John Beatty, Beth Barts | Loudoun School Board

From left, John Beatty (Catoctin District) listens as Beth Barts (Leesburg District) comments on the potential extension of the Ad Hoc Committee on Equity during the Jan. 28 Loudoun County School Board meeting.

Update: July 21, 3:02 p.m.

During Tuesday's Loudoun County School Board meeting, Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams will express administrators' belief that the 2020-2021 school year should begin with 100 percent in-person distance learning "with very limited or no exceptions," according to a newly-added board document.

The information pertaining to the potential change in back-to-school planning originally came at the request of board member Beth Barts (Leesburg District), who posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon that she no longer plans to make a motion to direct Williams to implement the change.

"Please see the reasons listed, many of which I agree with and have shared concerns about," Barts wrote in reference to the new document, which cites processing time for local COVID-19 tests, insights from school-level planning and other new bits of information as factors into the division's stance.

Williams' presentation will also explain staff's plan to implement the hybrid learning model in stages in the future.

__________

Original report: July 21, 11:40 a.m.

An information item on the agenda for Tuesday's Loudoun County School Board virtual meeting indicates the board may consider starting the 2020-2021 school year with 100 percent distance learning for all Loudoun County Public Schools students with limited exceptions.

Per the agenda item, board member Beth Barts (Leesburg District) requested the board discuss whether to direct LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams to about-face on the division's current plans to implement a hybrid learning model — with a 100 percent distance learning option — under "Phase 3" reopening in Virginia.

Board documents say the proposed recommendation would include exceptions for special-education and English-learning students who would benefit from in-person teaching services.

This provision somewhat resembles Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) guidelines for Virginia schools during "Phase 2" reopening, which, according to LCPS documents, would implement part-time in-person learning for some SPED and EL students, as well as most children in grades pre-K through 3.

Unless otherwise directed, the agenda item is planned to return to the School Board as an action item at its meeting scheduled for Aug. 11, or sooner if a special board meeting is planned before then.

Barts has not responded to the Times-Mirror's request for comment from Monday evening.

The item comes almost a month after the School Board endorsed the division's current back-to-school plans, and roughly a week after LCPS families and teaching staff were asked to indicate whether they wanted to return to classes via the hybrid learning model or distance learning option.

Tuesday's Loudoun County School Board meeting will begin at 4 p.m. and will stream live at lcps.org/Page/140009.

(160) comments

jke

Quarantine healthy children the democrat cure, lol!

amerigirl

It is an illness it is countrywide and you still think it is a political ploy? Get past your biases and do what is actually best for the country not the politicians.

macncheeze

The problem is that unlike other developed countries with strong, affordable and subsidized child day care systems, for many workers in this country schools have become the de facto child day care centers. Stress over child day care alternatives is one of the key reasons why many parents advocate reopening schools full time. However, such advocacy although understandable is nonetheless short sighted and dangerous. It's not just about the health of the kids themselves, which is obviously a very important matter, it's also about inadvertent transmission of the virus from kids to others.

And no, COVID-19 is not just flu. It is much much deadlier than the flu. While certain age groups and those with weaker immunity are more vulnerable, It could prove fatal to anyone. At the worst part is that it is most transmissive when the person is presymptomatic or asymptomatic. By the time fever, a common symptom, shows up it's all ready too late in that the body's immunity has begun to respond and the virus is probably on its way out.

More Cowbell

Unsure who they're kidding, Kids will not return to school this year, Only good thing coming out of this is Loudoun isn't building more schools or upgrading any schools and they could lay off 100s of positions.

amerigirl

I don't believe you can see into the future, but if that is what happens then people wil have to learn to make accommodations.

Misty Mountain

Has anybody received an email/phone call from Wade Boyd? This is the first time I feel blindsided by LCSD. Don’t like learning of massive policy changes in the paper.

1Bobby4RO

If plans weren’t properly vetted, why did the School Board vote on the Distance Learning and Hybrid option as the method of instruction for the start of the school year at the last Board meeting?

