Get FCPS to use built in snow-days to go virtual and offer an online option for students

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Get FCPS to use built in snow-days to go virtual and offer an online option for students

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Maya Dulnev started this petition to Fairfax County Public Schools School Board and

In the past few weeks, the area in which Fairfax County Public Schools have jurisdiction over has seen an unprecedented rise in cases following the discovery of the omicron variant of COVID-19; the most recent and alarming development being Fairfax County reaching a 20% positivity rate and breaking records for cases recorded each day the pandemic continues. As students return from break after traveling to different states or countries—many of whom may not have time to get tested before returning to schools—schools may experience a sharp increase in cases that puts everyone at risk and disrupts learning for many. 

With this development, a large number of students are starting to grow weary of returning back to in-person school, where their peers may be wearing masks incorrectly, or insufficient measures are taken to prevent COVID in places like the lunch room. Omicron's high transmissibility makes the measures previously taken to prevent COVID-19 simply not cut it anymore. 

Additionally, in the whole county, very few OPTIONAL testing centers have been provided for ALL students, staff, and teachers. There are no requirements for teachers, staff, or students to get tested prior to their return to school, leaving the possibility that many students who are symptomatic after their return from traveling will not get tested and will come to school with COVID-19.  

We understand that the new Virginia Senate Bill 1303 legally prevents FCPS from going fully online, but there are some loopholes that FCPS can utilize to maximize safety for students, following their return from Winter Break. 

FCPS has 10 snow days built into the 2021-2022 school year, 5 of which can be used as traditional snow days, and the other 5 which can be used as "unscheduled virtual learning days." If FCPS uses these 10 days or even just 5 of them to switch to virtual learning for the days following winter break, they can prevent a dramatic increase in cases due to students returning from travel, and the new, highly-transmissible omicron variant. 

If this does not prove feasible, we ask that FCPS provides students with the option to go online, as one's safety and autonomy should lie in their own hands, not the hands of their peers. 

We ask that FCPS takes this new variant, and the concerns of their students, seriously, and uses the mechanisms that they built to help protect their students. 

 

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