Service members and others deciding to send their child to a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school this fall will have the option of in-person or virtual instruction, the latter of which must be decided by this Thursday.

Virtual learning begins on August 24. Students attending online classes will be taught by a school independent from their local classrooms, reports.

“Restoring teaching and learning to the familiar environments of our classrooms provides students with stability and continuity. Face-to-face instruction and the routines of school add significantly to success and growth for all students,” said DoDEA Director Tom Brady.

While social distancing and vigilant sanitizing practices will be in place for those returning for in-person instruction, others have doubts on the efficacy of the new setup.

“DoDEA expects teachers to somehow clean every surface within a classroom while simultaneously educating children,” said Brian Chance, president of the Federal Education Association.

“DoDEA is refusing to require students to wear masks and is instead expecting children as young as five to remain seated and a safe distance from each other throughout the day. How can a teacher safely interact with a child if that child is not wearing a mask?”

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