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ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Ending virtual-learning program would be horrific

Letter: Ending virtual-learning program would be horrific

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Editor: On Feb. 2, Arlington Superintendent Francisco Durán abruptly recommended pausing the VLP (Virtual Learning Program) for the coming school year, “to allow for planning for a better program by the principal,” and replacing it with a program provided by a contractor.

A School Board vote is scheduled for Feb. 17. The extremely short timeline does not provide for adequate community comment.

The VLP program launched in the fall of 2021. After a difficult start with insufficient staffing, resources and operational issues, the school system invested heavily in rescuing the program, and it is now on firm footing.
The superintendent’s proposal would unnecessarily and cruelly inflict four years in a row – up to one-third of a child’s K-12 experience – of instability to all VLP students. Making them constantly “start all over” with different programs, schools, teachers and classmates, every single year, for four years in a row, is cruel.

I have twin 7-year-old boys in first grade who recently transferred from in-person school to the VLP. How many more families might choose VLP once the mask mandate is dropped? This is an ongoing conversation for many families.


In the end, and contrary to popular belief, not all children do best with in-person schooling. This is now a proven truth, and we should all be honest and candid about it and address that elephant in the room.

No one wants to see an improved – and long-term – VLP program more than the VLP parents. Everyone should want something like this program to succeed, because, now that I know more about it, I see it as 1) a pioneering initiative that is keeping up, not only with the times we live in, but with those to come, and 2) a program that denotes flexibility and innovation.

My expectation for my family – and others like mine – is that APS accept us as we are, and provide us with the opportunity of a long-term, high-quality education based on a virtual program.

I truly hope the School Board will use critical thinking and won’t let this initiative die. I hope that the current School Board members are recalled as pioneers and futurists, and not as the people responsible for taking away a flexible and equal educational opportunity from many families in the county.

Maria Andrea Alvarez, Arlington

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