Fairfax County schools are set to reopen classrooms for in-person learning this month, but thousands of teachers plan to continue working from home.
Fairfax County Public Schools plans to have students and teachers return to classrooms on February 16. However, 2,300 of the district’s 15,000 teachers many teachers will continue to instruct their classes virtually even while their students are physically present in the classroom.
Because of this, classroom monitors will be present in the classroom with children during class. So far, 645 classroom monitors have been hired, and the school district needs 205 more, Fox 5 DC reported.
The teachers who will stay home received approval for their American Disabilities Act requests submitted back in the fall before distribution of the coronavirus vaccine to Fairfax County teachers began.
School unions across the country have balked at returning to in-person classes, arguing that it is still not safe for them to return to work due to the pandemic.
However, some data suggests that fears of contracting the virus in a school setting have been overblown.
A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics offered the striking finding that among the 90,000 students and staff observed in the study who returned to in-person classes, there were zero instances of child-to-adult transmission within schools. Among the 11 North Carolina school districts that participated in the study over nine weeks, there were 773 community-acquired coronavirus cases, and an additional 32 infections were acquired in schools.
The Fairfax County public school system, which enrolls 186,000 students, will prioritize vulnerable students for in-person learning, including those with disabilities and those learning English.
The reopening plan, which will allow any student to come to school for two days of in-person classes per week by March 16, was unanimously approved by the county School Board.
“We acknowledge that no situation is risk-free, but the risks are greater in not returning students at this time,” said Fairfax Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand. “Our president has asked for this, and we must come together now.”