July 8 Town Hall

Loudoun County Public Schools administrators participated in a virtual town hall on July 8.

More than 8,000 Loudoun County Public Schools community members tuned in to a live-streamed town hall meeting hosted by Superintendent Eric Williams Wednesday evening, during which he and other senior division staff answered questions regarding the return to classes in the fall.

Last week, the Loudoun County School Board approved a resolution endorsing families' ability to choose between a hybrid learning model and 100 percent distance learning for their students while Virginia is in "Phase 3" reopening. In the hybrid model, most children would attend school in person two days a week and learn remotely the other three. Families are required to pick between the two options by 8 a.m. July 15.

Three of Williams' assistant superintendents accompanied him to answer questions from community members: Ashley Ellis, Asia Jones and Kevin Lewis, representing the departments of Instruction, Pupil Services and Support Services, respectively.

"There is still much that's unknown, and so I want to acknowledge that diverse opinions exist regarding how schools should operate in the new school year, and that it would be easier to make a selection between the two options if more information were available," Williams said during his opening remarks.

Some questions were submitted in the days leading up to the event, while others were submitted during. Below is an abbreviated collection of questions and answers given. Wednesday's town hall meeting is available to view in full at vimeo.com/436410131.

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Why are families required to make a binding choice between hybrid and distance learning two months in advance? What if the outbreak worsens and parents are no longer comfortable with the hybrid model?

Williams: The timing really relates to the amount of planning that's needed in order to be prepared to open the school year. A key part of it is just the creation of the master schedules at each school. At the secondary level, that basically is the courses that are being taught by specific teachers at particular times, and assigning students to those.

That process can typically take three weeks or longer, but now it's even more complex, because basically schools are creating two different master schedules; they've got two different groups of students. That process not only involves assigning students to particular courses and particular times, it also involves assigning teachers, with the greater complexity of whether a teacher is teaching 100 percent distance learning or in a hybrid environment.

What is the curriculum for distance learning?

Ellis: The curriculum for distance learning will be the same as the curriculum for the hybrid learning. [VDOE] is developing resources and supports for teachers to design learning experiences in each model. … Curriculum guidance will include connections to key concepts from the spring of 2020. I know lots of families and teachers as well are worried about learning loss and making sure we make sure students have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed this school year, so curriculum guidance will focus on that as well.

If a student chooses distance learning, are they watching an in-person class where the hybrid students are attending, or are they in their own virtual classroom with their own teacher and other distance learners?

Ellis: The distance-learning students will be assigned to distance-learning teachers and will participate in synchronous instruction with that distance-learning teacher, not with a teacher in the hybrid model who may have students in the classroom at that time.

We've been asked this in multiple ways about the possibility of live-streaming face-to-face instruction in the classroom to students at home. That is extremely difficult, it is not best instructional practice for either the teacher or the students participating in the distance-learning environment, so that is why we are being very intentional in applying distance-learning teachers to students who are participating in distance learning.

Will Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes be offered in both the distance-learning model and the hybrid model?

Ellis: Yes. Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes will both be offered in both distance learning and the hybrid model. Staff in the central office will collaborate with staff in the schools to schedule hybrid and 100 percent distance-learning teachers for all of these courses.

There are some unique electives that are not necessarily AP or Dual Enrollment that may be more challenging to schedule, and we may have to work with families to find alternatives for those unique electives. I'll also add that LCPS is working with Northern Virginia Community College, our main partner for Dual Enrollment courses, to ensure that the content is available both in distance learning and the hybrid model.

Courses in the Monroe Advanced Technical Academy, or MATA, in the Academies of Loudoun are the one exception to this rule. These courses will only be taught in the hybrid model because of the unique needs of those courses, the hands-on nature and the specialized equipment in those classrooms.

Will siblings always be allowed to attend school on the same day?

Williams: Siblings at the elementary level would be automatically assigned [to attend on the same day], and then … parents have the option of making that request at the secondary level, but it's not a guarantee that it can be pulled off at the secondary level because of course requirements. Also, parents should know that if they make that request for students at the secondary level, it could affect the extent to which students' course requests can be satisfied.

