A virtual classroom. Photo Courtesy of GoGuardian (

      This school year has included a lot of uncertainty and transformation as in-person learning emerged two days a week and is now available four days a week. With vaccines now being more accessible and regulations changing, so will this fall 2021 school year. 

      This upcoming school year Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) announced that it is to be expected that students will present themselves to school five days a week starting August 23 this year. 

      While Covid-19 is still around, there will still be regulations to ensure the safety of both students and faculty members. Anyone inside Westfield territory is obligated to continue to maintain their masks on above the nose. Along with this, social distancing is also a regulation that will continue to stand. However, this regulation is changing. This 20-21 school year, students and faculty members are to be socially distanced six feet as per orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now, when students return to school in the fall, there is a new three feet rule.  FCPS thinks that this new three-feet rule is appropriate as long as students have a mask and adhere to CDC guidelines. They consider this three-feet rule to allow students to interact accordingly while continuing to maintain a physical distance that is enough to stay healthy.

      As Covid-19 infection can continue to increase or decline through time, guidelines will change correspondingly. As of right now, FCPS is trying to adapt to current rules and regulations. For example, Westfield enforces the policy to keep a six-feet distance while eating due to masks being off during that action, but after students will be able to return to the three-feet rule. If more than two schools in the FCPS district have outbreaks, this policy may return back from three feet to six feet of physical distance to ensure the health of others. There is an exception to this physical distance. It was also mentioned that students of the same household were not required to adhere to physical distance. When students enter school every day, they will also have to receive daily health screenings. 

      As for extracurriculars, food, and transport, they will all be “back to normal.” Westfield HS will have full activity for its athletic programs. The bus routes will return as they were previously to Covid-19 and hot breakfast and lunch meals will be provided. 

      There are still things that FCPS is working to do to accommodate students in such difficult situations. To keep students in more social distance environments, FCPS is working toward expanding outdoor learning and lunch capacity. As for the vaccine, Pfizer has now been approved for students 12 and above. While there are no immunization requirements at the moment, FCPS is monitoring health and encouraging the vaccine. Parents with students that are eligible have been receiving emails with information on vaccinating their child. In these emails, there is information regarding where and how to get vaccinated. There is even transportation covered on behalf of FCPS to encourage students to get vaccinated. 

      The fall 21-22 school year regulations may change as time goes by, and vaccines may become a requirement along with masks being optional if vaccinated. There are still uncertainties due to Covid-19 that only the future can provide answers to, but for now FCPS is continuing to adjust to them.