Arlington Public Schools delay in-person learning until 2021 for younger students; parents react

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — The superintendent of Arlington Public Schools announced that pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students will not be returning to in-person learning in 2020 after all. 

“I know that the community is divided regarding the appropriate time to transition all students for in-person learning. We are weighing a variety of factors and using the latest health data, guidance, and operational considerations to inform our decisions. Throughout the country, we continue to see many schools open and then close again. Pausing for the remainder of 2020 allows us to carefully monitor the effective implementation of all CDC mitigation strategies and how Level 1 students are doing in-person while continuing to solidify staffing plans and capacity for larger groups of elementary, middle, and high schools students in Levels 2 and 3.”

APS Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán

The decision comes after a spike in coronavirus cases in Virginia. 

However, the planned level one return for students with disabilities began today as scheduled, with 236 students attending in-person. The superintendent said he paused the level two return to prevent cases from spiking and to monitor how the level one return to school goes.

However, some parents do not agree with the decision. Arlington Parents for Education, a group that supports the return to school, said that a safe return in person is possible. 

Caroline Knox Burns, a parent who recently withdrew her child from APS and into private school, said that the school should be asking how students and parents are handling virtual learning.

“We feel that Arlington public schools is only focused on one part of the picture, which is just this one risk of COVID. The school board is literally asking zero questions about kids and how the virtual learning is going for them,” said Burns. “When you look at all the variables and you weigh them, it’s clear that in-person education is better and even can be done safely.”

The original back to school plan was set to be enacted on Nov. 12th. 

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