Loudoun parents protest reopening proposal

Rachael Levine, a rising 10th grader at Heritage High School in Leesburg, and her mother Lori Levine attended the rally on June 22 at the LCPS Administration Building in Ashburn. Rachael said she is ready to return to school with 100 percent in-person learning.

Parents, students and teachers in Loudoun County have mixed reactions to a proposal announced last week by Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams outlining plans to provide in-person instruction two days a week and virtual learning three days a week come the fall.

No definitive plans for the 2020-2021 school year have been finalized, however.

A Facebook group with 8,500 members has been weighing in on Williams’ reopening plan, with a majority of the members in support of 100 percent in-person learning this fall.

On Monday, a group of about 75 parents organized a protest at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building to speak about their frustrations and to ask the superintendent to consider other options.

One of the group’s leaders, Erin Roselle-Poe, is a mother of two boys, one in elementary school and one a rising high school student. She said the distance learning this spring was not productive for her sons, and she would like to see an option for students to either go to school full-time or do distance learning full-time.

“These decisions are made on fear. Kids will suffer. They are separated from their peers, and they need face-to-face interaction. Many children learn that way. We need to come up with a better plan,” Roselle-Poe said.

Missy Hillenbrand, who launched the Facebook discussion group more than two weeks ago, said when she saw the reopening options she felt concerned about her son, who will be entering high school this fall.

Loudoun parents protest reopening proposal

Rachael Levine, a rising 10th grader at Heritage High School in Leesburg, and her mother Lori Levine attended the rally on June 22 at the LCPS Administration Building in Ashburn. Rachael said she is ready to return to school with 100 percent in-person learning.

“It really upset me to think my son would have another year of nothing. My idea is to keep it simple. Parents can choose to go to school online full-time or in-person full-time. The families will assume the risk. The hybrid model is a scheduling nightmare,” Hillenbrand said.

Hillenbrand also believes that if kids are not back in school, the spread between advantaged and disadvantaged kids will become greater, and there will be many children who fall behind.

“It’s not fair. It’s not equal education across the board, and the at-risk community will suffer,” Hillenbrand said, referring to the hybrid learning model Williams has recommended.

At Monday’s rally, Jean-Paul Bergeaux of Leesburg said he is a father of five children and believes the schools should reopen fully with an option for those at high risk to opt out.

“We should put cameras in the classrooms for people who want to learn from home,” he said.

Suzanne Satterfield of Lansdowne said her son will be a senior in high school this fall, which will be an important year for him academically.

“They need guidance in the school from counselors. There are so many questions for these kids in the last year, and grades matter. I’m here not just for my son but for other people who cannot be here,” she said.

A couple of Loudoun County teachers have mixed reviews of the proposed plans. They said they are eager to be back in the classroom doing the work they enjoy.

Christie Opauski, a fourth-grade teacher at Tolbert Elementary School in Leesburg, said she is committed to doing what’s best for kids. However, she has concerns about the added restrictions with wearing masks, social distancing and cleaning the classroom and how that will impact her and her students.

“I also have concerns for keeping all staff and students healthy with the required time and fidelity to ensure these tasks are done well every day, all day. This significant time devoted to these practices will impact the quality of instruction. I have tremendous concerns about the amount of actual instruction that will occur with all the added responsibilities and limitations,” she said.

Loudoun parents protest reopening proposal

Ava Rotell, a rising 8th grader at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Ashburn, holds a sign that reads, “Give us the choice.” Her sign is in reference to LCPS’ plans for reopening in the fall.

Jason Augustowski, an English teacher at Riverside High School in Lansdowne, said he is hoping to get back to school.

“To me, the classroom is the best place to learn, but I also primarily just want everyone to be safe,” he said. “I worry about people who would have the additional stress of a weakened immune system and who would need child care.”

Christy Berman, a teacher at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, said she too is ready to return to school because it is the best thing for the kids.

“There’s a small minority who thrive with virtual learning. However, I’m going to do whatever they tell me to do to the best of my ability,” she said.

Other parents do not support reopening schools.

Shelly Slebrch said she has very mixed emotions about going back to school full-time with in-person learning. She does not support Williams’ hybrid model, which she believes will not work. Her son is a rising senior at Dominion High School.

“There is no reason why you can’t have a camera in the classroom and hold the kids accountable,” she said.

Loudoun parents protest reopening proposal

Erin Roselle-Poe, center, organized the parent protest on Monday at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building.

Anna Maynard posted on Facebook a suggestion to live stream classroom instruction with remote student participation and use the substitute teacher pool for real-time support for kids in digital learning modes.

“I’m thinking more of having someone monitoring time in the digital classroom, helping with technical issues or finding resources, providing basic guidance ... and just being there to help kids stay on task,” Maynard wrote.

Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard said that Loudoun County Public Schools’ preference for returning to school in August would be for 100 percent in-person learning as long as they can provide learning experiences safely and in accordance with the requirements and recommendations of state and public health officials.

“Local health conditions and the phase of recovery we are in at the time will determine our plan, based on the state’s guidance that we comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physical-distancing precautions and other measures to protect the health of students, staff members and families,” Byard said. “LCPS welcomes parents’ input on the prototype plans we have presented to the School Board. We encourage parents and guardians to answer the survey that we launched on Thursday, and provide input in writing and through public comments at the virtual school board meetings.”

Most students say they are ready to return to the classroom. Sydney Sikes, a rising junior at John Champe High School in Aldie, believes everyone should go back to school for in-person learning.

