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Petition calls for virtual option in Fairfax schools pointing to Delta variant concern

In an online petition, some parents are demanding a hybrid model for students in the fall.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Hundreds of people have signed an online petition demanding that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offers a hybrid model for returning students in the fall. Fairfax County Public Schools plans to have students return in-person in the fall.

In a Change.org petition addressed to the Fairfax County Public Schools leadership and board members, Ritika Anand said they are concerned about the safety of students given the rise of the Delta variant and the fact that children under the age of 12 are not eligible to get a vaccine yet.

"While we understand that in-person schooling is the best option for our kids to learn and grow, safeguarding our kids during a pandemic is equally important to their wellbeing," the petition reads.

Fairfax County Public Schools will require masks to be worn at all times by students and staff indoors and on school buses to begin the 2021-22 school year, the school district announced last month, following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: Fairfax County Public Schools will require masks for all students, teachers, staff this fall

"Masks will be worn at all times by both staff and students indoors and on school buses, but are not required when eating or when outside during recess, PE, or other activities," FCPS said in its letter to parents. "Universal masking is a critical factor in ensuring all students can return to our buildings, especially when social distancing is not possible and not all our students are eligible yet for vaccinations."

RELATED: Cautious excitement: Parents voice support, concerns over school mask mandates

FCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Braband is retiring after 30 years with the district at the end of the school year. He told WUSA9 he's excited to return to in-person learning. 

"The worst of the pandemic is over. We are going to have a normal year with some layered prevention strategies to keep kids and staff safe. But we will be bringing back 99.5% of all our students to in person instruction this fall. It's super exciting," Braband said.

So far, the online petition has about 700 signatures. 

Fairfax County Public Schools has about 180,000 students.

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