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Loudoun County Public Schools staff continue testing positive for COVID-19 amid rising cases

Educators look to balance calls for expanding in-person learning from parents and protecting staff and students from the virus, as state and county numbers rise.
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LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — On Monday, Loudoun County Public School reported that five staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-quarantining.

River Bend Middle School, Farmwell Station Middle School, Harmony Middle School, Round Hill Elementary School, Little River Elementary School, are the schools that most recently reported a case of coronavirus among staff, LCPS said. 

Currently, LCPS is reporting eight staff and two students who have active COVID-19 cases, with no new cases reported in the past 24 hours, as of Nov. 6, according to the school district's COVID-19 dashboard. Thirty-three staff members and eight students are self-quarantining, the website says. You can see a breakdown of active cases at each school in the county here

The latest news comes after near-weekly reports from the school district on how the virus has spread, as educators balance social distancing and a call for more in-person learning from parents. 

Across the county, the 14-day number of new cases per 100,000 has been on the rise, now reaching "high-risk" levels at 154.6 according to health department metrics.  State and national coronavirus case numbers are also on the rise, which has prompted concerns among communities about how to move forward as a school district. Virginia is on pace to see its 200,000th case of the coronavirus by the end of the week, and has averaged more than 1,000 for 20 days in a row. It remains in the top 20 states with the most cases, according to data tracked by the New York Times. 

On Tuesday, the school board will decide whether third through fifth graders can return to the classroom in December. The earliest middle and high schoolers would head back is late January.

Even before LCPS put out plans for phased reopening for classrooms, the Loudoun County community saw coronavirus impact student-athletes, followed by staff members from across the district's community.  

RELATED: Loudoun County student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19

Kindergarten through second-grade students returned to Loudoun County classrooms on Oct. 27. 

Parents and students gave the Loudoun County School Board an earful in early October about the lack of in-person learning, and how students were being impacted by the challenges faced in digital learning. The overwhelming majority of speakers asked for students to head back to class full-time.

Several school board members have expressed concerns that the plan just isn't fast enough.

"We're going to have to rip off this Band-Aid at some point," LCPS Board Member Ian Serotkin said. "It's not going to get any easier in January or March. Let's not continue to kick this can down the road."

RELATED: Loudoun County Public Schools sees impacts from COVID-19 amid calls for more in-person learning

RELATED: Loudoun County parents push for an accelerated return-to-class plan

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