines would be instituted. Class size limits and lowered school bus capacity would require staggered schedules, with students attending school on certain days each week.

Adhering to a minimum of six feet between students will require flexible schedules for learners across the entire school system, at all grade levels. The workforce report goes into great detail about distancing measures, both in classrooms and on the school bus. You can see proposed diagrams that illustrate spacing assignments here.

Scenario 3: Virtual learning on a case-by-case basis for students at risk

Any students who have been exposed to COVID-19 will be offered the opportunity to receive distance learning in the upcoming academic year. This includes students who are showing symptoms themselves, anyone exposed to or living with people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

teacher, laptops

Chances are, the reality of the fall semester will include aspects of all three scenarios. If in-person classes are announced, online options will need to be available for any students who request them, given the contagious nature of COVID-19.

The task force emphasized the need for ongoing education for the teachers to maximize their distance learning skills. As any parent will tell you, participating in virtual classes is very different than going to school with your peers.

Check out the recording of the recent FCPS Town Hall, where the superintendent addresses community and student concerns:

FCPS will continue to monitor public health benchmarks such as the number of regional COVID-19 cases and any new outbreaks as they consider the upcoming fall semester. Face coverings, personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, and social distancing will all play major roles in whatever plan is adopted. Regardless of the classroom modality selected, the food services division will also address grab-and-go meal options for needy students who are unable to come to school in person.

Learn more about the FCPS task force's findings by reading their report here. You can also visit the FCPS Facebook page for updates as they are announced.

*The photos in this article are courtesy of the FCPS Facebook page.

What are your thoughts on the details so far about the return-to-school plans for Fairfax County? Sound off in the comments!