“Distance learning was not working. We can offer choices for people who want to do online classes,” she said. “Not being around other people is not good, and being alone with your thoughts can be dangerous for some people. We are going to see suicide rates increase.”

Rachael Levine, a rising 10th grader at Heritage High School in Leesburg, said online learning was difficult, and she is worried about having that type of instruction again in the fall.

“I like hands-on learning with the ability to ask questions. It was basically like teaching myself,” she said of the past few months.

Elizabeth Vermette, a mother of a middle school student and a high school student, expressed frustration with the way the plan was put together, noting that administrators proposed the plan first and then asked for parent feedback. She feels it should’ve been the other way around.

“It is a mismanagement of funds and staff resources to do it that way. You don’t know what we think because you didn’t ask before you put the plan together,” Vermette said. “We need to have live teaching everyday. Everything they are talking about is not addressing kids who are high-risk, those who only get lunch at school and need to be around other kids and adults who care about them. Social interaction is so important, and mental health is a huge issue.”

Loudoun parents protest reopening plan

Suzanne Satterfield of Lansdowne attended Monday’s protest at the LCPS Administrative Building.

Loudoun parents protest reopening plan

(96) comments

HotWheels

That crowd lost me with their "my way or the highway" attitude and not wearing masks.

Why don't they follow what neighboring Jefferson County did? They ran classes online, gave lectures, had students break into smaller groups to work on projects, even had their PE teachers log in and made everyone do exercise together. That is pulling it together. What did Loudoun do? They spent their time making slides and the students were left to teach themselves.

Loudoun needs to stop wasting their time and get ready for next year because self-teaching with just slides aren't going to work this time and we all know it will end up within weeks back to DL.

They also need to think about the services they skirted-- like sped or esl. Accept that it will probably be like this till Spring and get ready for the bumpy ride.

EducatedLiberal

Wow... take a gander at those fragile, selfish “protestors.” Not sure what’s more sad - the people selfishly prioritizing themselves over their community, or the kids of those people who are clearly brainwashed into parroting mom and dad’s commandments. Also, notice how everyone in these pictures is without a mask - wouldn’t be surprised at all if there were a bunch of right-wing nuts in that crowd.

Keep the schools closed, it’s the right and only thing to do. In-person schooling is a huge waste of time anyways, parents just don’t have any insight into that since they’re not the ones in the classroom.

Your selfishness and uneducated stupidity does not trump my health.

Loudounlistener

"It was basically like teaching myself,” that from a 10th grader, imagine a 3rd grader saying that...

Anonymous3425

Also can we address drug use in Loudoun county schools. Most students pile 4 or 5 in the bathroom and share e cigarettes or other drugs. With bathrooms being a breeding ground of this virus. Especially kids who care more about a 15 min high with damaged lungs or don't know how to wash their hands when they leave the bathrooms. How do you expect them to spend seven hours at school and not take off their mask or share e cigarettes with their friends.

LoudounResident19

Distance learning will not work for our kids. They need the controlled environment of a classroom in order to absorb material without distraction. Further, my wife and I both work to pay bills and cannot stay home 3 days a week to help teach them, nor do we have the background to teach advanced classes like chemistry, physics, or calculus. Why is opening schools 100% and giving parents the option of distance learning or in-class learning not on the table? Seems this is the utilitarian solution, so why not?

LoudounResident19

In the solution suggested above, it would be at the risk of the parents who want to send their kids to school full time. I am willing to take that risk (said to be .16%, or .0016) so that my kids get a good education. There is also an inherent risk with flying in a plane or swimming in the ocean but we don't avoid these activities, and certainly a child's education is more important than a summer vacay that might include these activities.

Virginia SGP

The reason that they are not considering opening - the ONLY reason - is because teachers are demanding they keep their highly-paid jobs and dictate how the schools run. The VEA and LEA are making demands that prevent 100% in-person learning. There is evil in this world. The VEA and LEA are at the top of th list.

LCPS teacher

@LoudounResident19 - don't listen to Virginia SGP, aka Brian Davison. He has a SERIOUS ax to grind with the district....the district he loathes, but still sends his kids to school there. Look around at area districts. There is not one district that I'm aware of in the area that is doing anything different than what Williams has proposed. Just look at neighboring Fairfax County as an example. Take a look at what Arlington is talking about. https://www.apsva.us/engage/planning-for-reopening-schools/

You anger is valid, but you need to look to Richmond...to our Governor and to our state officials.

P.S. Arlington has even higher paid teachers...shiftless teachers who just sit home, collecting HUGE amounts of money and eat bon bons all day like us Loudoun teachers...at least that's what Virginia SGP says about Loudoun teachers.

Loudounlistener

The directed surveys pointed to teachers' predominant opposition to 100% live classes, while the majority vote from parents was FOR 100% live learning. The LCPS board is a lobbyist for the teachers in LCPS.

Loudounlistener

"It was basically like teaching myself,” said a 10th grader, imagine a 2nd grader having to do that, which is what has happened.

Virginia SGP

We have seen both Connecticut and Illinois give guidance on full in-person school openings. Why is LCPS so backwards?

John M

That whole meeting of the school board was a joke. LCPS sends out a survey asking parents for input on how the next school year should play out and hours later, Supt. Eric Williams announces the plan, clearly not waiting for the survey results to come in. Then, at the meeting he tells everyone he doesn't care what the results are! This is so typical! Ask the people what they want/think, and show your arrogance by completely ignoring the will of the people. I commend Harris Mahedavi (I think it was him) who said he felt like a hog being led to slaughter, with no choice at all.

