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February 23, 2021

Most students will return to classrooms 4 days a week

It’s very exciting. About 80 percent (of students) are coming back . . . . But the worst thing that could happen is that we let our guard down.
— Superintendent David Jeck
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Eighty percent of Fauquier public schools students will return to classrooms 80 percent of the time this spring.

The school board voted, 5-0, Monday night to approve the plan that will start with Pre-k through fifth-grade students March 15.

It will expand to all grades April 5, bringing the county system close to normal operations for the first time since mid-March of last year, when Gov. Ralph Northam ordered schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauquier schools started “hybrid” instruction Nov. 9, with about 7,000 students in classrooms two days a week. Another 3,000 students continued to study remotely.

“There will be no more A and B groups,” Superintendent David Jeck said of the hybrid system. “They’ll all be in one class.”

> Document at bottom of story

The steady decline of new virus cases and increasing vaccination will help make it possible to bring most students back into schools, Dr. Jeck said.

The school system’s “mitigation” — including response to new cases, sanitation, required mask wearing and social distancing — also support the shift, he said.

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows that communities with students in schools have lower virus caseloads, Dr. Jeck said. “Schools are the safest place to be.”

The vast majority of Fauquier parents agree.

Only 1,655 students will continue virtual studies after the expansion of in-person instruction, according to a new survey of Fauquier parents.

Of those responding, parents chose to have 5,765 children in classrooms Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

School officials added non-respondents to the in-person total, bringing it to 8,734 or 84 percent of those enrolled this semester.

Of the school system’s 1,900 employees, all of those who want the vaccine should complete the two-shot regimen by March 15, Dr. Jeck said. He put the total at about 85 percent.

That will help ensure adequate staffing for in-person classes, eliminating the need for those potentially exposed to the virus to quarantine for two weeks. The vaccine eliminates that need for 90 days, health officials explained.

The number of employees in quarantine ranged from 11 to 49 over the last five weeks.

Returning to classes — along with extracurricular activities — will improve student mental health, the superintendent said. It also will give educators more opportunities to administer tests to gauge student progress before expanded summer classes designed to address “learning loss.”

Administrators warned that the number of students in schools and on buses will make it impossible to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. That will reinforce the need for masks and vigilant hygiene.

“We’ll put kids as far apart as we can, but we’ll still five to 10 buses (among 95) overloaded,” especially in densely-populated areas, Executive Director for Administration and Planning David E. Graham Jr. said. “We can get the job done.”

All county schools have plasma ionization systems to purify air and janitorial staffs have electrostatic sprayers for deep cleaning, Dave Graham said.

With most students in classrooms, those studying from home could face delays in getting their questions answered, Dr. Jeck warned.

Maintaining Wednesdays for teacher planning and building cleaning will provide opportunities for virtual students to work with instructors when they need help, he added.

“It’s very exciting,” the superintendent said. “About 80 percent (of students) are coming back . . . . But the worst thing that could happen is that we let our guard down.”

Dr. Jeck called on everyone to help keep schools safe and reminded parents to keep sick students home.

Contact Editor “Lou” Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-1845.

In-Person Learning Four Day... by Fauquier Now

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null · February 25, 2021 at 12:24 am

Children don't spread it to teachers because they're usually kept a fair distance from them. I'll admit, children through teenagers are more resilient to the virus. That doesn't negate their ability as carriers. The issue comes when said people spread it to eachother, who then spread it to their families and that may include people with severe immunodeficiency disorders. To be honest most people could probably withstand the virus with only minor internal damage. The main purpose of lockdown is to prevent the virus from spreading to the people who will die if they get it.

As for the first and second graders, I can't really say anything for them as I havent been in those grades for many many years. Although if it were me, as long as I had parents who were willing to teach me the skills I learned in those grades, I would've probably just rolled with it.


Thanks, although I'd take my perspective with a grain of salt. My personal life hasn't been effected much by the pandemic as I'm still pretty much doing the same stuff as I did before. However I look online and see stories from people who have a lot harder of a time with virtual learning and the pandemic as a whole and I feel bad for the students who are severely effected by it.

One of the main issues with virtual learning is that the county had only half of a semester to prepare it. That's less than six months of planning schedules, getting procedures in place, getting the infrastructure in place, and getting studies done on how the students would fare during it all and adjust procedure accordingly. They simply didnt have the time or resources to study effects like concentration and usability and it shows. I've got teachers right now who are divided between using Google Classroom for the assignments or Blackboard and it's really hard keeping track of both of them. It's gotten to the point where if I don't see it in my school gmail inbox it might as well not be an assignment which has kindof made me fall a bit behind in classes.

I still think virtual learning can work though and maybe even be beneficial, as long as the county takes the time to refine and organize it.