Get the students back in school. If you can’t figure out how to implement the Hybrid option for the 50% who selected this option (either directly or by default), resign and lets get a new School Board and Superintendent in place that can figure out a way to get our kids back in school. The public has seen no progress in developing plans for educating our children AT SCHOOL. Figure it out or let someone else do it.

applicant45554

I think whatever the story is would make a great Netflix series. Lots of intrigue and politics.

macncheeze

Good decision Superintendent Williams. True leadership. You made a responsible, courageous and tough decision to protect kids, teachers and the kids' families. I wish the school board and county would distribute food to children at least when school is in session and have CPS conduct random and frequent wellness checks on kids and their families.

John M

This is where we were headed the whole time. Supt. Williams acts as if he cares about public opinion, but his ego is out of control and he is acting like a dictator. Once again, the few teachers who do not want to return to school (who will also be shopping at Wal Mart, Target, Wegman's, etc.) are the loudest because they simply do not want to teach. The kids want to go back to school and working parents need to return to their jobs- enough is enough of this garbage. This is a flu and the more numbers we see, the more they support that this virus has been greatly exaggerated.

Virginia SGP

He looks so smug during these meetings. I guess when you have flaming progressives who couldn't care less about students backing you on the SB for another 4 years, you needn't worry about the consequences for destroying the Loudoun education system.

wileywebs

Covid is actually far less concerning than seasonal flu (by a factor of 4 or 5) for school kids. They don't get sick and they don't spread it. And in Sweden, where they never shut down the schools, the infection rate for teachers was less than the general population, meaning schools are safer than most other environments.

I say Defund Education, and give us a tax refund if they refuse to do their jobs.

Sadly, this is all politics and union muscle. It's shameful.

Virginia SGP

It's far worse than anybody thought. Here is a Summary of the July 21, 2020 LCPS Board Meeting so Far

1. Give teachers a 6% raise (received 30%+ over the prior 4 years) for working less while 1000s taxpaying citizens are out of work and parents are going to need to spend $10K+/year because teachers refuse to teach in-person

2. Plan to allow teachers' kids attend LCPS school in-person 4 days/week while banning taxpaying citizens' kids from attending more than 2 days/week

3. Destroy the meritocracy of the Academies of Loudoun by creating a "lottery" which (a) doesn't even guarantee admission to the top STEM student in all of Loudoun while (b) tremendously increases the chances of illegal alien, FRL students who may not even be on grade level

4. Push to ban students from attending schools in-person forever as far as anyone can tell ("until it is safe" despite overwhelming evidence that it is safe right now)

5. Pay employees not to work -> this is called "income continuation" aka welfare because despite banning students from the buildings, LCPS wants to pay the employees who have nothing to do.

TEACHER42

Sorry SGP, but you are way off on your raise estimates. They have tried to fix the sag in the middle, but most teachers do not come close to a 6% increase. Plus, many teachers voted to teach under the hybrid structure and are willing to come back to work. The parent/student response was over 40,000 preferred distance learning to around 31,000 who preferred the hybrid. the 50/50 number is inaccurate because anybody who did not vote (around 9000) were automatically marked to the hybrid structure.

Virginia SGP

Teacher42, I guess we should expect false propaganda from a teacher.

The proposed raises started at over 10%. Morse then got support to cap them at 6%. The fact that you lie so openly simply reveals the complete lack of integrity by the education profession.

There is no "sag". It's called exponential growth (you get a 2% annual raise). Every pay scale in the world looks like that. You clearly have no STEM experience.

It's about 100:1 that ANY student or teacher would pass away from LCPS-acquired COVID. The selfish teachers are ignorant and irrational about the science on this virus. And yet we let them teach our kids. The vast majority of you should be fired.

TEACHER42

The 6% raise did not go through, and teachers are taking a pay cut this upcoming year.

applicant45554

Not sure, but I think there was too much coordinated resistance from inside LCPS frustrating Williams attempt to implement hybrid. I’d love to hear what was discussed in their closed door session. No matter what, terrible shame for parents and students. I feel terrible for the low hourly wage employee who has no choice but to assume these same risks and looses their childcare while the people who’s salaries he or she pays don’t have to go to work. Seems very unfair.

Science over Fear

Does Dr. Williams or anyone in Loudoun County leadership know the target IFR for COVID for reopening of schools? I would like to know how low IFR has to go before our kids can go back to school? COVID already has a lower IFR than flu (with a flu vaccine) in everyone 70 and younger (it is actually half of flu in those ages). Therefore, if COVID is already less virulent and lethal than flu in kids without a vaccine, what is the reopen target IFR for COVID. Please be specific.