How will it be determined how many days students in special-education programs with an Individualized Education Program will attend school in person?

Jones: Students with IEPs may choose to receive their services in the hybrid or in the distance-learning model. The IEP team will determine the level of service and in-person instruction that a student receives.

Our students with disabilities that receive most of their instruction within the general education curriculum will continue to do so with their non-disabled peers. The IEP team will need to review what accommodations and services might be needed to support and enable the students with disabilities to make progress in light of their current circumstance.

Our students with disabilities that receive instruction through the Aligned Standards of Learning, or what we call the ASOL curriculum — our intensive programs, our self-contained programs — may receive more than two days of in-person instruction, again as determined by the student's IEP team.

What are parents with elementary-age students supposed to do? Neither of these options work for parents who work.

Lewis: Child care is another very hot topic for all of us, and it's important to not that members of the School Board, as well as members of the Board of Supervisors, have acknowledged this is a great concern for many parents. Our staff with the schools is working very closely with the county staff to assess the child care issues throughout the county.

[We have] sent out a survey to all staff members of the county and LCPS with a questionnaire about the need for child care. Once we have the results back from that, which are due by the end of next week, then we'll also start working on trying to assess those that are not employees of Loudoun County that have students in the system. … We're working very closely, as I said, with the county to try to assess solutions that may involve space in our buildings or county buildings or even other partially-available buildings.

If bus schedules are adjusted, causing start- and end-times for schools to change, when will parents be notified of these time changes?

Lewis: At this point, we are just gathering information so that we'll be able to start the scheduling of our buses. At this time, we are not expecting drastic changes in the starting and ending time of the school day. As parents select their choices for the instructional day, then we will get that information plugged in, and … it could take as long as three weeks to do that.

Knowing some children are sent to school sick, what steps will be taken to prevent sick kids from entering the school?

Jones: With our new situation of COVID-19, it takes a very high level of community concern for our own selves, as well as others, and we will continue to reiterate to parents the importance of your child staying home when sick. Parents and students will be provided information regarding our daily health screening questionnaire, which is provided to us by the Virginia Department of Health and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. It's a symptom questionnaire, particularly about fever or body aches, and if we've answered yes to any of those, we ask that the child or the staff member stay home.

Again, practicing the public health mitigation strategies, should someone come to school asymptomatic … very well will help protect others wearing cloth face coverings and things of that nature. LCPS will also ask those screening questions when students arrive to school, and … we will have a practice of random, no-touch thermometer temperature checks.

How will the school handle the situation when students don't bring their own masks or are not willing to use a mask in school?

Jones: Schools will have extra face coverings available for students who may forget to wear a face covering, or if they don't have one. Again, it's very important to be mindful of the public health mitigation strategies of physical distancing and … all the other things that come with it — the face covering, as well as the hygiene, frequent hand-washing and things of that nature.

What will the school procedure be when an in-person student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19?

Jones: We know the Virginia phase guidance refers to our "new normal," so we certainly will be promoting advanced hygiene and cleaning and disinfecting, and wearing of cloth face coverings as well as physical distancing. Should someone at the school, student or teacher, present with symptoms, each school will have a designated room, what we'll call a "care room," for students and/or staff that present symptoms, to keep them safe from others.

If they do not have a face covering, we certainly would provide them one 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 [Loudoun County] 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 there have been any close contacts. … Those individuals very well would need to self-quarantine, and we would be assisting them through distance learning at that time.

As we have been, we would send [a community notification] out and, of course, implement our disinfecting and cleaning protocol.

If school starts and there's another spike in COVID-19, and LCPS closes its doors again, will LCPS be ready to teach virtually with a more seamless transition?

Williams: Yes. The Virginia Department of Education has emphasized that schools need to be prepared to transition from "Phase 3" back to either "Phase 1" or "2." If the state designates a phase change for the entire state or for Loudoun County, we'd be prepared to shift all students and staff back to 100 percent distance learning as needed, although recognizing that in "Phase 1" and "Phase 2" there are some limited exceptions allowed.

Assessment and grading would stay in place if that were the situation, and there would be more synchronous, or live, interactive instruction, similar to a normal school day.