(and if the non-satellite ISPs or even cellular providers could provide near total coverage of the county in at least 3G, that'd be great.)
Demosthenes · February 24, 2021 at 10:29 pm
Null - don't let the haters get to you. Thanks for sharing what this looks like from a student's perspective.

Bill Benton (via Facebook) - What exactly is "indocturnating"? Just asking for a friend...
AngryBob · February 24, 2021 at 2:39 pm
@null: It's been known for a while now that kids don't normally get or spread the Wuflu. There is only one known case of a teacher catching Chinavirus from a student. All the others were teacher to teacher, or came from outside of school.

My first hand experience confirms that virtual "learning" does not work for 1st and 2nd graders. It is time to end the year long democrat lockdown.
null · February 24, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Excuse me?
Children can get the virus. Everyone can spread the virus. While some asymptomatic people don't spread it as efficiently as people who do show symptoms, that doesnt mean they can't carry it. Where did you get that logic from.

Also the main reason we aren't open like many European nations could be for two reasons.

1: Some nations are doing a lot better than us at dealing with it. Leading to more flexibility with what they can open because of lower case numbers.

2: Some nations are completely underestimating the pandemic, leading them to keep schools open because their politicians believe that children can't spread the virus, leading to an all around higher virus cases total.
youcantfixstupid · February 24, 2021 at 9:49 am
What took so long? It has been known for almost a year that children don't get the China flu and don't spread the China flu. Most European nations have been back in full time school for months. So has Florida. Why did it take so long?
null · February 24, 2021 at 9:25 am
I was really hoping the pandemic would bring sortof a revamp of the education system and teach the county that virtual learning isn't a bad thing. But unfortunately, the county is just trying to return to what they know and not even look at the benefits of virtual learning.

For example:

1. Better wake up times.
I think this is the main reason why the pandemic has actually improved my mental health. I don't have to wake up at 5:50. Believe me, waking up at seven is a very large improvement. In the three years before I couldn't really help but to doze off during my first class of the day because I was so tired. Now I can stay up for all of my classes without much difficulty or wonky sleeping schedules.

2. Don't have to deal with the buses.
This one is going to be a bit small because it's more of a personal problem I had last year. For the first part of it, every single week we'd have a new bus driver and they'd be several minutes late because they had to learn the route. Sometimes I had to be outside until about 7 when the bus came. Normally this would be a minor inconvenience or maybe even a good excuse to be late for class but considering I was a morning travel student to Fauquier, constantly missing the bus posed a fairly large problem for the school because they constantly had to find different methods of transportation wether it be a different travel bus or a county minivan with one of the staff driving it. I'm kinda glad I don't have to deal with it anymore.

3. I can do work when I'm in the best mood for it.
Ok, I don't know if this is an ADHD thing or not but I can not for the life of me focus on work when I'm actually in virtual class unless It's really important work like a test. However with virtual, all work is pretty much considered homework, leading to longer lasting deadlines. I'm usually at my best to do work around mid-day so being able to actually work on it there gives me a huge boost in productivity and quality of the work.

4. More free time.
This one is more of an effect of 1, 2, and 3. Since I don't have to deal with transportation which at minimum took up about an hour of my day, I can work at my own convenience, and I have a more open day because I don't need as much sleep before, I'm now able to do stuff with my friends or just personally with more flexibility.

Those are the main points I can remember. Virtual learning can work if people actually put the effort into it. Now while there are downsides like lack of focus, I think the benefits outweigh them.
Savefauquiercounty2019 · February 23, 2021 at 8:55 am
Please take care of our educators. Please mandate they leave on time. The more they stay, the more they are exposed and the less time the custodians have to clean. Studies have shown throughout the years, women are not cohesive. Women are afraid in general to speak out because they are termed a Management knows this. Don't silence the teachers. Please create a safe forum for them to report any issues without fear of retaliation. Women should always be listened too. The oppressed women who are not educated or experienced enough don't get it. They often think it is an insult to speak out against behaviors of professionals. 80 percent of women professionals are in their child bearing and rearing years and have families to take care of outside of work. Let them leave the classroom on time and go home in peace. Professional Women have enough on their plate and they shouldn't be expected to think they need more education, and do more work to prove themselves. Stop diminishing their worth, their value and their efforts. Let them live in peace. Stop with the negative comments. This county employees a high percentage of teachers with master's degrees and teachers that have dual degrees from other fields. If they now will compete with the increase in min wage and the increase in expenses because of it, let them at least leave on time and go home in peace. No more working from home off hours and on the weekends. R E S P E C T T E A C H E R S. They are the back bone of our society. The women professionals who wish to work overtime, don't expect your colleaques to follow suit. It is unfair and unethical professional practice. The County Supervisors need to focus more providing more resources if you can not get your job done during business hours.
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