Loudoun County Public Schools will have a county-wide return to classes Sept. 8, concluding a summer filled with deliberation over how to approach the new semester in the shadow of the COVID-19 health crisis. Here’s a list of back-to-school facts and details to keep in mind.
-LCPS will return to school with 100 percent distance learning with very limited exceptions, per a Loudoun County School Board vote on July 22. The board had previously approved a hybrid learning model, in which most students would attend class in person two days a week and families had the option to select full-time virtual learning.
-The Academies of Loudoun's Monroe Advanced Technical Academy will hold some in-person instruction for students in more hands-on courses, including cosmetology, auto collision and culinary arts. Nearly 900 MATA students will receive one day of in-person learning per week in accordance with health mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health.
-LCPS and the School Board are working to prepare for a four-phase introduction of a hybrid learning model in the coming months. The first phase aims to provide part-time in-person learning for select special-education students Oct. 13, as well as preschoolers and certain English-language students by Oct. 27.
-The school system's Department of Digital Innovation is working to distribute Chromebooks to all students, including grades K through 2, who were approved to receive school-owned devices earlier this year. Eligible families with limited broadband access can also apply for a mobile Internet hotspot, though adequate coverage by either Sprint, T-Mobile or AT&T is required for use.
-Before LCPS opted for 100 percent distance learning, the issue in-person versus virtual instruction polarized the community. A group of about 75 parents and students protested outside the LCPS administration building June 22 in support of 100 percent in-person learning in the fall, while many school staffers favoring 100 percent distance learning participated in a Loudoun Education Association-led "Solidarity for Safety" rally the following month.
-“Yes, our preference would be for 100 percent in-person learning for all students, safely delivered, and while that’s not where we are, we’re incredibly enthusiastic about the start of a new school year,” LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams said during a webinar hosted by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Aug. 19. “Teachers can’t wait to meet their kids, principals are excited that teachers are back to work this week.”
-More back-to-school information is available at lcps.org/ReturnToSchool2020.