Arlington Superintendent Francisco Durán

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán.

Arlington students, parents and teachers should know by the 4th of July what the county school system’s plan is for re-starting classes in the fall.

In-person classroom instruction “is the goal we want to get to,” new Superintendent Francisco Durán told School Board members on June 4, but he was not ready to commit to having students back in class when the school year begins Aug. 31.

“We . . . have to think about flexibility and various levels of need and risk,” said Durán, a former administrator in Fairfax County’s public schools who on June 1 took the helm as superintendent in Arlington.

During the briefing, Durán said local school districts were waiting for definitive guidance from the state government, and that Northern Virginia school systems were angling for “a unified approach as much as possible” on how to move forward in the fall.

School systems likely will come under enormous pressure to get students back in class from some parents, who have taken over the role of educator since schools were shuttered in March. But Durán’s June 4 report mirrored those given by the previous interim superintendent, Cintia Johnson, suggesting that either an online-only approach or a hybrid between the two could be in the offing to start the year.

Durán promised that whatever the approach, he would “make sure we’re teaching new content.” Arlington school officials drew flak for essentially giving up on new instruction during the spring, giving as the reason the fact that some students didn’t have access to online learning.

“Our goal is always to ensure [students] are learning and successful,” Durán said.

Durán said he was targeting the June 25 School Board meeting to provide a detailed announcement of plans for the new school year, but intimated it could be held over to early July.

Durán was among about 40 people to apply for the job of superintendent, left vacant when Patrick Murphy departed last August after 10 years on the job to take a post in West Virginia.

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