These kids want and need to go back to school, but instead Supt. Williams will force families to send kids to daycare, who rely on caregivers to clean the facility instead of the janitorial service a school provides, putting them at more risk. Kids need to interact with each other, they need to learn in the proper environment, and sitting at home three days a week is not it.

LCPS teacher

@John M - It was Jeff Morse's comment about leading the pig to slaughter. I anxiously awaited to hear the results....and there were none. Were the surveys just to placate the masses?

John M

LCPS Teacher: LCPS Teacher- thank you for correcting me (I've been out of school for 35 years and I'm STILL getting corrected by teachers, haha.), and kudos to Jeff Morse for his comment. Unfortunately, there were no results shared and yes, I believe the survey was just another way to make us think we had a choice. Also, thank you for what you do!

ChocolateDinosaur

Also masks do work, to say otherwise is in direct contravention to reality.

In the 16 states where wearing face masks in public is not mandatory, “new coronavirus cases have risen by 84% over the last two weeks,” the Inquirer reported.

(con't)

Eleven states are requiring residents to wear face masks, and these states — many in the Northeast — have seen a 25% decrease in new cases in a two-week span, the Inquirer reported.

ChocolateDinosaur

Misinformation here - there is a poster posing as their own foil in an attempt to make some kind of point. Make use of this as you will. They have done the same thing on Facebook and been caught before.

Virginia SGP

Are you your own foil?

ChocolateDinosaur

I knew that would catch your attention. [innocent]

Virginia SGP

It's unfortunate that you need to take on so many identities. At least there are no longer 20 different "guest"'s.

Fortunately, there is only one Virginia SGP. While LCPS blew SGPs off, who would have know student growth precentiles would have become so famous in Loudoun.

LCPS teacher

@Virginia SGP...there's the Brian Davison we have all come to know... "there's only one Virginia SGP"...such arrogance. We all know you well. You really need to work on those soft skills to learn how to play nice.

Virginia SGP

Ok, LCPS Teacher. Let's go slow. Many folks get upset that the silent majority support most of my views. And some not-so-silent folks speak up on these boards in support. The teachers' union types who protect ineffective teachers, teachers who sexually assault students, and teachers who want to get paid but not work next year attempt to claim that anybody who supports me is simply a fake account in disguise. Many parents are coming to understand what these teachers represent in this time of COVID.

But as noted "there is only one Virginia SGP" account. I don't have fake names to generate ongoing conversations. I have pledged to take lie detectors (can anybody related to LCPS actually pass one?) to prove this. LCPS also tries to push this fake narrative with defamatory statements but is a knowingly false statement to justify their illegal behavior.

My ideas are not new. To any rational, educated person they are "common sense" (quotes from many people). The fact that LCPS-affiliated folks cannot understand them doesn't indicate I am in any way "smart", but just that LCPS-affiliated folks are so ignorant. But nobody can deny that while LCPS and Virginia (illegally) ignored student growth percentiles (SGPs) while taking $Ms in linked federal funds, most people in Loudoun and LCPS are now very aware of what an SGP is because of these discussion boards.

See, reading comprehension is not hard. It's never too late to learn.

LCPS teacher

@Virginia SGP - Okay...I'm going to SLOW this down for you too...(I can be condescending right back) So if you have so many people in your corner, why am I not seeing support for you here in the comments? You have made quite a name for yourself with your antics for quite some time now...and not a good one...throughout the county. I wonder what it's like to be your children's teacher. Anyway...like i said....let's see about getting you help to work on those 'soft skills' you lack that have caused you so problems with playing nice with others. Haven't you ever learned that delivery is as important as the message you're trying to deliver? I believe, you're never too old to learn....

See...being nice isn't that hard. “Even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to life in a redeeming way.” - Learn from Mr. Rogers.

Virginia SGP

You honestly don't know what parents say behind your back? I agree with you that many are not courageous precisely because teachers can be vindictive. Dozens of parents have told me they want their names silent because they fear retribution from teachers or LCPS ad their kids attempt to get into college. If you can't see that teachers inappropriately use their power to silence criticism, then you are just oblivious. You can most clearly see this when folks are given choices. How many parents/students would choose their current teachers if given the choice about where to go to school? How does it feel knowing that you are the only alternative for so many who would have made different choices if given the chance?

LCPS teacher

@Virginia SGP....Such gratuitous statements...Mr. Statistics...can you show me your formal poll results? I don't have to worry about people talking about my back. I enjoy fantastic rapport with not only my students, but parents as well. I'm tough, but fair. I hold my students accountable, but care about them and will be with them every step of the way if they need it. I just had a parent write to me today hoping I'm teaching the next sequence in a class I teach because she's got another child taking that class. Had another of her children before...Teacher of the month more times than I can count...Parents writing to me to thank me and tell me how much their child enjoyed my class...how much they learned in the subject area...I could go on, but I'm not going to waste my time...you wouldn't believe me anyway...

Why don't you take your kids out of LCPS...your source of such anger and disgust...all those high-paid, lazy whiners and put your kids in a private school...or better yet, with your level of intellect, just homeschool your kids? Since you can't get vouchers, let's start a GoFundMe for you so you can remove your children from the school system you loathe. It may help your blood pressure. Still offering to find you help to improve your poor soft skills...I'm off to eat bon bons Brian...

