FCPS families question four-day instruction plans


FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Many parents had questions after Fairfax County Public School’s superintendent, Dr. Scott Brabrand, announced some students will be eligible to return to the classroom for four days a week instead of two days starting this week.

The root of the confusion stemmed from some school principals telling FCPS families they could not accommodate four-day instruction, according to parent organization “Do Better FCPS.”

“Personally, I’ve already received an email from our principal saying that she does not feel like it’s going to be possible to go to four days a week,” said Sue Zoldak, founder of Do Better FCPS and parent of a middle school student at FCPS.

Zoldak told WDVM some schools might not be able to open for four-day instruction because they don’t have enough space in the cafeteria to social distance students while they eat. FCPS assistant superintendent, Michelle Boyd, confirmed the space issue during a town hall on Wednesday.

“We also know that physical space and the setup of classrooms and buildings varies by school and also staffing capacity might vary by school. So, we know that dynamic is not something that’s going to be universal,” explained Boyd.

Many parents are left weighing the pros and cons of students returning to school.

“What is the bigger problem at this point? Right? The risks of the children eating closer together or the risks that these children are lost?” stated Zoldak.

Some families still don’t know if their students can have access to four-day instruction. Brabrand said they’re working out the logistics

“Part of our challenge is all of the logistics involved in the thousands and thousands of kids that we are bringing back in person,” he said.

Students identified in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) process with the greatest learning challenges will be offered four-day instruction this week and next. Then, FCPS will bring in some students whose families identified a preference for in-person instruction, since the fall, during the week of April 20.

On Wednesday during the town hall, Boyd and Brabrand discussed how COVID-19 cases fell to the “substantial” range from the “high” range. With the drop in cases, FCPS could possibly bring more middle and high school students in person now that the CDC recommends three feet of social distancing in schools instead of six.

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