LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — On Wednesday evening thousands of parents tuned into Loudoun County Public School’s virtual question and answer town hall to gain insight on what the future of schooling in a pandemic will look like.
Hours before the town hall, the district announced it would extend its return to school scenario deadline to Wednesday, July 15 at 8 a.m. The district said it would be a binding choice for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year.
- 100% distance learning
- A hybrid model where students will attend school in person for two days a week and distance learn the other three days
“Honestly my mind is everywhere,” LCPS mother Khadisah Artis said. “I just made the decision to have her go two days and then the other three days on home school because I have to work and I'm unable to get off. I can’t afford to not work. It's just a lot to think about as a parent.”
Artis said she trusts the school and that’s one of the reasons she opted to have her school enter back in the building, but she said it’s still a scary thought.
“You feel like you're kind of putting your child's safety at risk, but she [my daughter] told me that she wants to do the two days," Artis said." And like I said I'll do my part by sending her with her mask and hand sanitizer."
LCPS mother Mary Jaggers said she also made the decision for her first-grade daughter to do the hybrid learning option.
“I am not hugely worried about it, and I think the social interaction that she would get is far more important with the low risk that the virus will have on them,” Jaggers said. "On the mom group everyone was saying everyone’s going to be behind no matter what, and this year is kind of just like going to end up being a lost year. For a first-grader, this is the time where they're learning to read, this is the time where they're learning to write, and how much of that is she going to lose or just be so far back on in the future that's really going to hinder her in the next coming years?"
In Wednesday’s virtual town hall district officials answered questions about returning to school.
Q - If school starts and there's another spike in COVID-19 and LCPS closes its doors again, will LCPS be ready to change virtually with a more seamless transition?
A - Yes, the Virginia Department of Education emphasized that schools need to be prepared to transition from phase three back to either phase one or two.
Q - What will the school procedure be when an in-person student or teacher has tested positive for COVID-19?
A - Should someone at the school, student or teacher, present with symptoms each school will have a designated room, which is a quality care room for students and our staff that presents symptoms to keep them separate from others. And ask the parent to come and pick up the child immediately, or the staff to leave, and to follow up with their primary care physician or the health department immediately. We also would be in close collaboration with the health department to report the symptoms or the information that's been brought to our attention and identify if they have been in any close contact.
Q - How do we get up to date information on high school athletics? Are tryouts still planned for Aug. 3 for some, or all of the sports?
A - Staff is in constant communication with the Virginia High School League, and we will continue to get guidance from the VHSL regarding athletics for the fall. At this time they do not have definitive answers regarding fall sports. And they do hope to have more information after their meeting next week, and we will certainly communicate with coaches, athletic directors, and families as soon as we have more information.