Schools to return to five-day in-person this fall

FCPS releases major decision in their return to school plan


Polina Zubarev

NAVIGATING NORMALCY – FCPS School Board hosts a work session on March 16 to discuss their return to school plan. They decide on a 5-day in-person plan for the coming school year.

Aleena Gul, News Editor

As part of their return to school plan, FCPS Superintendent Scott Braband and the FCPS School Board announced to have 5-days in-person learning starting Fall 2021.

According to FCPS, the current return to school strategy, “safe, steady, ready,” has successfully limited COVID-19 transmissions as more than 109,000 students returned to school.

“We have shown that we can return our students and staff to our buildings in a way that is safe and steady,” Brabrand said in an FCPS statement on March 16. “We are confident that we can deliver on a five-day return for all students in the fall, knowing that, while we can adapt to any situation, in-person learning really is the best option for our students and staff.”

In preparation for next year, several mitigation guidelines will be enforced and others have been updated. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed social distancing guidelines in schools from six feet to three feet as long as there is proper ventilation in the classroom.

“If they mandate the 3 feet [social distancing] now, then I would be concerned, but next school year when hopefully the situation gets better and a lot of people are vaccinated, then I think it won’t be as bad,” junior Cheryn Hong said. “I think we will all return to school sometime in the fall maybe with masks on so I think it will be okay. But for now, I think people should still stay 6ft apart.”

In addition to health concerns, the shift to 5-day learning has generated diverse responses from students and parents.

“I don’t really mind five days in-person. I’ve done it for 11 years before so I think it’s fine, but I would’ve preferred to have a four-day school week,” junior Naveen Patury said. “I understand why FCPS sees a five-day in-person plan as better, though, due to some parents not being able to provide adequate care to their children on Mondays.”

While some parents are concerned that this plan may not fulfill its promises and are urging an immediate return, others emphasize the importance of protecting students and their families’ health.

“FCPS is trying to keep students and people safe,” said a parent on Twitter. “We can’t just make students go in-person for the sake of education. Safety and health is the top priority at this point. Nobody deserves to get COVID-19 nor any disease at all. We should all accept what we have.”

Despite the long wait, many students and teachers are excited to head back into class. In-person learning fosters an environment for students to comprehend material easily and teachers are delighted to see and interact with their students.

“I think just coming back to school doing concurrent learning, I see such a value in having students in-person and it really does help me a lot to be able to see their understanding,” math teacher Emily Fifer said.

Along with quality education, students are ready to return to normal learning during these unprecedented times.

“Being in person and having a sense of normalcy would just be a big relief,” Patury said. “For like a year now, life has been so different and I crave for how it was pre-COVID times. I feel by returning to school in the fall, I might finally get my first sense of normalcy since all of this started.”