Opening Schools in Fairfax County

The county intends to use three indicators in deciding whether schools will open or remain virtual in the near future. These indicators are: (1) The number of new cases per 100,000 residents, (2) The percentage test positivity, and (3) Self-assessments conducted by safety teams on five mitigation strategies. These strategies are: Proper use of masks or face coverings; Social distancing; Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; Cleaning and disinfection; and Contact tracing in collaboration with the health department. Schools cannot strongly rely on mitigation strategies for the simple reason that unlike hotels, restaurants or amusement parks, students and teachers are expected to be inside confined buildings for tens of hours per week, week after week. Moreover, a vaccine is already on the way and waiting for all teachers and staff to be vaccinated is perhaps no longer than the past four months already spent virtually. The two objective indicators, cases and positivity, are currently extremely high. Community transmission is as bad as last Spring and these two should be enough for the county to postpone the return to in-person schooling. Please consider joining us in the following petition.