Students alter learning decision as return-to-school nears

When junior Zimraan Sadeque was posed with the question of whether or not to attend in-person school back in July, he hoped he would eventually get the chance for full weeks of in-person instruction.

Sadeque is one of many students who – despite originally planning to return to in-person – decided to switch to remaining virtual for the remainder of the school-year, but not because he questioned the safety of in-person learning. Sadeque changed his preference because he said he believes schools are not offering enough in-person education.

  “I thought that we would eventually go to [school] five days a week,” Sadeque said. “ I switched because I would still be in online school two days a week even if I went in-person.”

While a student originally wanting five days in-person opting for all-virtual is unorthodox, Sadeque said he fears the transition when students eventually return to the building.

“I had already adjusted to online school,” Sadeque said. “Adjusting to in-person again would take a while as it is different than [in] previous years and is only half of the week.”

The current return to school plan has students in the second half of the alphabet, such as Sadeque, asynchronous on Mondays, virtual on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and in-person on Thursdays and Fridays.

“[Social factors] impacted my decision when I wanted to go back,” Sadeque said. “But since the days are organized by last name you would not be interacting with that many people.”

While Sadeque will no longer be participating in the hybrid model, he said he is still optimistic it will help lead to a return of the five day a week, in-person instruction.

“Although [the hybrid model] is not perfect, I think it’s a good start, and will help us transition back and hopefully have full [weeks] next year,” Sadeque said.

FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand has said at school board meetings that five days a week instruction will begin next fall at the very earliest, which would be 17 months after COVID-19 shut down schools last March.