**FILE** Courtesy of Fairfax County Public Schools via Twitter
**FILE** Courtesy of Fairfax County Public Schools via Twitter

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand says the school system doesn’t plan to shift to virtual learning amid spiking COVID-19 cases in the region.

The superintendent sent an email to families and school staffers ahead of the return from winter break next Monday that laid out how FCPS plans to keep children in the classroom, including contingency plans for replacing ailing teachers.

“Keeping our schools open is what’s best for our students and that is what we are committed to doing,” Brabrand said, WTOP reported.

He said initially schools will try to get an available substitute teacher from the substitute pool, before consulting other teachers, staffers or volunteer substitutes to fill slots. If there are no teachers, staffers or substitutes to replace a sick teacher, the school will put two classes together with one educator.

As a last resort, multiple classes will be grouped in one area for supervision during asynchronous teaching.

The school system’s scheduled return from winter break on Jan. 3 has been delayed this week by significant snowstorms that passed through the region.

Additionally, a tiered system will be utilized to meet staffing conditions, WTOP reported. Plan A would have schools operate normally, with no classrooms without teacher coverage or doubled up.

Plan B says if between 1% and 10% of classrooms don’t have teacher coverage, certain classrooms will have in-person asynchronous learning. Under Plan C, if more than a tenth to one-quarter of classrooms don’t have a teacher present, the entire school will transition to asynchronous learning.

Brabrand said central office workers will go into the schools and provide classroom coverage if needed. He said the school system will reassess the strategy in two to three weeks to measure its effectiveness. WTOP reported.

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