How do we get up-to-date information on high school athletics? Are tryouts still planned for August 3 for some or all of the sports?

Ellis: 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. I will say that VHSL is meeting next week to continue their discussions and planning for fall sports. 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. We will certainly communicate with coaches, athletic directors and families as soon as we have more information from VHSL.

What criteria will be used to transition back to 100 percent in-person learning, and how quickly will it be implemented once deemed safe?

Williams: This relates to the phase that we're in. As discussed, we're currently in "Phase 3" of the "Forward Virginia" phases, and right now, the phase guidance for Virginia schools issued by [Gov. Ralph Northam] does not provide details regarding the time period that some people are referring to as "beyond Phase 3."

[VDOE officials] state that Virginia will progress through the phases "by monitoring public health data and key measures on disease transmission, health care capacity, testing capacity, public health capacity, decreased contacts with cases and other relevant factors." VDOE recommends that schools "plan to reopen in 'Phase 3' and be prepared to remain in 'Phase 3' for some time."

(62) comments

mover

Sure let's go back to school. But first, consider this:

Found this on a friends timeline. Pretty good questions. I’m really worried for all the kids, teachers and staff. Ugh I wish everything was back to normal. 😫😭

• If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?

• If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

• Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids' families need to get tested? Who pays for that?

• What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?

• Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?

• Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now quarantine and get test? Who is going to pay for that?

• What if a student in your kid's class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?

• What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being terrified?

• How will it affect students and faculty when the first teacher in their school dies from this? The first parent of a student who brought it home? The first kid?

• How many more people are going to die, that otherwise would not have if we had stayed home longer?

30% of the teachers in the US are over 50! About 16% of the total deaths in the US are people between the ages of 45-65. Let's not skirt the issue, we are choosing to put our teachers in danger. We're not paying them more. We aren't spending anywhere near the right amount to protect them. And in turn, we are putting ourselves and our kids in danger.

mover

https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/dc/back-to-school-plans-dc-maryland-virginia/65-7a8bac06-7c3c-4b1b-b05e-038c9b56e23b

Interesting how many local counties are now going virtual or doing the same thing as LCPS but for a month people have been throwing LCPS leadership under the bus for their concerns. I wish I had the time to sit around all day and respond to comments online like VA SGP does. Unreal. Lots of free time to spew so much hate out regarding teachers over the years. And the LCPS teachers being overpaid gets old when Manassas City, Prince William, Fairfax and other local counties all pay much higher later in the scale plus Fairfax and Prince William have a matching extra retirement.

Virginia SGP

Folks need to look at the bigger picture here. The LCPS administration and school board are being dishonest here.

Lie #1: Virginia and the CDC put out guidance recommending 6 ft of distancing. We've seen grocery stores put tape on the floor 6 ft apart. Other school districts like Fairfax did the same thing displaying class diagrams with 17 desks 6 ft apart in rooms smaller than LCPS classrooms. Supt Williams continues to tell parents only 10 desks can fit in LCPS classrooms because he is knowingly using his own 8 ft requirement between desks. All while he claims he "follows" CDC and Virginia guidelines. LCPS classrooms hold 19-20 desks with the 6 ft distancing. Why is Williams lying?

Lie #2: Williams claimed that LCPS does not have enough teachers to cover in-person and distance-learning students. Yet, LCPS' own data from the WABE guide shows elementary schools have 1.6 teachers for each classroom and middle/high schools have 1.4 teachers for each classroom. Williams even remarked they have so many classrooms/teachers, they will have extra teachers take small groups from the 10-student hybrid classrooms into EXTRA classrooms for who knows what. Why is Williams lying?

Lie #3: During the vote on the resolution giving Williams carte blanche to do anything he wants with hybrid and distance learning, SB members objected to including scientific guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as one basis for the plan. Ian Serotkin acknowledged he didn't want to cite any science that would counter his preferred plan. Within days, Virginia added the AAP scientific guidance to its guidelines. If LCPS and the SB are supposedly "following" Virginia guidance, then why are they specifically excluding scientific guidelines they don't like?

