Caught between a rock and a hard place: Brabrand asks families for preference during back-to-school debate

After the unprecedented end to the 2019-2020 school year, a wave of uncertainty hit the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) community. While Virginia’s COVID-19 cases have been decreasing, Fairfax County remains the most affected by the virus, with more confirmed cases and deaths than anywhere else in the state.

On June 23, Superintendent Scott Brabrand provided some information on how school will begin in the fall, essentially ruling out any possibility of all students returning to physical classrooms.

In a message to parents on the FCPS website, Brabrand asked parents to choose between two options for the start of the school year on Aug. 25: either school will continue completely online, or there will be at least two full days of in-school instructions.

“Both choices will offer all students new instructional content and student work will be graded,” Brabrand said in his message. “One day each week will be set aside for teacher planning and intervention support for some students in either scenario.”

In the coming week, families will receive an enrollment letter, which they must return with their selection by July 10.

“It’s wonderful to have these options, but [they] are very different from each other and contain a lot of gray areas,” rising senior Sanjoli Jain said. “[FCPS] hasn’t given a fully structured plan as to what the two options will actually entertain. I want as much of a normal senior year as possible, but our health does come first.”