LCPS teacher

And for those of you who may be unaware, here is what is being proposed to Fairfax parents. These are the only options.

https://alexandrialivingmagazine.com/news/fcps-to-let-parents-choose-return-to-school-model/

DrDoctor

FAIL

Eric Williams should resign. His proposal, "The Loudoun County Anti-Education Proposal for Public Schools-Fall 2020" is terrible.

Health and safety is a priority for our kids. Those parents with health concerns have an option to keep their kids at home for online learning this fall. I support that.

The Super Majority of Loudoun parents WANT OUR KIDS BACK IN SCHOOL this fall-FULL TIME , Mr Williams.

Teacher and school admin health is a priority as well. I think we all respect someones concerns for individual health issues. Every profession is addressing this issue and individuals have to either return to work or not.

Our focus should be the kids of this county. We just had a spring session of next to no learning via home study. These ages NEED in person interaction with teachers and peers for real learning to take place.

Where is the school board? They are supporting Mr Williams which is a shame. We need to elect people that care and that support common sense learning policies.

Can someone ask Mr Williams why he did not have parents involved with his planning? Parents were not brought into this discussion until after the fact for a reason. This proposal is ludicrous and stinks to high heaven.

LCPS teacher

@DrDoctor - Dr. Williams does NOT enjoy 100% support from our school board. If you participated in this past Tuesday's painfully long meeting, you would have seen that. I

DrDoctor

Thank you LCPS. I am very aware of the meeting content and did not mean Williams has 100% backing.

Loudounlistener

The directed surveys pointed to teachers' predominant opposition to 100% live classes, while the majority vote from parents was FOR 100% live learning. The LCPS board is a lobbyist for the teachers in LCPS. What about an AM/PM schedule for all students?

LCPS teacher

I am an LCPS teacher and really want life to go back to normal so I can get back in the classroom with my students. I am not alone. I have yet to speak to one colleague who feels differently.

As for the masks...Who cares about the 5 cloth masks each teacher gets issued Cloth masks have been deemed ineffective...completely useless. I guess I can put all 5 on at once and hope for the best. The only people who are deserving enough to get shields and N-95 masks are people like the nurse. It makes sense, but it doesn't make us any less exposed. And let's be real and tell it like it is. There are all too many parents who play the Motrin/Tylenol game. They know they shouldn't be sending their kids to school, but dose them up and send them off, only to have the Tylenol/Motrin wear off while they're at school where the kids come crashing down and end up in the clinic. I have high schoolers who come to school plenty sick and tell me it's because their mom made them come and wouldn't let them stay home. What's to stop unethical parents from continuing to do that...except now we have to worry about COVID too.

The distance 'learning' that went on during the initial crisis is not the same plan if the schools were to employ a distance learning model now. The hybrid model is a disaster for SO MANY reasons. After listening to the entirety of an obscenely long school board meeting the other night, there is much that is unresolved and somehow needs to be worked out before school opens in 2 months. I don't see how they can do that effectively. Why not use the first quarter for distance learning to get all the unresolved things resolved and give the powers that be a chance to see how this virus is going to play out or to see if there will be a second wave that could potentially cause us to shut down as a result anyway?

These are unprecedented times that have all caught us by the short hairs and we all DESPERATELY need life to return to some sense of normal. It has a taken a toll ON US ALL. How about a little decency...a little grace...a little mercy at this time? As Jeff Morse said during the school board meeting, "It feels like we're leading the pig to slaughter."

Virginia SGP

Suppose a private school offered only distance learning? Could the private school force its former students to return? Or would the students possibly choose a private school that met their needs?

Why should LCPS be forced to only provide distance learning when many parents want in-person learning, believe the risks are negligible for folks under 50, and there are teachers willing to hired to teach in-person? Is there a real reason or is it you just really want to keep your job but work remotely?

LCPS teacher

@Virgnia SGP - Brian, normally, I wouldn't even dignify your question with an answer, but since you have remotely civil, I will. My first sentence said that I, like my colleagues, want to be back in school. Perhaps you missed that. I would much rather teach my students in person than do ANYTHING educational online other than answer emails or use Google Classroom as a tool to support what we're doing in class. I watched the entire school board meeting the other night. There is no perfect solution and all districts are subject to the direction of the Governor and other state authorities. The superintendent didn't have solid answers for some of the school board members questions. Hence, Jeff Morse's comment about it feeling like pigs being lead to slaughter. There remains much that is unresolved; including a plan for how to handle a child or staff member who contracts COVID-19 during the school year. My proposal for the first quarter online was so they could more effectively get their ducks in a row. Perhaps we wouldn't need a whole quarter to do that. There was also some discussion that night about bringing back the teachers on time and pushing back the start of the school year for the students. I suppose that might also be a solution. My sons who are in college are facing some similar proposals for the Fall semester. My own children really do best with in-person learning as many students do. The hybrid plan that Dr. William is proposing is still putting them at only 40% synchronous learning and 60% asynchronous. At least the 100% DL learning model gives them much more face time with the teacher each week for not only instruction, but to get answers to questions. It's much more like a normal week; it's just online. Attendance will count and grades will be taken, though I have tremendous concern for their academic integrity. The proposed 100% DL learning is FAR MORE improved from what we were given to work with for the 4th quarter.

I can't speak to what a private school would do. I haven't even explored what some of the local private schools are doing, but would be interested to see what they are doing. I know that what Dr. Williams is proposing, the hybrid plan, is something that area districts, Fairfax, included are planning to do or are considering doing. They are working within the confines of what's been set forth by our governor.

