FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Loudoun County and Fairfax County schools in Virginia and Frederick County schools in Maryland are using hybrid learning models to return students to the classroom on Tuesday.
Education advocates argue students need to be in school learning, but it was important to approach in-person learning with care. The school systems worked to ensure things were as safe as possible for students and staff and teachers to have what they need to be successful.
A lot of the preparation for all three school districts reopening for hybrid in-person learning includes measures that may be considered a new normal for students.
The measures included following CDC and local health department recommendations for social distancing, consistent handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and a requirement for everyone in the buildings to wear face masks.
Loudoun County Public Schools has taken safety a step further by using technology.
The school system installed thermal cameras at some entrances that can scan up to 45 people per second and can spot if someone is running a fever.
All three school districts are using a phased-in approach to get students back in the classroom.
WUSA9 talked to Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand about what could throw a wrench in their in-person learning plan and trigger a return to 100% virtual learning.
“We’re really going to be looking at the level of community transmission along with the level of school impact. The level of school impact is going to really be seen in the number of outbreaks that occur in school. If we have a significant number of outbreaks in a short period of time, that is going to give us pause,” Brabrand said.
Superintendent Brabrand added that the district would have to look back at its decision-making model and possibly return to virtual learning if COVID-19 numbers spike.
Still, he and other school leaders are hopeful to see that positivity rates are on an overall downward trend and more and more people getting vaccinated.
Another thing to note is that Fairfax County is starting a new bell schedule on Tuesday for students.
School days will now be between 9:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. every day for all students – both in-person and virtual.
Depending on where students attend school, check out their school system’s website for more details about what their hybrid learning model looks like.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Fairfax County’s plan.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Loudoun County’s plan.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Frederick County’s plan.