Students in Fairfax County Public Schools will begin Distance Learning on Tuesday, March 14, in response to COVID-19. It is a historical and transformational change in education. Scott Brabrand Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools closed schools for all 189,000 students in the system beginning Friday, March 13. Ten days later, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered all schools in the Commonwealth to remain closed for the remainder of the school year.
With the announcements, teachers and administrators in the county immediately worked to shift from face-to-face education with their students to nonphysical communications instead. The website banner for Aldrin Elementary School in Reston said it all: "Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes. Announcements Distance Learning Dashboard-24/7 Log On/Coronavirus Information/@Home Learning Links." In a letter to families, Brabrand wrote, "Our Distance Learning Plan provides for students to continue learning in developmentally appropriate ways... The plan includes paper learning packets, video broadcasts, lessons/assignments and learning materials posted to Blackboard and completed individually or collaboratively, along with scheduled web chats… Please be assured that this plan was created with the understanding that some of our staff and families may face challenges participating in distance learning, and we will all need to work together in the best interest of our students.”
Viewpoints: Students, Parents, Educators Discuss Distance Learning
The Connection asked students, parents, teachers, administrators, school board members to reflect on Distance Learning before the plan kicked off. The following is what they said.