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F.C. School Board Chair Issues Statement on All-Virtual Decision

LAST NIGHT’S virtual Falls Church School Boatd meeting. (Photo: News-Press)

Greg Anderson, chair of the Falls Church School Board, issued a statement late Friday about the board’s decision to limit Falls Church City Public School education to online learning for at least the first nine weeks of the new school semester slated to begin Aug. 24.

The following is the text of Anderson’s statement:

“At our meeting Thursday night, Dr. Noonan recommended to the School Board that Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) begin the 2020-2021 school year in fully online learning for at least nine weeks starting on August 24. We voted unanimously to support and endorse Dr. Noonan’s recommendation, with the flexibility to bring back special populations of students earlier as circumstances and science allow. You can watch a recording of our meeting on the FCCPS YouTube channel. 

“We did not reach this decision lightly. We recognize the impacts that fully remote learning may have on families, especially those with younger students, students who need additional support, or for which all caregivers must work outside the home. However, since our July 14 meeting, a variety of new information has come to light that makes it clear that opening in hybrid mode would pose undue risks for students, family, and staff, which must be our highest priority. 

“We want to thank Dr. Noonan, his leadership team, and all of TeamFCCPS for their diligent and tireless work over the past several months. They have synthesized a tremendous amount of information, which is constantly changing and oftentimes unclear, to make decisions that are in the best interests of our community. Dr. Noonan and his leadership team will continue to review new information as it becomes available, solicit input from a wide variety of sources, and incorporate all that information and input into our plans and actions. 

“We also thank you for your engagement. You’ve sent us more than 100 comments to date sharing heartfelt concerns about, and creative solutions to, the common challenge we face. While we haven’t been able to respond to each of the comments, please rest assured we are reading and considering every single one of them. 

Please continue to share your thoughts. If you have a question for the Board, please email it to our Clerk, Ms. Marty Gadell, at gadellm@fccps.org. If you have more specific questions related to your school or your student, please email reopening@fccps.org. Questions received there will be forwarded to the appropriate staff who can answer your questions most effectively. 

“We, the Falls Church Community, all have a role to play in overcoming the challenges of COVID-19. Decisions we make over the coming weeks – practicing physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and the like – will help determine how quickly FCCPS can bring students, staff, and faculty back to our schools safely. Please continue to support each other through this crisis and we will come out #bettertogether.”