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This is Fairfax County's plan if classes must remain virtual come fall

Schools are looking at three scenarios, including starting virtually or reopening with lots of social distancing and millions of dollars in extra expenses.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax County Public Schools has had huge challenges teaching children at home during the pandemic. Now, the school board has released a new planning document looking at what to do if the crisis continues into the fall.

RELATED: FCPS’s second attempt at digital learning fails, district hires law firm to look into it

Social distancing in school could cost millions and there's a ton of uncertainty.

Desks will have spread out with only a dozen students allowed in each classroom, according to the 47-page PowerPoint presentation.

Students won't be allowed to pack on buses either, cutting school bus capacity by 50% for middle and high school students, and by two-thirds for elementary students.

The school district estimates extra nurses, custodial staff, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment could balloon the budget by more than $5 million; total costs could exceed $24-million.

But Gov. Ralph Northam said it is important to get students back in school in the fall, in part because some students simply don't have access to broadband and other technology for distance learning. 

"As soon as we can get our students back into the classroom safely, we will do that, Northam said. 

RELATED: FCPS Assistant Superintendent of IT steps down

Fairfax County Schools are considering three possible scenarios: 

Scenario one is a virtual start to the school year, with students maybe going back later. 

Scenario two would be starting the fall with students in school and social distancing. That could include alternate day schedules, with kids in school one day and learning virtually the next. 

Scenario three is some students simply being unable to return to school buildings for personal reasons.

Committees will be looking at all three and trying to figure out the best way to help students learn.

A Fairfax County Schools spokeswoman says the PowerPoint is just an initial draft, and schools will be looking for input from students and parents as they move forward.

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