LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — The Loudoun County Public School Board voted Monday on its reopening plan, pushing back the school year's start date, and potentially changing the high school mascot because of its confederate roots.
The proposed reopening plan offers three scenarios:
- 100% in-person learning
- A hybrid approach with in-school and virtual learning
- 100% distance learning
Wrapping up around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, the school board eventually voted to move forward with the hybrid plan.
Nearly 300 parents, students, and teachers voiced their concerns for each option during the public comment section.
"What happened already last year put my child at a disadvantage… they, at most, had an hour and a half of work every day," one father said.
He, like many other parents, said their children could not get the same quality of education at home that they could in school. Some said returning to class was worth the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Many teachers, on the other hand, said they worried about their safety being exposed to so many kids in any of the in-person scenarios.
"I will not sacrifice my health and safety, nor that of my family’s, and I’m not safe with the current hybrid plan," one teacher and LCPS parent said.
In fact, in the school system's survey of more than 50,000 families and staff members, two-thirds of teachers said they were worried about their physical and mental safety if they have to go back to the classroom.
On the other hand, twice as many high school parents said they felt comfortable with their students attending school full-time as opposed to 100% distance learning.
The board was also set to consider pushing back the school start date until September to give teachers more time to prepare for the new learning structure.
The third action item involved changing the high school mascot of Raiders because of its connection to the Confederate Army commander John Mosby, who led a group known as Mosby's Raiders.
Some students urged the board change the mascot to show support for their Black peers and equality for all students. Some parents said they would rather see the money spent on other programs.
The superintendent said he plans to host a virtual town hall for families on July 8.