Updated “Return to School” plan by FCPS brings high schoolers back in Jan.

Superintendent Brabrand moves the tentative date for middle and high schoolers to resume hybrid in-person instruction from Feb. 1 to Jan. 26


Superintendent Brabrand and his team developed the “concurrent instruction” model to accommodate students learning at school and at home. The system is in the pilot stage at multiple schools across Fairfax County. Photo courtesy of fcps.edu.

Rachel Lewis, Team Leader

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand announced his recommendation that middle and high school students “resume in-person instruction” on Jan. 26, if they do not choose to continue 100% virtual learning, on Friday, Oct. 23. 

“Our first three weeks of in-person cohort learning have gone very well, and we have had no incidents to cause concern,” Brabrand said. “We are bringing back additional groups of students as we continue to meet the health and operational metrics that have been established for in-person instruction including low transmission rates, mitigation strategies, planned response for confirmed cases, and availability of teachers and staff.”

This would not mean that students would travel to the school building Monday through Friday, but that they would participate in the “concurrent instruction” model, which combines synchronous in-person and virtual learning. 

In “concurrent instruction”, students are divided into two groups. One group travels to school on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the other group stays at home, participating virtually in class at the same time as the first group. On Thursday and Friday, the second group physically attends school, while the first attends virtually. Students who decide to continue 100% virtual learning connect synchronously to instruction through online platforms all four days. 

For all students, the plan keeps Monday’s current status as an asynchronous learning day, providing time for teachers to plan the week’s lessons and interact with students one-on-one. 

Students whose need for in-person instruction was considered greatest by FCPS have already begun to return to school, including students in the Preschool Autism, Preschool Class Based, and Select Specialized Career Prep Classes programs. Secondary school students without additional accommodations will be the last group to come back.