4. Multiple agencies suggested that kids only use masks when within 6 ft of one another. LCPS is planning to have desks 8 ft apart in the classrooms but still require students to wear masks. And if kids can't keep their mask on, they will banish them from the schools even though they are 8 ft apart. And it appears that a face shield, which prevents particles from ejecting beyond the student's shield without hindering their voice or preventing others from reading lips, are not allowed as a substitute despite similar effects. On what basis was this draconian directive given? Not science.

All of these statements/decisions are either lies or made in bad faith. If LCPS won't acknowledge the facts, then how can we make rational/objective decisions? This is eerily similar to Orwell's 1984, when facts are rewritten to support totalitarian's dogma. As a community, we must not let it stand.

DavisB

so many lies is so too many words:

Williams never claimed the schools don't have enough teachers and the plans show coverage for all classes without needing to hire additional, COVID-related staff.

There plan is not 8 feet - much smaller

The biggest lie SGP keeps touting is that LCPS could open 100% in person without the go-ahead from the state - this is not true

One of SGP's biggest problems is that he tries to talk about all levels of school in the same breath. LCPS has put out a plan for each of the grade levels that account for the unique learning needs of children of all ages. When SPG writes, he ignores the differences.

I will say that I am not happy with either of he plans because they reduce learning time drastically and restrict the homework students are allowed to do - I am worried that my children won't be cover an entire year of material in time for spring testing. The plans and the way Williams and his team are handing the process is just terrible.

But, don't believe a thing SGP writes. Find out for yourself. Ask a teacher and read the published plans

Pablo

Well, let's see who's lying. The CDC guidance (dated July 8) says students should stay six feet apart. So if the desks are six feet apart, but a human body needs two feet of space in which to walk, then a person walking between desks will be less than six feet away from person seated at one of those desks. So, to allow people to walk between an occupied desk and an unoccupied desk, the desks need to be 8 feet apart, not six, to ensure the people are six feet apart.

DavisB

no- the foot space does not consider walking between the areas - so , your 2 foot of walking space is something you made up - please stop

Pablo

ROFL. If you need space to walk, you have to account for it when you're laying out furniture. It's not something I made up - It's basic human factors engineering. Maybe we'd see smarter posts if folks started thinking about how people will act and interact with the environment, since that's somewhat important in a pandemic.

DavisB

the thinking is that the desks will be 5 feet apart measured from the center of where a kid would sit - not five feet plus an additional 2 feet. The distance is not a hard stop boundary that no one can ever cross as the guidelines talk to extended time within the 6 foot area -

Virginia SGP

DavisB, you can't even keep your lies straight.

1. Williams is on tape saying they don't have enough teachers. He may have backed off that lie but he said it as I pulled the WABE guide and posted it on my Facebook page when he did. As of yet, the SB hasn't started altering their meeting videos, so it's pretty easy to prove you are lying on this one.

2. LCPS put out a diagram showing 8 ft diameter circles. This was posted on the Back2School Facebook group and I even got into it with the person who was measuring inside the room (in a trial run with pictures). He said "don't blame me" for the 8 ft distance, we just followed the specific instructions from LCPS administration showing ..... 8 ft of separation. They actually put the desks in a diagonal grid so there are no columns where kids can walk. Kids would literally have to zigzag between desks and this would lead to a lot more inadvertant touching of desks than the rectangular row/column diagram I drew.

3. The governor's chief of staff stated bluntly that they expect many schools will open in-person at full capacity. They simply require districts to let them know what they are doing, not sanction any plan from the district. Once again, you are lying.

If only we could bet our houses on these issues. You would be before the bankruptcy court quicker than the teachers whine about having to do their jobs.

DavisB

Brian - we all know you don't like to listen to anyone but yourself or actually read but the LCPS plan is widely documented and the guidance from Virginia is easily found - so, stop with your mischaracterizations and lies

But, no matter the specific classroom size or distance between desks, schools cannot open at full capacity. No school in our area is doing this so you beef with LCPS is simply a continuation of you vendetta.

My question for you is how many students or teacher are you willing to sacrifice? If one teacher gets sick and dies, it that an acceptable risk for you? If 30 students get sick and suffer life-long health issues, would you be OK? What number is a good number? When would you say that we should not open fully?

