APS parents rally for more in-person instruction

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Many Arlington County Public School parents are fed up with how the return to in-person instruction has been handled by the school board, leading them to head out to rally and make a statement, hoping for a change in the final eight weeks of the school year.

For over an hour on Thursday night, parents and students stood outside the APS Syphax Education Center, passing around a microphone to express their frustrations.

“The school board and APS act like two days of school a week are mission accomplished. There is a complete lack of initiative or any urgency to get these children and the children of Arlington county more in-person time, more than what the bare minimum the governor has required,” said one parent.

APS parent Miranda Turner is running for a seat on the school board and spoke during the rally, “Let’s focus on getting back to the classroom, as normal, for the fall, our kids in the building, off of the screens, prioritizing our children and not putting them second.”

Students even opened up about virtual learning challenges.

“My favorite days are Friday and Thursday because you get to go into school and see all of your friends, and I personally do not want to be sitting on an iPad for two days,” said one student.

Several parents expressed deep disappointment with the school district.

“What I have seen these past fourteen months in Arlington is some of the most saddest, and most derelict leadership I have seen in my entire life,” explained a parent.

APS said they’re planning for five-day instruction for summer and fall classes and they have already brought back special needs students for in-person instruction four days a week.

APS spokesperson, Frank Bellavia, said in a statement, “We currently have countywide special needs students back four days a week and beginning May 3, PreK will be 4 days a week as well. Since the distancing in classrooms was reduced to 3 feet on March 19, we have actively worked to admit more students in the current model and have expanded in-person instruction for nearly 1,000 students so far in April with many more being admitted next week.”

The school district is currently surveying families for the 2021-2022 school year. Families have the option to select five-day in-person instruction or five-day virtual instruction. The survey will be open until April 30. To complete the survey, click here.

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