Thumbs up to the School Board for announcing the pathway for bringing kids back to school in person this year. According to the most recent update, Arlington Public Schools are on track to bring back students who need direct support this month and begin the in-person hybrid learning option in early December. After the false start this summer and a refusal to disclose specific metrics for the return, APS has a big communications hurdle to overcome over the next two months.
As parents continue to work through the logistical issues around their ongoing “home e-learning academies” and balancing their own work responsibilities, APS also put forward its proposed boundary changes for Fall 2021. According to APS, 1,400 students from Ashlawn, Science Focus, Glebe, Long Branch, McKinley, Taylor and Tuckahoe schools would be impacted, and the School Board will approve the changes December 3rd. There is no good time to finalize boundary changes, but the middle of pandemic school from home seems less than ideal.
Also of note, APS stated that the “data used in this process comes from elementary school enrollment on September 30, 2019.” First-day enrollment this fall was 911 fewer than a year ago. And APS has not yet announced the September 30th number for this year. Nothing in the announcement discussed how APS is taking into account any decrease in enrollment this September, or which schools are most impacted by it. We can only assume they believe enrollment will bounce back, but it is a question the School Board should answer before moving to a final vote.
Interested parents can join the first virtual meeting on the changes Wednesday evening and ask questions.
Thumbs up to the County Board for voting to end the sidewalk gatherings ordinance. Four members of the Board rightly recognized the ordinance as constructed was unworkable and did not continue to forge ahead anyway. The Board should consider looking for other unworkable ordinances to get rid of in the future.
Mark Kelly is a long-time Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.