Statement from Chairman Regarding Virtual Opening of Schools

We are six weeks away from the September 8, 2020 reopening of our schools. I’m writing to you again to provide an update on the future reopening of our public schools.

As a reminder to our city residents, the City of Fairfax Schools contracts with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) to provide instructional services to our City students. There is a five member City school board and a City Schools staff. Together, we advocate for our schools’ needs and collaborate with our vendor, FCPS, under the School Services Agreement

Regularly our Board and staff members communicate with FCPS Board and staff to share concerns, exchange information, and to calibrate/re-calibrate our collective commitments. Over the past five months, our conversations have centered on health, safety, and the return to school. 

 Yesterday FCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand announced his recommendation for all FCPS schools to go to four day 100% virtual learning to begin the school year, aligning with surrounding districts. It is unfortunate that not all avenues were exhausted and funds were not available to try to provide the two day option that many of our parents requested for their children earlier this month. In addition, I am disappointed there could not be a priority on our youngest learners, special education students and English learners who I feel need in person instruction to fully thrive. I am advocating these students be phased in as soon as possible. My hope is that FCPS will be flexible to bring these and all students and faculty back when the health data indicates it is safe.

The health data notes that children appear to be less affected by this pandemic as others, but I also know that school leaders need to consider the impact on our staff and our community at large. The numbers in our area are not moving in the direction we were hoping and FCPS does not feel it has enough resources to successfully implement an in-person option that would keep our community safe. I do support Dr. Brabrand, the FCPS Board and the FCPS staff on their tireless work in this unprecedented time. I know his decision comes from working with health providers on what is best for Northern Virginia.

I continue to be in regular contact with members of the FCPS Board and our staff is working with FCPS staff during these rapidly changing circumstances. If you would like to provide your thoughts or opinions, please do not hesitate to reach out and email us at SchoolBoard@FairfaxVa.gov