School board deadlocks on plan to extend online learning

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — The board overseeing Virginia's largest school district has failed to endorse a plan from its superintendent that would keep a majority of students fully online until February.

In a series of votes early Friday morning, the 12-member Fairfax County school board deadlocked 6-6 on whether to endorse Superintendent Scott Brabrand's plan, or whether to push for an earlier return to in-person learning for grades 3-12.

The votes were non-binding but reflect the deep divisions in the county and elsewhere on whether it's safe for students to return to class as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Brabrand's proposal called for staggered returns for limited in-person learning, beginning with kids with special needs and the youngest grades, but the vast majority of the district's 187,000 students would remain fully online until February 2021 under his plan. He has said logistical challenges are significant with many teachers resisting students' return to class.

The school district is the nation's 10th largest. The board is expected to take up the issue again next month.

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