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Fairfax County School Board Delays Start of School Year to After Labor Day

Students in Fairfax County public schools will get two more weeks of summer vacation.

The Fairfax County School Board approved the superintendent’s proposal to wait to start school after Labor Day.

The school board voted yesterday (Thursday) to push the return date for students from Tuesday, Aug. 25, to Tuesday, Sept. 8, according to a press release from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

The two-week delay will give staff more time to prepare for online and hybrid learning — especially since the deadline was extended for parents to pick which learning option they want.

Parents have until Wednesday, July 15, to indicate whether they want their kids to take classes fully online or a combination of in-person and online learning for the entire upcoming school year.

In a newsletter today, Melanie Meren, who represents the Hunter Mill District on the school board, said that she was originally not in favor of the pushed start date, but changed her mind.

“I reconsidered after I learned that school principals and directors of student services expressed concerns about the time that they will need to turn around the enrollment data from parents and build the master schedules associated with the two options,” Meren said in the newsletter.

Now, Meren said that the new plan will help support “the quality of the learning experience.”

The school board’s vote only affects students’ return — staff will still follow the original schedule, allowing additional days to prepare. Meren noted that staff will receive professional development opportunities, like socio-emotional supports, along with training for the new curriculum and technology during the two weeks before school starts.

In response to queries about why online learning can’t start in August, Meren said that having the two school systems on different schedules “is not feasible.”

Photo via Element5 Digital/Unsplash

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