WesternSky

The County is going to find some way to spend more money by keeping kids home. Everyone's taxes will be going up.

LiberateLoudoun

Eric William's is a clown! He is letting the teachers run the show! They have NO incentive to get the kids back in school. They're still going to take our tax dollars and the teachers are getting their full salaries. Wouldn't you love to stay home and collect your full pay? The rest of society has to go back to work to stay employed, feed our families AND pay their salaries! If the teachers don't want to go back to work, replace them, just like my employer would replace me if I didn't want to go back to work. The data is proving the risk is no worse than a typical flu season. As I've said before, all of you voted these incompetent people into office...VOTE THEM OUT!!

Done with Politics

Dr Williams has been a detriment to LCPS since Day 1 when he created the "One To The World" program; a seemingly well-intentioned attempt at increasing internet use with teachers and students. HOWEVER, it opened LCPS and County Govt operations to unnecessary cyber risk. In reverse this time, he's putting 80,000 children at-risk of delayed development progress by defaulting to 100% distance learning without the support of scientific data. Dr Williams should be demoted to smaller Williamsburg vs the Big League of LCPS

dbressette

"Wouldn't you love to stay home and collect your full pay? "

Are you for real? Who is teaching the synchronous distance learning? This isn't a vacation for teachers and you are being disingenuous to even say that.

Concerned1

According to a Harris Poll, 51% of Americans shifted to working from home due to the pandemic. Guess teachers are just part of the majority here, still working therefore still getting paid.

amerigirl

Have yu been staying home and collecting full pay? Teacher will still be teaching whether it is distance or class learning, they will still be prepping all their classes. Many in society work from home regardless of there being a pandemic and they still earn a paycheck for the work they do. No the rest of society doesn't all go back into their old work spaces to earn a living. Neither of may kids stopped working because they worked from home as can so many others. Smart companies would rather have them work remotely so they won't have to risk another shut down. Some jobs you cannot work remotely, teaching i not one of them. You are not using real data, because the data proves it is worse than the flu. Show some data that says otherwise. I bet you don't even have children that would be attending public school and would risk other peoples kids to prove a point.

FCPS educator

Got make sure ESOL students get their education - who cares about kids who are citizens - going on - everyone who does not want kids back in school keeps saying we must go with the science - well the AAP states kids should be back in school, the Europeans are sending kids back to school based on their studies (lord I hate agreeing with the Europeans) COVID is not a threat to kids - so in reality we are going to destroy a generation of kids to save some Baby Boomers- great logic - the U.S. did not shut down during the pandemics of the 50s and 60's which were far worse- kids need to be in school - we will see a rise in suicides very soon - and other bad outcomes - who will be responsible - the gutless wonders making these choices - I doubt it - they will ask for more money and blame someone else and try to get re-elected the only job politicians think they have.

dbressette

You cannot simply compare us to Europe. Our numbers are going way up. Europe has done what needed to be done. But here is the US, we were bored with COVID by May, wanted a "normal" summer and here we are.

WesternSky

LCPS Leadership and the School Board should resign. This is a simple failure to deliver for our children and for the community they serve. All students will be negatively impacted -- and the poor and disadvantaged will be hurt the worst.

If they decide to move forward, they BETTER take a significant amount of cost out. All cooks, bus drivers, extra teacher, teaching assistants, PE staff, drivers ED staff. Tax-payers should not be footing these expense.

Concerned1

Funny how tax payers without children pay for these expenses year after year without similar complaints.

amerigirl

Did you notice there is a pandemic or did you forget about that? They will still be working unless you want to pay someone else to tutor your kids. Kids along with everyone else have a disadvantage right now but we don't have to make it worse by making them sick. Why would they take cost out? they still have to teach, they had to supply chromebooks so they could.

springerdad

Since Covid-19 is hitting the Hispanic community the hardest does it make sense to bring the ESL kids into school since they may have had the most exposure to the virus.

https://www.insidenova.com/news/special/coronavirus/cdcs-covid-19-survey-in-manassas-identifies-challenges-in-hispanic-community/article_fcd018b6-cacf-11ea-af95-1fb556cc6599.html

LCworker

Mannasas is not in LC, not that far but is a different reality.

springerdad

I would think that parts of Leesburg and Sterling are experiencing the same issues.

