A FCPS Fall Return Unlike Years Past

Fauquier County Public Schools (FCPS) will be returning to classroom instruction through a blended model.

Catherine Smith, Advertising Manager & Social Media Director

Fauquier County Public Schools (FCPS) will not be returning to school in the fall like years past. As the start date for schools approaches, school districts all over America face new obstacles in reopening. With Virginia still in phase three of Governor Ralph Northam’s five layer plan to reopen the state, there were many factors for the FCPS school board and Superintendent David Jeck to consider. 

Fauquier High School hosted a school board meeting from 6pm – 8pm on Monday, July 13 to determine how FCPS will start this fall. After a previous meeting on June 29, the school board asked Jeck to send out another survey to parents and teachers “to hear from constituents relative to what was being proposed.” said Jeck, in the July 15 video release update. According to data from a survey sent to FCPS parents, the majority preferred a four day in-school nstruction model. 

At the meeting, parents explained this preference, listing reasons including inadequate internet or cell service, concerns for student’s mental and emotional health, the support for those with disabilities/special needs and inability to provide educational support at home. These parents urged the school board to consider the four day plan, if not reopen for five day instruction with an option for 100 percent online learning.

The final unanimous decision was a blended model revised from the original proposal by Jeck in the June 29 meeting. The new model runs on an AA/BB day schedule starting August 24 and ending on June 4.

The AA/BB day schedule will split the students of FCPS alphabetically, Group A receiving face-to-face instruction on Monday and Tuesday and Group B receiving face-to-face instruction on Thursday and Friday. Both groups will learn remotely the remaining three days. Wednesday will also be used for teacher planning, remote support for students and additional cleaning.  

 Masks will be required and teachers will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Social distancing will be enforced, but Jeck admitted he is aware students will struggle to remain six feet apart at all times. Sanitation stations have been added to schools, and thermometers have been ordered as a precaution.

Jeck requested all instructional material completed with or without the internet and project based as much as possible. Students still have the option to do 100 percent virtual learning through Virtual Virginia, a distance-learning program from the Virginia Department of Education (VDE) offering online courses with the flexibility to meet schools’ and students’ varied schedules, and can switch at any time. 

The goal is to move to the four day instruction model at the end of the first quarter, October 20, if cases are decreasing. Otherwise, schools will continue the current blended model. If the spread of the virus continues to worsen, schools will revert to 100 percent virtual learning. The school board plans to meet weekly with health experts and share updates with parents.

See additional information released by Jeck.