Virginia SGP

Teachers already get sick and die of the flu. Are you suggesting we go into permanent hiding so nobody ever contracts a disease from another person?

More kids will die of suicide from this than would have died even with no precautions. That is on the hands of the SB and Williams as Virginia doesn't prevent opening 100%.

Undermining education for 85K kids for a year will have lifelong consequences for them resulting in $Bs in lost income, lower productivity, and psychological issues. That is unacceptable.

Nobody is asking any teacher who is vulnerable to work. They can seek other careers. They have no "right" to be a teacher. Just like nobody is forcing Amazon workers to stay in warehouses or meatpackers to work processing meat or grocery clerks to remain in grocery stores. But if those folks were as cowardly as the teachers, our economy would shut down and the results would be catastrophic. Thank goodness that Americans throughout all industries have stepped up.

Btw, more than 50% of the teachers in Fairfax voted to return to in-person learning (hybrid model) vice opting for DL. You don't even know what the majority of teachers are asking for. BUt since when did facts or data or rationality matter to you.

DavisB

Ok, Briar. This is so sad. You are OK with a normally healthy teacher dying so that your child can go back into the building 5 days a week? You are ok with your children or their friends getting sick with the virus that could give them lifelong problems?

And please stop trying to compare teachers to grocery clerks. Grocery clerks are not stuck in a room for 90 minutes at a time with kids who don't wash hands or wear masks. Look at the stores around the area and you will see they all have procedures in place includes extensive and frequent cleaning and mandates on masks - something LCPS parents are balking at

I do appreciate that you ended your last rant my endorsing the hybrid mode so maybe you are progressing. I don't care how long it took - good for you to come around and get past you notion of jamming 2000 students and staff into our high school while the virus keeps expanding. I am proud of your growth

Virginia SGP

Grocery store clerks, meatpackers and delivery folks are more at risk than any teacher. They interact with the public at close range or are in close quarters in a factory. Most teachers want to be in school. Only the entitled, selfish ones want to hurt kids.

And if a teacher is in school, 8 ft away from the kids, it doesn't matter for them whether there are 10 students or 19 students in the class as far as risk.

It's obvious the only solution is vouchers now. Teachers can choose where to work and pick a place that pays them for staying home. Students/parents can choose 100% DL or choose a place that will effectively provide in-person learning. Problem solved. Everybody wins.

DavisB

Hey, Brian - here is something that will surprise your. I agree that some teachers should leave the profession because COVID has made it too dangerous for older folks. So, I assume you would agree to early retirement packages that makes this possible. At the age of 50-60, these professionals will not find suitable positions and we owe them a decent retirement since they have been working with this promise for 20-30 years. We cannot back away from what we committed. Even you have posted that retired teacher could expect a decent life after teachers so I am glad that you will support the schools providing them with these early retirement packages.

See, you and I have so much in common

applicant45554

There were several technical issues with this meeting, and this was their Super Bowl. Constant beeping in the first half If the meeting. . Not a good sign for synchronous learning

guest26

I have followed up with LCPS and if the parents do not make an active choice by the deadline of July 15th, the student will be defaulted to the hybrid model. The hybrid model pleases no one. Parents want either 100% in-person or 100% distance model, based on their unique needs. The only real choice is opting into the distance only learning plan. What the message should be is "LCPS is going forward with the hybrid model starting in September, you have a choice to opt into the distance-learning plan by July 15th." Positioning the hybrid model as an active choice is a specious argument that is meant to make LCPS look good, as if this is something that has been truly coordinated with parents and staff.

ExArmyGuy

Has anyone given any consideration that these students have to (in most cases) ride buses to and from the schools? These buses are more confined spaces than the actual classrooms, even though the amount of time spent in them is less than in the classroom. Like someone else stated, I feel for the parents who have to make these decisions.

Barb

Curious - why are they working from home? We are in phase 3 so they should be reporting to the administrative building.....

AnnaB

Phase 3 includes "Encourage telework whenever possible."

Countyrez

Why didn't Williams or the School Board make it public that the Governor's office has told school systems they will drop their liability insurance if they go 100% in person? Or did I miss that?