Why not take on the Governor with all your statistics about mortality in the school-aged population to make your case for what I would guess is 100% in school instruction? If you think Dr. Williams is so worried about his staff in all of this, think again. He's more worried about the backlash from rabid parents. They bought cloth masks for staff...5 of them. They wasted their money as cloth has been proven to be highly ineffective. I spent an hour shopping yesterday, having to interact with a sales associate through a surgical mask. We both had difficulty understanding each other. We joked about how badly we were sweating under the masks in such a short time too and I felt like I was suffocating. Teachers spend HOURS speaking. I can't imagine what a day will be like...and that's just with the mask and not counting all the other things we have to do unrelated to direct instruction. Other than 100% back-in-school, there is no other plan that is without problems.

It's no secret what you think of teachers. We're all expendable and there are plenty of candidates lined up to take our place. We're all lazy and overpaid and eat bon bons all day. Yes, some teacher sucked during distance learning, but many more were awesome. Those who sucked likely suck in the classroom too. They need to be called out. Their principals and possibly HR need to get involved. But, in my building alone, I work with some incredibly dedicated professionals who care about their students tremendously. We worried about not only how the students were doing educationally, but how they were doing mentally. I heard from quite a few students who were really struggling mentally.

During distance learning, on average, I spent 10-12 hours a day on the computer responding to emails from students and parents and providing meaningful feedback on the work that students did. Unless I received an email in the middle of the night...and yes, kids sent emails in the middle of the night...no one waited more than an hour to hear back from me. That last week, I received a barrage of late work (I HATE the late work policy the district has in place) from kids who started, petered out and then restarted or kids who decided to start working for the very first time on all the work they never touched in an effort to salvage a P for the 4th quarter or earn that random and very subjective grade bump. I HATED the grade bump because of it subjectivity and how it was applied by different teachers. I was on the computer upwards of 18 hours a day for school in that last week (thanks to a really lousy late policy). In the end, I received emails from both parents and students thanking me for keeping them so updated throughout the entire time we were home and emails from students thanking me for continuing to teach them and help them learn through all the craziness.

Neither the hybrid model nor the 100% DL model is perfect by any means. But hey, you're a big STEM guy, I'm surprised you're not all over DL. Ultimately, whatever is decided is what I'll have to do. I love my kids and will do the very best I can to help them achieve success.

Virginia SGP

Just like Supt Williams, teachers are simply not aware of the research on this.

I have posted links to research articles (Lancet) that shows that face shields provide the same protection as face masks in general (admittedly N95 provide some additional protection). A face shield is reasonable for both students and teachers. It does not restrict breathing. Students can hear the teacher.

This is why I ask LCPS what is the risk reduction they are trying to achieve. Research says that a 3 ft separation reduces risk ~80%. Each additional 3 ft reduces risk by half. So does using a face shield. So if the CDC generic guidance of 6 ft separation is replaced by 5 ft of separation + face shields, then you EXCEED the risk reduction proposed by the CDC.

What you appear to be suggesting is that the CDC guidance of 6 ft separation is not sufficient. But what number is? You could say that we require (i) 9 ft separation, (ii) N95 masks and (iii) face shields (much of this protection relates to eye where the virus can enter). If that is the case, we cannot have any in-person learning.

This is what "critical thinking" is - something that LCPS preaches but proves incapable of doing. If we say the risk reduction required is X%, then how can we most efficiently achieve X%? Why is X% needed instead of Y%? The CDC is not going to give specific procedures because they acknowledge that conditions vary. The procedures for a nursing home would be different than for a school with 5-18 yr-olds who are negligibly affected.

If we had these teachers walk in a 8 ft bubble (look it up for pictures) so they were forced to separate and breath filtered air, would that satisfy teachers? Throwing out "we are not protected" without any specifics is useless. But this is what we have come to expect from teachers. Why is that acceptable to anyone?

LCPS teacher

@ Virginia SGP - You're not a teacher and my guess is that you've never been in a classroom for a full day or really any extended amount of time. The reality is that teachers don't stand at the board and just teach. We interact with our students right at their desks all class long, in much less space than is recommended for social distancing. I would welcome the opportunity to wear a face shield instead of a mask, but the district, instead, bought ineffective, useless cloth masks. Why not get our school logos painted on them so they can be used as spirit wear (total sarcasm included)? Just stop dissing teachers. We are caught in the middle just as your children are...those children who attend schools in a district you absolutely loathe. You use these forums as a bully pulpit to espouse your beliefs. In case you haven't noticed, I don't see throngs of people jumping on your bandwagon. I've really tried hard to engage you in a rational, civil discourse..

Virginia SGP

Nothing of substance. No response to the science. That's what we have come to expect from LCPS.

Loudounlistener

I seriously doubt if your second grade teachers were spending 10-12 hours a day answering emails and grading papers...

Loudounlistener

LCPS Teacher, If it's required that teachers don't just stand at the board,then what is distance learning?

What4

You want life to return to normal but we're in the middle of a global crisis. I do get the sentiment. Everybody wishes COVID went away but that's just not reality. We're stuck with it and just have to make do as best as we can. You know as well as I do that no plan with make everybody happy. We all want our kids to have some fairy tale life growing up - make great friends, get good grades, play a sport, go to prom, get accepted into a great college etc... But sometimes life happens ya know. I was a refugee from a war torn country and made it to America despite all odds. I had some challenges to say the least but turned out fine - at least in my mind. Ha. To all the parents hoping for a dream life for their kids, I applaud you for trying but I just want to let you know that adversity is not the end of the world and that our kids can pull through whatever plan is finalized by the board.

