UPDATE: Fairfax County shuts down schools amidst Coronavirus pandemic

FCPS gives in to the demands of the community


Tips to prevent the spread of germs posted by the FCPS Twitter.

Jack Shields, Managing Editor

Yesterday, students and parents were outraged to hear Superintendent Scott Brabrand announce that FCPS would remain open today, March 13. In a Fairfax County Health Department press conference, Brabrand claimed that there was no community spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Fairfax County, thus county officials would not issue a school shutdown.

The decision to remain open sparked widespread community backlash, especially since FCPS officials announced cancellations of all extracurricular activities, after-school programs, and community usage of school spaces until April 12.

“It’s pointless because if the whole point is to ban large events, school is a much larger event than sports are,” McLean junior Matt Duval said.

To pressure FCPS into changing the decision, parents and community members started a petition to close FCPS, and several notable public figures took to Twitter to express their frustrations with the School Board’s lack of precaution

Intense protests and added community pressure ultimately forced FCPS officials to reverse their decision, and close schools today.

“During the past several hours we continue to hear genuine concerns from parents about keeping our schools open while the coronavirus response escalates around the country,” Brabrand said in an FCPS announcement late last night. “As a result, and in an abundance of caution, I believe it is prudent for FCPS to cancel school tomorrow to help ease parent, staff, and student anxiety.”

Monday, March 16 had already been designated as a student holiday in order to give teachers to prepare for the possibility of distance learning. Although no timetable has been provided provided for FCPS cancellations beyond Monday, it seems as though the county is preparing for long-term school closures.

Neighboring counties have already announced the long-term shutdown of schools. Yesterday, Gonzaga High School announced the closure of their campus until April 13, and earlier today Arlington Public Schools declared that they would close until April 14. In light of these decisions, many community members expect FCPS to announce a long-term closure by Tuesday.