FCPS remains open as coronavirus spreads

Students and parents demands closing of FCPS

Superintendent+Scott+Brabrand+answers+parents%27+questions+regarding+school+shutdown+and+coronavirus+during+the+Fairfax+County+Health+Department+Press+Conference.+The+conference+was+held+on+Thursday%2C+March+14.+

Superintendent Scott Brabrand answers parents' questions regarding school shutdown and coronavirus during the Fairfax County Health Department Press Conference. The conference was held on Thursday, March 14.

Marina Qu

Fairfax County is the Virginia Health District with the most number of coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnoses–five confirmed cases as of Thursday, March 12; however, FCPS officials have not yet issued a school shutdown.

FCPS parents and community members have started a petition to close FCPS.

Fairfax County Superintendent Scott Brabrand responded to parents’ concern over student safety at the Fairfax County Health Department Press Conference held on Thursday, March 12.

“We will be open tomorrow [Friday, March 13],” Brabrand said. “We’ve consulted our local medical authorities, and we do not have community spread here in the Northern Virginia area.”

As of March 12, at least 17 cases have been confirmed in Virginia, leading Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on the same day. Loudoun County Public Schools closed on Thursday, March 12, until Friday, March 20, and all Maryland Publics schools were required to shutdown through Friday, March 27. In addition, SAT administrations on Saturday, March 14 at Yorktown High School and Palm Tree School have been cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19.

Although all cases in Fairfax County have contracted the illness through direct exposure such as travel, rather than through community spread, students and parents demanded a proactive action to shutdown schools and prevent any further spread within the Northern Virginia community.

“The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board are putting our community in grave danger by continuing to claim that our population is at low-risk for coronavirus,” School Board member emeritus Ryan McElveen said on his Twitter. “They are encouraging a false sense of complacency, ignoring science and insulting our intelligence.”

“We have been in consultation with the Fairfax County Health Department and their experts continue to assure us that the coronavirus risk in our community remains low,” Brabrand said in an email sent to the FCPS community on Thursday afternoon.

On the same email, FCPS announced cancellations to extracurricular activities, interscholastic contests, and after-school programs, along with community usage of school space and field trips starting on Saturday, March 14, until April 12.