Loudounlistener

This has nothing to do with the debate.

doverboy

I have to apologize if my comment seems uneducated but I don't remember the instruction manual which came with the virus. What did I miss? Was it the part where the virus goes away after a predetermined length of time? Was it the part where it is stated how schools should schedule for the next calendar year? Everyone seems to forget that schools and businesses, as well as physicians and parents, are learning on the fly about this pandemic. What seems right today could be corrected tomorrow, what seems like a great solution today doesn't look so swell 4 weeks from now. People need to relax, stay focused on beating the virus, protecting their kid's health, and take it easier on supervisors, managers, directors, and neighbors

DBC

doverboy - from what you are reading, what are you seeing is the best way to beat the virus?

LCPS teacher

@doverboy - Amen! Thank you for your caring and rational response.

Virginia SGP

doverboy, why don't you go pay the rent and utility bills of those single parents who must work to stay alive? Extra unemployment benefits will be gone and not everybody gets to sit back, get full pay from LCPS (including last year's $7,000 raise), and work from home while providing grand total of 4 hours of live instruction.

loudounresident

That Facebook group is predominantly "return 100% or else" because anyone who disagrees with them leaves the group out of utter frustration! There are others who have remained just to watch the show... but it does not accurately reflect how the families and staff of Loudoun feel.

Virginia SGP

You are 100% that it doesn't reflect the staff of LCPS. Their position is to give them another huge raise like the $7,000 one they got last year, let them work even fewer days at home no less, and withhold a decent education from every single child. As they say, schools were built to give them high-paying jobs and protect teachers at ALL costs, not to educate these foolish kids.

LCPS teacher

You are completely right. I had to leave the group, as I know many teachers did, for peace of mind and my own mental health. They bordered on rabid at times sadly.

rational

God help you if one of your children get sick because you want what you want, when you want it. How very selfish.

DBC

Did you read where the CDC statistics show that for kids b/w 5 - 17 only 3.5 out of 100,000 are hospitalized for COVID? Also, did you know that for regular (non-COVID) flu that numer is 25 kids per 100,000? Should we close school every winter forever even once COVID subsides?

ChocolateDinosaur

Let's make sure to get those brave teachers paid appropriately. It was overdue before Coronavirus.

DavisB

maybe start with provide PPE instead of insisting they supply their own as the schools are saying

Virginia SGP

More lies I see DavisB. LCPS already said they purchased 5 for every staff member.

I have an idea. Why don't we wrap each of the staff in a 6-ft bubble so they cannot get within 6 ft of anybody or anything. We can put a positive-pressure ventillation system on it so they will quit their incessant whining. Or we could fire every single one and only hire those who are willing to go to work like EVERY other private worker out there.

LCPS teacher

Effective (key word) PPE - Cloth masks are proven ineffective.

Virginia SGP

You got a $7,000 raise last year and you are incapable of buying a $3 N95 mask?

LCPS teacher

@ Virginia SGP - My sister, an RN, is provided required PPE by her employer.

LCPS teacher

@Virginia SGP - did you forget about concern for the kids? Don't you think, in this incredibly litigious society (and I know YOU know about suing people), that they're afraid to be sued if some kid comes down with the disease...or worse, dies from it? Teachers only matter to him enough to help him execute the plan with your children.

Virginia SGP

Did you hear anything I said at the SB meeting? You cannot sue the school district for financial remedies. They have sovereign immunity. One must prove gross negligence. By definition, LCPS is evaluating the costs of no education vs in-person education and allowing kids to work remotely. Thus, they have no case. Neither do teachers who can see another job.

Stop throwing out strawman arguments that have no basis in reality.

LCPS teacher

@ Virginia SGP - I was having difficulty getting into the meeting at the beginning so I did not hear what you had to say. I wish I did.

Virginia SGP

It's recorded. I think I am speaker #2.

Loudounlistener

appropriately? LCPS teachers are already paid at some of the highest rates in the country. $40,620 - $104,120, the bottom scale for entry level. My wife is a nurse in a prison, and I work in a warehouse where are both essential workers, yet we both do not get danger pay. Everyohe's brave, but staying at home teaching behind a computer is not brave.

WhatHappens

This is what happens when you get a group of administrators together to make a decision. You get a ridiculous plan that every county in the area is hopelessly devoted to. Alternating days is a nightmare for everyone. Alternating weeks would have been much more acceptable to the community, but nobody was hearing any of that. On top of that, they survey parents and staff with no intention of ever looking at the survey. As always, dissenting opinions were labeled crazy, called names, and silenced. Finally, and worst of all, we still have no guidance as to whether they will follow CDC guidelines. Just knowing that is crucial to parents who are deciding between staying home and coming back, because following the guidelines to the letter could mean a series of yo yo’d closings and re-openings. Board members know this is a ridiculous plan, the question is, do they have the courage to lead.

Virginia SGP

So let me get this straight. The CDC doesn't recommend goggles, glasses or face shields even though they reduce the risk by half. They generally recommend keeping 6 ft of distance because extending the distance from 3 ft to 6 ft also reduces the risk by half.

Are you suggesting following the CDC guidelines to a T will avoid any chance of contraction? But using rational, workable solutions like face shields and 4 ft of distancing (actually greater protection than CDC) will result in massive outbreaks?

Are you out of your mind?

