Loudoun County Public Schools administrators are further detailing the division’s plans for 100 percent distance learning during the first part of the 2020-2021 school year.
The Loudoun County School Board voted in the early hours of July 22 to cancel its initial plans to implement a hybrid instructional model in favor of full-time remote instruction with “very limited exceptions” to begin Sept. 8.
“Since then, principals, administrators, teachers and other professionals from across the division have been working to refine our plans for the start of the new school year,” an Aug. 6 email from LCPS administration reads.
Per a new LCPS document titled “Reopening in Stages: 100% Distance Learning Models,” students at all grade levels will be expected to engage in varying degrees of live, synchronous learning Tuesday through Friday of each week, while Mondays will predominately be for independent, asynchronous work.
Unlike the previous spring semester, both asynchronous and synchronous attendance and participation will be mandatory. Officials say teachers will monitor attendance during synchronous learning sessions via Schoology, the division’s new learning management system.
LCPS will also implement across-the-board grading and assessment standards via division Policy 5030, Assessment and Grading, which administration drafted specifically for the coming fall semester. When classes resume in September, teachers are to assess student readiness and “create academic plans to support all students,” according to the new document.
Special-education students with Individual Education Programs, or IEPs, are to each receive customized learning plans, and teachers will be able to collaborate with the division’s Unified Mental Health Team to figure out how to “connect with families and students as appropriate.”
UMHT has also been tasked with providing various resources and virtual consultation for students and parents under emotional or mental distress, as well as leading suicide prevention efforts through the Sources of Strength program.
Student standards of behavior will also be enforced despite the virtual learning environment, as administrators say online classrooms “are real classrooms with real teachers and students; therefore, appropriate student behavior is expected.”
Staff may remove students from online learning environments if they violate LCPS Student Code of Conduct, and school-level administrators are to closely monitor instances of cyberbullying or other online misconduct.
“As plans are refined and we move closer to the first day of school, more information will be provided from the central administration and individual school principals,” the email concludes. “Thank you for your continued flexibility as we develop this new approach to learning in Loudoun County.”
The return-to-school document, which includes more details on grade level-specific learning protocols, is available at lcps.org/Page/230986.