FCPS1 Announces Return to Classrooms 4 Days a Week


On Monday, February 22nd, in a 5-0 vote, the school board voted unanimously for students to return to in-person instruction four days a week. Elementary school students from Pre-K to 5th grade will return as early as March 15th. Meanwhile, for the remainder of students, this will take effect on April 5th, right after spring break.

Based on the estimates from surveys, 80% of students will be choosing this option. Classes were previously divided into two different groups, but now they are set to rejoin all together. According to Superintendent Dr. Jeck, this decision was made in part due to the steady decline of COVID-19 cases and increasing teacher vaccinations in Fauquier County.

However, despite optimism shared amongst the school board members and parents, this plan is riddled with concerns and skepticism from some students and teachers. Some of the staff at Liberty are not enthusiastic about this decision whatsoever. One of the biggest concerns teachers have with moving forward with this plan is the failure to maintain the suggested social distancing of 6 feet.

“I am nervous because our district’s plan blatantly disregards the CDC’s requirements for 6 feet of social distancing in order to keep schools as safe as they are promised they can be in this pandemic,” said math teacher Mrs. Moyer.

Another concern that teachers have is the potential threat of catching COVID-19 and transmitting it to others at home who may face greater challenges.

“I live with and take care of an extremely high-risk elderly parent. I worry daily that I will bring the disease home and infect him,” explained English teacher Ms. Ayash.

Yearbook and journalism teacher, Ms. Miller, also shared apprehension about the number of students that will be in the building all at once.

“We do need more instructional days. My concern is that we may be overcrowding classrooms and having students too close together for safety. I am not sure this is the best idea, but hopefully we can make it work,” said Ms. Miller.

Meanwhile, the students at Liberty seem to be more excited about this decision than the teachers are. A lot of them feel that this will positively impact their schoolwork.

“I think going four days a week would be better than going to school for two days a week. I’m planning to still do it in-person because I can’t focus at home. Also, at school I can get my teachers’ help if I need it,”  said junior Kirsten Chen.

Other students remain hopeful because they will be able to spend more time with their friends, yet they understand the risks that the decision puts forward.

“I think there are a lot of benefits and disadvantages. I am going to go to school in-person. I’m a little nervous about how many people will be there, but I feel just slightly safer knowing most teachers will be vaccinated,” said freshman Julianne Carr.

Some students are pleased with the decision overall, but do not see it as realistic and think that it will later be reversed.

“I think the 4 days a week is good for some people, but it could cause more COVID-19 cases, which no one wants. I don’t really know what to expect, but I honestly don’t think this plan will last long,” said freshman Kiara Aburto.

With many people expressing feelings about this decision, most notably the students and teachers, it is safe to say that this decision was controversial. Returning to full normalcy is a desire that everyone has in common, but is now the best time to do it? Will this new plan succeed or fail? Only time will tell.