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Northern Virginia parents protest local districts’ decisions to keep schools closed

Several Northern Virginia school districts are starting the year through 100 percent distance learning.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Dozens of Northern Virginia families protested in Fairfax County today to let their school districts know they want their kids back in the classroom.

“I have two children, one who has autism, and he has been severely affected by this shutdown. Our special needs children need to be in schools, they cannot learn on the computer,” one Fairfax County Public School mother said.

This week both Fairfax County Public Schools and Loudoun County Public Schools voted to start the 20-21 school year with 100 percent distance learning.

Here's a list of school districts in Virginia that plan to move all-virtual for the start of the 2020-2021 school year:

  • Manassas City Public Schools
  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Arlington County Public Schools
  • Prince William County Public Schools
  • Loudoun County Public Schools

FCPS said the decision to start virtually was a result of worsening national and regional health conditions.

“This was not an easy decision, but after reviewing the best available health data and continuing to gather input from teachers, staff, students, and families, we have determined that full-time online instruction is the only safe option at this time,” FPCS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in his Message from the Superintendent. “The pandemic looks much different now than it did even three weeks ago.”

RELATED: Fairfax County will begin 2020-2021 school year with 100% virtual learning

Earlier this summer Fairfax county parents were surveyed by the district on how they would like their child to return to school.

Credit: WUSA
FCPS parents voted in a district-issued survey on how they would like their child to return to school.

Students and teachers had to submit their preferences to the district by July 15, choosing between a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning and 100% distance learning. FCPS said they had an 85% response rate from students and 92% response rate from teachers. The school district said 60% of students opted for in-person learning, while only 48% of teachers were in favor of in-person instruction.

“This is not education. He's not receiving the services that he deserves,” one FCPS mother said of her son with autism. “He needs to be in school now. Open up Fairfax County.”

Credit: WUSA
Parents and students lined the roadway Saturday morning calling for schools to open.

Loudoun County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Prince William County Schools have all said they hope to implement a hybrid model of learning later in the year.

RELATED: Loudoun County Public Schools will be 100% virtual learning for start of 2020-2021 academic year

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