https://wjla.com/news/local/fcps-return-to-school-timeline-not-tied-to-vaccinations

UPDATED, 5:25 p.m., February 2:

The school board in Virginia’s largest county has approved a return-to-school plan that phases in limited in-person learning in all grades over the next six weeks. Fairfax County Public Schools, the nation’s 10th biggest school district, has been almost exclusively virtual since March. At a worksession Tuesday, the school board voted unanimously to endorse a plan that returns kindergartners to in-person learning on Feb. 23 and all grades by March 16. Parents can still opt to have their kids taught virtually. Those who choose in-person learning will receive a mix of in-person and virtual learning. The vote in favor of a return to in-person learning comes despite opposition from some teacher unions.

The final vote will come at Thursday’s school board meeting.

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Our earlier story follows.

Fairfax County Superintendent Scott Brabrand is presenting the school board with yet another back-to-school plan on Tuesday afternoon. It calls for all students to return two days a week, with two days of virtual learning.

At the work session, school leaders will also provide updates on health information, teacher vaccines, staffing plans, and guidance on reopening from the Virginia Department of Education.

Fairfax County Public Schools leaders said the return to school timeline is not tied to vaccinations, but it is a major factor in any back-to-school plan.

The latest plan would bring Group 1-4 students back on February 16th, then phase in other groups through March 16, 2021.

It is not clear when the school board will vote on the plan.

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School leaders said five days of in-person instruction is not possible because they do not have enough space to socially distance every student. The plan allows schools to return to virtual learning if COVID-19 cases or staffing shortages require it.

Decisions to move schools or classes to virtual learning will be made by the superintendent’s leadership team, in consultation with the Fairfax County Health Department.

Many parents, including a grassroots, nonpartisan group of parents called OpenFCPS, are calling on school leaders to return students to school immediately.

But the teacher unions have been calling on FCPS to pump the brakes on the back to school plan to allow staff to be fully vaccinated.

The school district and the health department teamed up with Inova to start vaccinating staff on January 16th.

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90% of FCPS’ 25,000 staff members scheduled appointments, but they were delayed on January 25th because of the national vaccination shortage.

The clinic re-opened for staff starting January 29th through January 31st but temporarily closed again because of the recent snowy weather.

So far more than 18,000 doses have gone to FCPS staff members. The goal is to ensure all staff who want vaccinations have access as supply becomes available.

FCPS sent a survey to staff on Sunday to get their feedback on the vaccinations and the return to school, but the results have not yet been made public.

You can find FCPS’ full back-to-school presentation here.

ABC7 will have full coverage of the meeting starting this afternoon at 4 p.m.

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