Call Northam's office, your State Rep, and demand 100% in-person learning because Williams and the School Board are not going to. They have no choice, giving you one is an illusion. And don't kid yourself, this will plan will carry over to the Spring semester too. Here is the link to their contact information.

https://www.loudoun.gov/134/State-Federal-Legislators

Anonmom

Countyrez- Can you please share where you learned this information from?

Countyrez

Why didn't Williams or the School Board make it public that the Governor's office has told school systems they will drop their liability insurance if they go 100% in person? Or did I miss that?

Call Northam's office, your State Rep, and demand 100% in-person learning because Williams and the School Board are not going to. They have no choice, giving you one is an illusion. And don't kid yourself, this will plan will carry over to the Spring semester too. Here is the link to their contact information.

https://www.loudoun.gov/134/State-Federal-Legislators

Loudoun4Trump

8,000 parents show up on line for a bureaucrat run forum on their kids education.....I guess Im not the only one who thinks LCPS can do better for the kids of this county....that's a lot of people who don't seem to be too happy with the school system decision.....hopefully LCPS will wise up and open the schools as just about every county in the country will....

Loudounlistener

Keep on hoping, it won't happen unless parents rise up in public objection.

Concerned1

Not everyone who showed up is unhappy with the decision. Some were there simply to get additional information.

Marys5000

If one child is sick, all of the others will get sick. Just spending 15 minutes in the same room with sick person nearly grants Covid transmission. I do not see resolution for that if windows and doors wipp not open. Also working parents should come up with back up plan to keep sick kids at home. I witnesses many times when sniffing and coughing child was sent to school after a dose of Tylenol. What a shame.

LetSanityPrevail

Cite your source Mary. There are studies like from University of Vermont that show child to child transmission is very low. The ones at risk are more likely the teachers. Sick children who have a contagious disease regardless of what kind it is should always be kept home. No different for COVID than the flu, common cold etc.

DavisB

report this week of 1,000 more children with the virus - this is much different from the flu and common cold - quite ignorant and selfish to write what you wrote

loudouncommonsense

I would urge people to NOT compare covid to the common flu regardless of what numbers show. We know it's mutating, its transmission vectors are not fully going to be known in the short to mid term and children bring diseases home. Proven fact.

Caution must be the watchword.

BobOhneiserEsq

Words were emitted but questions were not answered. HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY MANAGE THE LEARNING FOR AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENT WhO HAS NO SUPPORT NOR AD?ULT SUPERVISION AT HOME? Please actually answer the questions or you will fail the test of credibility and perhaps not earn the $1.4 billion you are expecting. :-)

DavisB

Hey Bob - any chance of you hosting a workshop for teacher on wills and health care directives - I know of many teachers who are worried about their lives when they go back into the buildings and who are looking for help putting together the paperwork their families will need if something terrible happens

jke

Dirty democrats playing Russian Roulette with children's health by refusing to clean schools.

Sunday Sinner

I agree. As a lifelong Republican and proponent of homeschooling, the last thing we should be doing is playing Russian Roulette with our childrens health. I oppose this entire course of action and intend to protesting this grotesque injustice by threatening my childrens health more directly.

NovaDoc

If you are already a proponent of homeschooling, why chime in? Shouldn’t you get back to teaching that the world is only 6,000 years old and that humans and dinsoaurs lived at the same time?

Sunday Sinner

Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?

doverboy

Is our children learning? I hope that they ARE learning English grammar

AnnaB

You missed the joke, Doverboy. There is google for that.

LCPS Parent

Lots of issues, even with the town hall meeting. We just learned that:

1. NO bus cleaning in between runs. Only after morning runs and after Pm runs

2. NO cleaning of student desks in between class. AND students and staff can not bring own cleaning supplies.

LoudounPulse

The whole cleaning thing is utterly meaningless. The virus 99.99% of the transmission cases are from Airborne Particles. Touching surfaces and then your face to become infected is an almost unheard of transmission method. You are more likely to catch something else long before you get Covid. All this cleaning is actually nothing more than a "feel good" action to make people think they have some sense of control over this pandemic.

westernloudounguy

What about if someone eats their lunch at in a desk 15 min. before you have to sit in it for your class? Middle and high school switch classes at least 4 times a day, and as far as I know they are going to be eating at their desks. And since they aren't allowed to clean any of the desks during the day....