LetSanityPrevail

Since LCPS is now going to virtual distance learning they have the next 6 weeks to improve the system that was used this spring. As someone who worked with their grandchildren every day, the system really needs to be more reliable. The teachers did the best they could given the short lead time to get prepared, and some did better than others. I only hope they learn from the problems the systems had and can get them to be more reliable and effective.

I can't imagine how children on IEPs and those who don't have parents or grandparents that can assist them will make out. While there are some children who are self starters and need little guidance and motivation, there are more that need to constantly be pushed and monitored so that they don't fall behind. Certainly going to be challenging.

ace10

The next time you see the (D)s advance their desire to create a county police force, in order to "create more accountability." Think back to this situation and remember that if the head of schools was an elected position he would be forced to explain his actions to taxpayers/parents next election instead of enjoying full and complete air cover from the SB and the BoS.

Educate the children of Loudoun. Act responsibly with Loudoun taxpayers' money.

Jaws

Thank you! That was exactly what I was thinking while reading the article. It seems the board is struggling to show leadership. Sure hope they start to focus on our county instead of trying to follow others.

Misty Mountain

Stability in an important position like a Williams is more important than having the possibility of the position turning over every four years. Too much of a learning curve and potential of policy whiplash. Trust the SB to manage this person. If they can’t they are the ones accountable.

ace10

Obviously I'm not advocating a popular vote for school administrator.

More Cowbell

They have failed us, the taxpayers. Williams never should have been hired. He's been a disgrace. paying higher taxes and getting less. Still too many chiefs in Taj Mahal for this county.

LCworker

1st time I will comment something because this situation involves close to 1000 people that works with me and a few thousand more that are parents that have kids in LCPS.

This will put a burden to, these people cant think on what is going to happen???

- At least 500 bus drivers will be off work! and Im saying 500 just because im being generous because probably is about 700 of them.

- Bus driver attendants. So far a few drivers and attendants have been subject to retirement because are in high risk. But again, no work means the attendants are going to be off work too.

- Mechanics, buses wont be used that means that many buses wont be serviced and honestly doubt all the mechanics will be needed either. so there you have a chunk of people aswell.

- Next group will be dispatch? no need for dispatch anymore, there you have at least 10 people.

- School personal will be reduced aswell because of maintenance.

- Itinerant teachers, those poor souls will lose their job.

- Assistant teachers, why do they want them anymore?? no reason to be there for many of them now that all will be online?

- Kitchen and cafeteria personal, elementary schools will be ok but middle and highschools??? a good chunk of they will be fired aswell. If somebody works in those depts please mention how many people could be off work now?

- Teachers that are doing sports, band.. extra programs for the students? those are gone aswell and arent like 2 or 3, we are talking about a good chunk of people.

- We have a direct cost and a social cost of this idiotic idea. I do not know if they think on this stuff but for example you as a mom work in a store and your kid is in elementary or even in middle school. You know your kid needs to have eye to eye classes. What are you going to do then??? U have to stay home with them, your boss dont let you work from home because you work in a dentist clinic or in a store as i said before, you cant do teeth cleaning or sell stuff from home so you have to quit... so you will have thousand of people that gonna have to quit to take care of their kids.

- THen add the guy that sells the milk and food to lcps, that one is attached to another chain and some of those guys have families aswel you know, they wont last too long because if nobody work, nobody will buy their stuff and they will sink ASWELL you geniuses!!!!

All because they hate one guy so much that they dont care about what is going to happen eh? Wanted or not politics is in everything now a days and no matter if you are from the left or the right, this measure that im sure they knew was going to happen from the beginning is going to take you down aswell, this affects everybody.

There's a risk involved, i know that but what else we can do????? Going to the beach? :/

hardestworkingamerican

Make this your last comment. Presidsnt Donald J. Trump will not fall to your want to be D agenda disguise as a Republican. Shame!

amerigirl

Are you threatening? This is America and if anyone, regardless of who they are or if you agree with them, has their first amendment rights that guarantee them free speech. I don't agree with much of what was said but that only means that if I choose to to I can rebut that comment.

LCworker

What are you talking about??? did you even read??

At this point is not about party positions because all sides are being affected, this involves everybody as a whole.

Does it looks to you I want to be out work?? Lot of county employees pretty much have nowhere to go after this or do you think Costco, wegmans and macdonals will be able to employ thousands of people affected directly or indirectly for this not too smart idea of them???

