Alexandria, VA

Alexandria City Public Schools has pushed back its planned partial reopening for young disabled students from Jan. 19 to Jan. 26.

Citing the increase in positive cases of COVID-19, the school system announced Monday (Jan. 11) that the students in kindergarten to second grade with disabilities instead go back to school on the date that is currently designated for special education students in grades 3-5, disabled students in grades K-5 and English learners in grades PreK-5.

“Due to our current community transmission levels and school impact level, we have made the decision to delay the transition of Students With Disabilities in grades K-2 a part of our Citywide Program on Jan. 19 using our decision matrix,” ACPS said in the announcement. “We will continually reassess the situation and inform the community of our latest decision for transitioning into our school buildings.”

The school system also reported that the number of cases over the last week is more than 650 and that ACPS staffing and capacity are at a strained level, operating between 50% to 75%.

Below is the new tentative timeline for the partial reopening of public school in Alexandria:

ACPS Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. indicated last week that the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, in addition to a rising number of cases in the community, put the Jan. 19 reopening at risk.

“If I had to make a decision today, it [school] would be 100% virtual,” Hutchings told the School Board last Thursday night. “This is based on community health metrics, staffing and capacity, and we’ve been saying that since the fall — people don’t want to hear it, but we’ve been saying — we want to open, but it’s based on staffing capacity community health metrics, and that still is the same message that we have to move forward.”

Also last week, School Board member Margaret Lorber supported a cautious approach to reopening and asked whether parents wanted their children alive or educated.

Photo via T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus/Facebook

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