WhatHappens

Lord have mercy, you're so busy looking for a fight that you miss the fact that someone actually is agreeing with you! Regarding CDC guidelines, I'm referring to guidelines for quarantining when you have been exposed to someone who is positive. Based on these guidelines, everyone who came in contact with that Positive case would need to quarantine. You would eventually run out of substitute teachers and, if the guidelines are followed to a T, you'd need to shut down the school, hence the Yo Yo'ing. Lighten' up Francis.

Virginia SGP

During contact tracing, they make assessments about who is in close contact. If you are not in close contact, no quarantining.

Supt Williams intentionally mistates the guidelines or guidance to adjust as necessary. The SB and administration are total disasters.

DrDoctor

Good post WhatHappens!

The Board does not have the courage to lead which is why we find ourselves in this terrible position.

LCPS teacher

@DrDoctor - if you had watched the school board meeting this past Tuesday, you would have seen quite the opposite. You would have seen Dr. Williams squirming to come up with answers and simply deflecting. There are certain board members who are absolutely holding his toes to the fire.

DrDoctor

LCPS, again, I am aware of what was said at the meeting. I did not mean to suggest that Williams has the full support of the board.

Williams is out of touch and needs to go. He is a disaster for Loudoun County education.

Loudounlistener

I'm all for a creative solution, how about an AM/PM shift?

ChocolateDinosaur

Oof. I don't disagree that schools are going to need to open for lots of workers to get back to their offices but oh my there are some cringe families in the above article. Definitely need to get these kids in school, away from their families, and educated so that they can think critically and make informed decisions.

Social media will be looked back on as the cigarettes of this era - Facebook and Twitter have done a number on so many young and old. Very sad.

LoudounPulse

Distance learning is a disaster for children. The kids don't learn. They are distracted and if the grades don't count, the older kids know they can skip all the assigned work, but cause it doesn't hurt them.

We need schools to be 100% open. Not some hybrid system to appease elderly teachers who need to retire. Not a single child has died in Loudoun from Covid19, so there is no reason to mess up the 2020/2021 schedule.

Open the Schools 100% and give the scared parents the option for distance learning. But do not make it mandatory for everybody.

Pablo

Well, I guess that pretty much explains why the Republicans were flushed in the last Supervisorial elections.

BelindaB

That was emergency distance learning. When we do it next school year there will be “grades.” Please educate yourself.

LCPS teacher

Thank you very much!

DavisB

the problem is that parents do stupid things like letting their kids go to beach week and then attend graduation and other gatherings, spreading the virus or never insisting that their kids (or themselves) wash their hands - this virus is not over yet and parents like many in Ashburn are the reason why

Virginia SGP

You mean, those kids are going to develop immunity whereas they cannot give you the virus come September? Is that what you are complaining about now even they have virtually no risk to themselves?

Loudounlistener

Ashburn has a very low rate of infection.

LCPS teacher

Have you even looked at the superintendent's proposed plan for distance learning? From your comments, I highly doubt it. Much more time will be given synchronous instruction and students accountability. Attendance will be taken. Grades will count. Do you know how many parents I dealt with who didn't send the message to their student that it was important to hang in there and continue participating? Sickening. I had a parent tell me she was not going to have her student participate in the lousy 30 minute class we had that met once a week. I had a ton of kids not turn in one single assignment for the entire time. I had parents tell me they were giving their kid an early summer and many kids checked out on March 12th. What message are you giving your kid by doing that? On the other hand, I was refreshed by the parents who stuck to their kids and made them stay engaged and do the work. Sometimes we have to do things for the greater good to achieve something without necessarily directly getting something out of it. This trophy mentality generation has told me many times in class that they're not doing the work unless they get a grade so I told them you never know if you'll miss a grade by not doing it. I'm not giving you this to keep you busy. I am giving this to you to help continue learning. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, not every paper I ever handed in got a grade.

Loudounlistener

Go ahead and keep believing what they tell you....like Mulder, I WANT to believe, but this is reality. They are selling you a lie...Attendance will be taken and grades will count, for what? A 6 year old CANNOT learn math, reading communication skills by computer...Nor can you retrain some one who has learned their whole career how to teach in class how to do it 50% online in 2 months...vote for an AM/PM shift...

Loudounlistener

Agreed

1995 Resident

While my child has graduated from the school system, I've followed the situation closely through news reports, briefings and discussions with school age parents. Personally I don't believe two days in school and three days of virtual learning is a viable option. It's a logistical nightmare for parents and teachers. Students who do not do well with virtual learning will be at a disadvantage. (Not to mention those two income families who can't supervise their children and must rely on someone else to be the monitor, if that would be a affordable, viable option.)

I think a better solution, that no one has mentioned, would be to have split sessions 5 days a week. Morning and afternoon sessions would give students stucture and parents an asemblance of order..

LCPS teacher

And Dr. Williams has already said that this won't work because of the problems with transportation so it's not even on the table.

Virginia SGP

Supt Williams is a liar.

It is true that there are 3 staggered runs in the morning (ES, MS, HS) and 3 in the afternoon. But one need not repeat that for half-days because the bus drivers can both unload and load during a mid-day run. Thus, they only need to make 9 total runs which can easily be accomplished.

I have no idea why folks listen to the congential liar Williams.

applicant45554

I’m not sure many folks understand what this plan actually does. Working families are going to have to come out of pocket for supplemental child care. Many organizations like Open Arms in Broadlands are already planning the on filling this void. That’s going to undermine the safety goal (more germs spread across populations of students) and cost everybody more money at the ultimate expense of families and especially unprivileged children. We really need to start experimenting with vouchers at the high school level.

Virginia SGP

Vouchers now.