This is a chain reaction and affect many other sectors. thats what many people and some politicians do not understand.

I do get williams was in troubles and at this point that i know of, who knows how many teachers wanted to go back to school. 30%, 10% ??? Who knows if thats the reason and not politics, either way this pretty much screwed thousands of people, not only lcps employees.

Funny thing, fauquier county is going hybrid from what I know, they are taking their chances because they have nothing to lose. Would be even funnier to see fauquier to success and they dont have the resources LC or Fairfax have.

WesternSky

There are impact to decisions like this. And unfortunately, all the folks above should be laid off immediately. The tax payers cannot and should not pay them for no show jobs.

Virginia SGP

They fooled you with the doublespeak. They use the term "income continuation" aka welfare to employees who do not work but get paid. They said that would absolutely be a part of the plan because they have such a large slush fund in each year's budget. You are getting screwed and didn't even know it.

Misty Mountain

You missed the school nurses and substitute teachers. ;)

DonTomas

If I had kids in High School here, I’d get them a GED course, a car, and suggest trade school or the military so they can get some skills and experience while this goes on, which might be a while.

Misty Mountain

Thank you to all who just had to have a vacation or just had to not wear a mask or just couldn’t social distance. You are part of the problem and not the solution. Now my kids will suffer the consequences of your selfishness.

RightTurn

I would highly encourage you to review the data on the VDH website. The data doesn't support this action by LCPS. You're directing your anger in the wrong direction my friend. https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/key-measures/

More Cowbell

According to Intel reports, too many testing positive, going back to work knowingly, with majority, 65% being illegals. Of course testing does so very little, if you're positive, nobody follows up to make sure you're quarantining..... 1000s roaming Wegmans, touching produce and putting it back...Should have shut everything down for 2-3 weeks back in March, Major blunder by Gov. 95% of businesses/work allowed to stay open are/were non essential.

amerigirl

Please prove that 65% are illegals.

Loudoun4Trump

what a croc of stuff.....williams is a complete embarrassment and way over his head.....5 school board members are right there with him....it is very sad what LCPS is doing to kids education in Loudoun County....sub standard, lazy, zero creativity or desire to teach children....the school system needs a new leader that may be able to change the culture of uncaring complacency...

20164

Why high school track field still locked at this time? Why indoor gyms have opened for months while outdoor track field kept closed?

Misty Mountain

Woodgrove and Valley track have been open.

Countyrez

For those who are interested in learning the facts of the impact on citizens of Loudoun the below link will tell you all you care to know. 0 to 39 years old, 13% of the hospitalizations, 0 to 39, ZERO fatalities. 94 fatalities (91%), 70+ yrs old. 92 of them were in nursing homes. The data shows the greatest risk is for 70+ years olds, in nursing homes, not schools! Look for yourself.

http://dashboardanalytics.info/d/JD2LEHCZk/va-covid-19-localities?orgId=1&var-Locality=Loudoun

Science over Fear

This is not about science. 22 European countries and Asia have opened schools. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that kids go back to IN PERSON school. A child less than 18 years old is 10X more likely to die of the flu than COVID. The IFR for COVID in folks 70 years old and younger is HALF of influenza. Please protect nursing homes and folks over 70 with serious co-morbidities and please let the rest of society get back to life. Our kids are at greater risk for suicide and violence than COVID. A 72 year old cashier with a 16 year old bagger can work at Walmart together for 40 hours a week with no limit to the age of customer that they serve over 8 hours but our kids can not go back to in person school. Please be more transparent and please just schedule school reopening for November 5th. Shameful. On brighter news, Dr. Fauci is throwing out the first pitch for the Nats!

yellowbird

Almost all of the schools that have re-opened have done so with limited class size, social distancing and schedules (Norway - 15 max, Germany - 10 max, Belgium - 12 max). Very few have opened full capacity (Sweden, Israel). Both Israel and Sweden had outbreaks which led to isolated closures. It is about science and keeping a lid on spread. If kids are infected - they may not die, but certainly able to spread it. Which is the purpose most countries are limiting size - to control future outbreaks which lead to closure/shutdowns.