DavisB

don't have kids, do you Pulse? They are basically walking germs. The studies about cleaning do not even attempt to look at students who lick things, share waterbottles, never wash hands, ...

AnnaB

Completely agree. Surfaces are not the issue. Buses could be sprayed with Lysol after the children exit and before the bus heads back out - it wouldn't add more than a minute between runs, and it would allow the particles to settle before the next load of kids gets on. Not sure how to manage classrooms since the HVAC systems are largely not adquate, without HEPA filters, etc., and spraying every day while the kids are in there wouldn't be a good idea.

Concerned1

How about kids with significant food allergies? What if they sit at a desk at which a previous student enjoyed a nice PB&J? If students are eating lunch in the classroom and teachers aren’t supposed to be disinfecting between classes....

Countyrez

What a working parents supposed to do? Neither option works for them.

Williams: [We have] sent out a survey to all staff members of the county and LCPS with a questionnaire about the need for child care. Once we have the results back from that, which are due by the end of next week, then we'll also start working on trying to assess those that are not employees of Loudoun County that have students in the system.

What?!?!? Williams is determining the needs of the county and LCPS staff, then based on their needs, he will determine what is the best solutions for the taxpayer with two working parents?!?! He didn't really say that did he? If he did, it is an alarming illustration of how LCPS admin feels about parent feedback and needs.

This hybrid model is going to be a disaster LCPS Admin will have to own, at the expense of our kids education, unfortunately.

DavisB

not much of a choice, though - cannot open with 100% because of the virus so the hybrid model offers the only alternative to complete distant learning

Virginia SGP

That is knowingly false.

Classrooms seat 19+ desks with 6 ft of distancing. Fairfax has a picture with 17 desks spaced 6 ft apart in their document in a smaller room.

Our class sizes are 20, 22 and 23 students each for ES, MS and HS. With 1/3 taking distance learning, we have way MORE than enough room for 100% in-person learning for those that want it.

We also have 1.6 teachers for every classroom in ES. And we have ~1.4 teachers for every classroom in MS and HS. That is more than enough to teach both in-person and DL.

There is no reason (none, nada, zilch, only make-believe BS from Supt Williams and the SB) not to have an option for 100% in-person learning.

DavisB

no, cannot open with 100% in school - - you are knowingly writing false statements

NovaDoc

You are delusional and have no concept of what goes on in a classroom. You can not get 17 desks with 6 feet of space and the students and their stuff in a secondary classroom. Secondly, teacher/student ration doesn’t work out by dividing the number of students by number of teachers. You are not taking into account the MANY students in self-contained or inclusion classes that have teachers that work with them individually all day or that require special programs or therapies. You are wrong about class size as well. LCPS tries to cap classes at 28-30 in secondary. Nearby counties don’t cap until 35. There are many reasons to not offer 100% in-person learning now which is why no school system in the country is mandating a 100% return. You should cram yourself into one of the 19 desks you claim fits so you can learn some bettter math.

Virginia 5GP

VA SGP, get a piece of graph paper out. Take a room that is 30x30, a desk that is 2'x2' and tell me how many you get in that room. I got 16. That was with the desks being 2' away from the walls , no cabinets and no teacher's desk and no room for the teacher to stand. Add all 4 of those into the equation, you get in the 10-13 desk range.

DavisB

no one in the right mind would want 2,000 kids and staff wandering around a school on any one day - what business these days allows that kind of density? Even Disney is spacing people out

Virginia SGP

In the Fairfax back-to-school materials, they showed classrooms that were less than 30 ft on each side. Each of the classrooms have 17 desks. So when you see these LCPS apologists justify 10 desks and claim that is the "correct" number, think about much larger, more professional districts putting out numbers 70% higher in published materials.

The guideline suggests students (point sources) should be an average of 6 ft from one another. That means that the distance from the mouth of student A is 6 ft from student B.

