Arlington Public Schools wants families to let it know by April 30 what type of instruction they want next year. And at the moment, there are only two options on the table:
• A 5-day-a-week in-person model with in-classroom teachers.
• A 5-day-a-week online model, with both live (“synchronous”) and not-so-live (“asynchronous”) classroom instruction. Online-only students will still have the opportunity to participate in sports and extracurriculars at their base school.
School leaders say that, health conditions permitting, they plan to “operate as normally as possible” in the 2021-22 school year, after 18 months of challenges that at time verged on chaos as the pandemic raged.
By getting family preferences in hand, school officials will be able to begin planning for what likely will be a large – but at this point unknown – percentage of students back in class.
In recent months, the school system has had most students in classrooms two days a week, but pressure has built to give clear assurances that will return to five-day-a-week instruction in the fall.
The school system’s inability to match many other school systems in the amount of time students are now spending, or soon will spend, in classrooms has been a key – perhaps the key – issue in the ongoing Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board caucus, set to be decided next month.
Monique O’Grady, currently serving as School Board chair, opted against seeking a second two-year term, making her the third (of five) School Board members to announce departures after relatively short tenures in the past two years.