Sending back students and staff together is unsafe, Superintendent Francisco Durán told the School Board during a meeting on Thursday. For now, APS will focus on its timeline for returning staff to their buildings, he said.
Students with disabilities have been learning inside school buildings since Nov. 4. Shortly after, APS began providing learning supports — but not instruction — to additional elementary students at four schools, and “work space” programs at five high schools.
But before more students return, Durán said it is important that staff have “a buffer so they can prepare, feel confident, air any concerns with us… and acclimate to teaching from their classrooms.”
Further, he said he does not want to make promises he cannot keep regarding getting kids in the building.
“I don’t want to have to give dates that we have to take back,” he said, adding that both Fairfax County and City of Falls Church public schools have had to do just that, as the latest pandemic wave still rages.
The return-to-school schedule for staff is as follows:
- Week of Jan. 25: preschool through second-grade teachers, and all countywide teachers and staff for elementary special education programs (dates for third through fifth-grade teachers will be announced “at a later date”)
- Weeks of Jan. 25 and Feb. 1: Central Office staff
- Week of Feb. 1: secondary teachers, staff, and all countywide teachers and staff for secondary level special education programs
The first in-person School Board meeting is set to be held on Feb. 4. More information on the staff return plans will be released during the Jan. 21 meeting.
Meantime, APS will launch a COVID-19 app that allows employees and families to complete health screening questions about symptoms and exposures in multiple languages.
Temperature checks will still be completed at school, he said.
“The platform will enhance the process for reporting exposures and positive tests, to assist with the speed and efficiency of our contact tracing process,” Durán said.
He also acknowledged the “many, many times” staff requested more granular data on the number and location of cases in school buildings. Previously, staff told ARLnow that they would learn only through word-of-mouth if an outbreak occurred in their building.
Depending on the number of reported cases, COVID-19 statistics will now be broken down by building or facility, or division, he said.
“With the arrival of a vaccine in Arlington, I hope we will be turning a corner in how we manage and get through this pandemic,” the superintendent said.
Some teachers, however, have expressed concern about returning to school buildings.
“APS is not a jail system, but for the teachers who will be forced to come to work without any guarantee of safety, it is not an inappropriate comparison,” one H-B Woodlawn teacher said in an email to ARLnow. “The only reasons school statistics are not
comparable to prison statistics are because of cancellations and virtual options that have allowed teachers and students in APS to stay safe. Undoubtedly, coming back to school will result in higher infection rates in Arlington.”
“I understand there are many pressures for action from conflicting positions, but I implore them to make the choice that errs on the side of safety and a value for life,” the teacher wrote.
Meanwhile, a distance learning task force — focused on improving instruction and social-emotional learning — had its first meeting on Wednesday, Durán said. The force has 65 members, representing teachers, administrators, students and parents.
After its final meeting on Feb. 17, it will recommend specific steps to be taken “immediately,” Durán said.
High school football season is in play, but this year, fewer students in Arlington Public Schools will be in the stands cheering on their friends. That is because Arlington County…
With a full service shop, Car Care To Go does everything from oil changes to brake replacements with free valet.
In a bid to generate more visitors, Arlington Arts Center has renamed itself the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. The non-profit arts organization at 3550 Wilson Blvd in the Virginia…
Wireless services provider Federated Wireless is moving its headquarters from Ballston to Crystal City and is bringing private 5G to the area with help from developer JBG Smith.
Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!
Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!
– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!
Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above. In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?
All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).
When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM.
Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.
Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved. Join ACFCU for our Homebuying