On the floor, put pieces of tape that are 6 ft apart across the width of the room. To get 5 pieces of tape, you only need 24 ft (start at 0 and 4 students away is 24 ft). On the top of each of those pieces of tape, place a desk. The student sits in the desk. The student is 6 ft away from their peers. This is exactly what Fairfax did. It is exactly what Costco, Target, or others with tape on the floor do.

Now, the desks near the walls extend out slightly. a 24" desk will protrude 12" from the center. So we actually need 24 ft + 2 ft to accommodate 5 columns of desks. That gives an extra 4 ft on either side of these 5 columns. In between each column, there is 4 ft of space for the students to walk. As they leave/enter the class, they wear masks so it's not a concern.

LCPS classrooms are about 31 ft long (whiteboard in front). If you use the same math above, you can fit 4 rows of desks (with the back one against the wall) and still have about 10 ft of space in the front. If we use the satirical account's method, we would get at least 25 desks (5x5). Remember that desks themselves are not spewing contagious materials in the air. Only humans do that.

Loudounlistener

AM/PM shift shared by ALL students for 100% live classes.

doverboy

And there is a good chance that parents have no one to blame for this than themselves. It has been reported that when the surveys were sent to home, some families took the survey as many as 35 times in an effort to skew the results. I don't blame the schools for forcing the decision between hybrid and virtual. When parents can't be trusted they deserve to be treated as the children they are trying to protect

AnnaB

"With 1/3 taking distance learning, we have way MORE than enough room for 100% in-person learning for those that want it."

But possibly a percentage of that 1/3 are only selecting distance learning because there isn't a 100% in-person option? If LCPS said, "Oh look, so many families chose DL that everyone who selected HL can come full time" people would be (justifiably) ticked off.

Virginia SGP

That is a strawman argument.

We can accommodate MORE in an in-person model than will be scheduled for hybrid instruction. Thus, while ultimately a weighted lottery may be necessary, it would still provide more people the chance to have instruction in school while still allowing those to have DL learning.

It is likely we could accommodate ALL those who wanted in person learning. For example, resource/study hall classes should be in the auditorium or gyms. We are not going to put kids running in the gym coughing on each other. Put desks in there. That removes 12% of any kids in the school (1 out of 8) for MS or HS. So let's say 80% (instead of 2/3) choose in-person learning. You only need space for 70% of the total student population in regular classrooms at any time. That is essentially the same as the desk layout above. We can absolutely accommodate the kids IF AND ONLY IF the administrators will do their job and stop trying to make every excuse in the book to abdicate student education this year.

DavisB

SGP - stop, you don't know what you are talking about - there is no way to safely accommodate all students while we are in phase 3 - have you ever been in a classroom or the hallways - 2000 high school students tossed together with 100 staff is a recipe for disaster - so, keep you theoretical numbers to yourself - they are simply not right

Virginia SGP

DavisB, why don't you take your criticisms over to Fairfax where they will put 17 desks/students in each of their SMALLER rooms. Are you suggesting Fairfax "doesn't know what [it] is talking about"?

DavisB

talk about egotistical, SGP. Only you could take a critique of your own thinking and project that onto all of Fairfax. No, I do not mean to question Fairfax and I am certain they do not care at all what you write, no matter how wrong it is.

The state determines how schools can open. Until we are past phase III, the schools have to implement the procedures they are using by offering the hybrid and distant learning plans. We are seeing these same approaches all across the country.

What is really telling is that I don't see anything in your writes about the need to keep teachers safe. Maybe start there?

Loudounlistener

AM/PM shifts for ALL children

jke

Upper Left corner AS, lower right corner BS, lol

gtrunner

My heart goes out to all parents who are facing a tough choice on how best to safely educate and care for their children. Ny wife and I don’t have children, but we understand the stress parents are under as the days tick away to the new school year. We hope the situation doesn’t lead to long term family and economic stability issues.

DavisB

Yes, we are struggling with this decision. We are especially concerned with the restirctions on homework the schools are imposing on teachers. Our children are used to doing homework everynight and some on weekend for tests and major projects - why is there a limit on this. I am positive that my kids will not be ready for their AP exams this spring unless we hire a tutor. Both plans are incomplete, ignore needs of kids and families, do only the minimum for safety, and seem to be written to limit the liability of the schools instead of maximizing learning.

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