Science over Fear

France opened their schools almost 3 months ago with a worse CFR and IFR that the US because they recognized that their children were in crisis. There are more risk to folks than a virus that has a IFR at .1 to .3 according to Oxford and Stanford. The average age of death

due to COVID is 80 years of age. Protect nursing homes and folks older than 70 with serious co-morbidities. The rest of us get back to life. Anything else is purely political and not scientific at all. We should all be at a consensus at this point if this was about public health and science.

amerigirl

They want to wait so they can have testing done and trump is trying to make sure that testing is defunded in the upcoming stimulus bill. Always about his numbers.

Lawman

The Virus don’t care if you call it Chinese, Kung Fu or Fu Man Cho; it don’t care if you Republican or Democrat. It is going to do what it do, and as long as we have imbeciles that keep giving it a chance, it’s going to continue to win. This is unfair to our kids, but, it’s the adults who are to blame. We listened to the school dunce instead of the smart kid. But we are winning, just look at the virus statistics. Maybe at some point the school dunce’s followers will get tired of winning put on a mask, social distance and wash their hands. I know their kids are tired of all this winning.

WisdomGuidedByExperience

"look at the virus statistics" - does that include the 300 Florida testing sites that admit reporting 100% positive COVID-19 results when in fact they admit that less than 10% tested positive? How do we make sound decisions based on questionable data?

jrintegrity

Unfortunately, many of you think this decision is politically motivated or you are entitled to some tax refund if schools go to 100% distance only. Unfortunately, you fail to realize that it is impossible to keep teachers and school staff safe during this time, a population that is significantly more at risk of complications with the virus than students. Additionally, new data was just released that children ages 10 - 18 are just as likely to spread the virus as adults. If there is inadequate testing or testing delays, then schools become the perfect place for community spread. LCPS already had a teacher die from covid-19 in the spring and many were infected before schools closed. Is it really worth risking the lives of teachers and staff, not to mention increase the risk to students passing the virus to other siblings, parents, or grandparents?

Jeff Mach

If we were California, or Texas, or Florida, I would be inclined to agree with you. But we're not. Virginia is not doing bad as Governor Northam pointed out last week. Loudoun is not doing bad.

What about the very real risk of a massive number of students falling behind?

When did providing a proper education to our children become a secondary goal, and fully funding a system that will not deliver on its promises the main objective?

What is the target here? 0 cases? This may never happen. Even with a vaccine or a treatment, we may be in this for many, many years. How long are we going to jeopardize the education of our kids?

jrintegrity

I would argue that we are not in the same position as Texas or Florida because Governor Northam actually looks at data prior to making decisions, unlike what I have read in news articles in Texas and Florida. The Florida governor in particular is still mandating that schools open with a 100% in person option in the fall. You couldn't pay me enough money to go teach in that environment right now. The Target is definitely 0 deaths to either students or staff in LCPS as a result of Covid-19.

Medical experts say there is a good chance there will be a vaccine available later this year or early next year. It may not completely end the pandemic, but why not wait a semester so that students return in the safest possible environment? Let other states, like Florida and Texas, figure out if 100% in school learning is safe. If they do not close after the first couple of months, then I'm all for opening up.

As for students falling behind, I agree that is a problem. I have a Master's Degree in Secondary Education and I can tell you that teachers and LCPS staff need to do a significantly better job of providing instructional materials, videos, tutorials, discussion questions, reflections, and take the time to actually develop an online course community. That can be done as effectively as it can be done in the classroom using discussion boards, reflection questions, group work, setting clear expectations for how much time students will spend on work for the week, and other instructional best practices that are a basic requirements for effective online instruction. I have participated in online learning in the past and I actually prefer that model of learning as opposed to learning in a classroom. But it starts with teachers setting a level of expectation for student participation and how teachers will communication in an online community. Unfortunately, what LCPS did last fall on short notice was unacceptable in terms of teaching students during the upcoming semester.

Jeff Mach

Fully agree with you.

wileywebs

Great mandate by Governor DeSantis, since he looks at the scientific data and understand kids are essentially unaffected, and need to go back to school. It's good for the kids, their families, businesses and the community.

Virginia SGP

You are mistaken. The projected number of kids who would die from COVID acquired at school in a 5-day, in-person model is about 0.0063 (for the entire year). We would need to remain in this situation for over 100 years before we could expect a single death. As for teachers, it is even less at 0.004 (150 years to expect a death).

