Remember the scene in “Animal House” where John Belushi’s character delivered an impassioned speech and, at the end, asked his fraternity brothers a seminal line — “Who’s with me?” — and nobody followed?
That appears to have been the experience of Arlington Superintendent Francisco Durán, who in late December announced that the school system would prohibit students from participating in school-sanctioned sports or extracurricular activities for the first half of January.
If Durán was expecting other local school districts to follow his lead, they did not. If anything, school leaders across Northern Virginia appeared to look on Arlington, and not for the first time, as an outlier in its approach to battling COVID.
On Jan. 12, Durán threw in the towel, announcing not only that sports and extracurriculars could resume, but could do so immediately — several days before the “pause,” as APS officials called it, was set to expire.
But he left the door open for it to return. “APS will continue to closely monitor the situation and evaluate activities as needed,” the superintendent said in his Jan. 12 message.
As part of the return, attendance at school-sponsored indoor sporting events will be limited to family members of the athletes, similar to the approach neighboring Fairfax County is taking.
In another move, Arlington Public Schools on Jan. 12 brought itself in line with updated recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health, cutting from 10 days to five the time students and staff must stay home if testing positive for COVID in certain cases.
Under certain circumstances, some students will still need to stay out 10 days.
The updated quarantine policy for school-system students and staff goes into effect Jan. 17.