LiberateLoudoun

You're not going to get anywhere with LCPS. You need to go after Northam. Northam needs to follow his own phasing plan that he's now backpedaling on. If he did, we'd be in Phase 3 right now and most likely in Phase 4 by the end of summer and the kids would all be back in school 100%. Problem is, the liberal left (that controls Northam) won't let him!

Virginia SGP

There are no requirements whatsoever on LCPS. How is this not the SB's responsibility?

sterlingcl

SB needs top cover from our doctor/governor. They won't do anything unless Northam is on-board.

LCPS teacher

Exactly right. All these superintendents are taking their leads from Richmond...You can thank Governor Northam for where we are right now.

BobOhneiserEsq

Loudounvamom, School Board Members are both expected to and required to speak formally as part of the board to maximize the efficiency of the school system and mange the Superintendent and through him the $1.4 billion/year operation. THEY CAN NOT HIDE BEHIND "concerns" expressed on Facebook! Can you seriously tell me that what is in the best interests in a 5 years old is to work from home 60% of their school week? You do appreciate that not all parents can actually help their children with assignments which is a major part of why universal education is required out of fairness. Was part of the plan a reduction in budget since there is a major reduction in services provided? :-) (I DIDN'T THINK SO)

Virginia SGP

Unfortunately, the founders of this group have received pushback from their teacher friends who inundated the Facebook group. The teachers use anecdotes without any data to criticize the mission of the group. Instead of standing strong on the goals of the return-to-school voices, the founders have begun silencing those who oppose the teachers. In effect, the teachers have taken control and squelched the voices of the parents within that forum.

The only way to truly solve this is to provide vouchers to students where

1. Teachers cannot dictate that Madison or Juan or Dominique be forced into their classroom but rather the student's parents pick the best education

2. Teachers are free to cower in fear at home without any place of employment or to switch professions but if they actually want customers, they have to provide something of value

3. Taxpayers would still get an educated electorate but in the most efficient manner without spending $1.4B on an inefficient and ineffective nightmare

You are about to see students of all backgrounds have their education destroyed. Not only will many kids not learn anything, many will regress. Kids will reach 4th grade where they are supposed to read to learn (as opposed to learning to read mainly up to that point) without the reading skills necessary. These nonsensical plans will dash dreams, they will destroy families financially, and it will impose massive economic losses on our country for decades as the generation that was not educated passes through the system. It doesn't get much worse than this man-made disaster.

Waterfordresident

Nothing like a kid holding a sign with an incorrect spelled word. I’m sure the LTM will delete the picture once they realize it.

Virginia SGP

Nothing like the grammar police who doesn't understand the difference between an adjective and adverb in their own comment.

BobOhneiserEsq

Where is the school board on this? Did we hear a "PLAN"? Was it half the students report in alternate day intervals with the off day using remote learning? Does that mean teachers and staff get paid (so the $1.4 billion is spent) but students get 40% of what we paid for and much less should than students deserve and have expected? It makes no sense to fill the class to the brim and then stay home 3 days as some kind of health program! What do your school board members think about ignoring the state statute that authorizes school boards to be school boards in the first place? (22.1-79)

LoudounVAMom

BobOhneiserEsq you are obviously out of the loop. The school board (especially Denise Corbo and Beth Barts) have been extremely engaged with the public and provide updates regularly on their school board FB pages. They’ve asked lots of questions and stated concerns and ideas at the last couple of school board meetings. Tonight’s is a very important one where Dr Williams is asking the school board to pass a resolution supporting LCPS’s current planning efforts for next year. Many have said they can’t at this point as there are too many unanswered questions but regardless, it has been explained by the SB that Williams can move on this without SB support. Obviously he doesn’t want to do that though. The school board agenda for tonight can be found here: https://go.boarddocs.com/vsba/loudoun/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BQASJ772DD10

You also need to review Williams proposal as it is not as you describe at all. https://www.lcps.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=14&DomainID=31513&PageID=229785&ModuleInstanceID=306347&ViewID=fa1f7d98-e7bf-458b-a7e2-7d51c266e481&IsMoreExpandedView=True

I’m not in favor of it because I want my kids in school 100% in person but before you comment on Williams plan, you should review it.

Virginia SGP

Bob was right about virtually the entire plan. The only slight issue was that classes are only filled with 40-50% of the density (half stay home each day and some will want 100% distance learning). Instead of trying to critique a largely accurate picture, why don't you get a clue. Barts and Corbo are the ones who are opposed to returning to in-person instruction to satisfy the cower-in-fear teachers.

Schools do NOT exist to employ highly-paid teachers with 100.0000000% safety. Schools exist to effectively educate students. That means in-person instruction when the mortality rate to those under 50 years old without underlying health issues is 1 in 40K.

Pablo

Exactly! Schools exist to effectively educate students, so if two or three or ten teachers die of COVID then that's OK because teachers are just cheap commodities to be expended and replaced.

Highly paid? The highest paid scale in LCPS - PhD with 30 years experience - earns 2/3 of the Loudoun County median income. If you're just starting, you make 1/3 the median income. How is that "highly paid?"

Don't believe: See for yourself: https://www.lcps.org/cms/lib/VA01000195/Centricity/Domain/69/LCPS%20Employee%20Handbook.pdf

Virginia SGP

Two Step 1 teachers earn over $140K (compensation includes the 17% extra pension comp they get). That is MORE than the median household income in Loudoun for two 23-yr-olds straight out of school.

Did you learn math at LCPS?

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