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Fairfax Co. schools pause in-person return of students amid virus surge

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Braband announced Tuesday that select elementary students will not return to school in-person on Dec. 1 as planned.

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“As we see COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise in our community, we must continue to pause in-person return for students in Group 5,” Mr. Braband said in a message on the school district’s website.

Group 5 students, which include those in early head start, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, will remain virtual until “specific health metrics indicate that it is safe” to return, he said.

The news comes the day after students in Group 4, which includes children in select career-based classes and Burke School Elementary students, had to go back to online learning.

In a separate message posted Monday, Mr. Braband said “rising cases” had caused “core health indicators” to exceed “a threshold based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

When core indicators remain at the “highest risk” level for seven days in a row, he said “students will temporarily return to all virtual instruction.”

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State health department data on Tuesday shows the core indicator of new cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks is 311.6, which exceeds the benchmark.

For students to return in-person, the CDC recommends that the county must have seven consecutive days where metrics are equal to or less than 200 cases per 100,000 residents.

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