The research you cited was mistakenly reported. For kids 10-19, they were the LEAST likely to transmit the virus to a close contact outside the household.

The data do not support your position. But what's more, neither do the logistics. Students can CHOOSE to take DL. Teachers can CHOOSE to work anywhere they want. We have plenty of teachers willing to provide in-person instruction. Thus, there is no rational reason to avoid in-person instruction other than the irrationally ignorant.

BigDaddyVA

This isn’t about the children’s health. It’s a workplace safety issue. LCPS is hardly the only employer wrestling with this. I don’t make any claims that this is the correct decision but you need to shift the way you look at it. DL will probably be Ok — Spring isn’t an appropriate benchmark since teachers weren’t actually allowed to teach. Let’s not forget this disease already killed at least one LCPS staffer.

Virginia SGP

Employees die all the time from outside events. The teacher did not get it from LCPS and was over 70 years old. She should not be working in this environment.

jrintegrity

Where did you get this data? The obvious flaw in that data is that one teacher has already died in LCPS. Another teacher died in Arizona. Not all data is good data. I recommend checking the source first.

Virginia SGP

Please explain how the LCPS teacher's death is at all related to the back to school decision. What assumptions are you making? How does it affect the plan or considerations? If a person died in India this morning, would it change the LCPS plan? Why?

wileywebs

That's simply not true. School kids are essentially unaffected by covid (seasonal flu affected kids 4x or 5x more) and spread it infrequently. Majority of teachers (under 50 and generally healthy) also face little risk. Schools are safe and should fully open. Teachers and others that are older or at risk take can have their needs taken care of (they can still contribute or participate online or by some other means).

This is terrible for our kids and everyone's well-being, and an anchor on the economy. At the higher reaches it is politics. At lower levels it's misinformation, ignorance and groupthink.

amerigirl

You should look at the study from S. Korea. That applies pretty well for kids under 10 years old. Though they can still get sick. The older they get the sicker and more contagious they are. I agree that this is terrible for our kids, but please agree that a pandemic is terrible for everyone. Precautions and trying to stop the spread will have us all back to normal much faster.

wileywebs

By your logic schools can never open. School age kids are affected much more by seasonal flu and colds, and do infect others (unlike covid where kids seldom infect others) with these ailments, which can & do cause severe distress and sometimes lead to death in elders and others with underlying health issues.

The hyped fear has paralyzed our communities and is crushing small businesses. The stress, anxiety, isolation, depression, loss of life savings, and delayed non-covid medical care from sheltering is too steep a price. We need to fully open up and get back to living life (smartly). We now know who to protect and have treatments to care for those who need it, and (despite the misreporting) hospitals have plenty of beds to accommodate all patients. Pediatricians overwhelmingly favor kids going back to schools full time. It's bordering on child abuse to keep schools closed down.

I acknowledge I'm in the minority on this, but IMO the edicts from our leaders seem irrational and political.

amerigirl

Wiley, that is if they were the same disease, they are not. There are vaccines for the flu not covid, it is seasonal not covid, and the flu is not as contagious. Ignorance of the difference is what keeps the virus going. It is not fear that has paralyzed our communities, it is the actual virus and that it is not being taken seriously and therefore is continuing to grow and claim more victims. How smart is to go back to businesses and reopen like other stats have just to have to shut down again like other states have? If they had had a mandatory quarantine in the beginning there would be a grater chance it wouldn’t even be here now. How are you gong to protect people who will have no income if their business reopens because they can no longer collect unemployment? People can’t even get social security until they are 67, are you willing to pay millions of people 50 and older to stay home and sit this one out? The treatment does not always work, they have been using them and people are still dying. I think everyone would rather see kids go back to school. Personally, I am tired of hearing all the teeny-bopper music in the neighborhood. But waiting a few months may get the virus down to a manageable level and there could be a vaccine by then. These are not normal times, they are abusive times, we are all abused by the fact that the virus is controlling our lives and we would all like to revolt against it. But rushing to rash decisions that lets the virus continue lets it win.

LoudounClear

So many people are losing their minds over this. Let's step back and look at how we got here and how we might get out of this mess. First, we have no national leadership so every state and then every county is trying to figure out what to do. Maybe your county requires masks...county next door doesn't. Some people decided to exercise their libertarian muscles and refuse to wear a mask since it's primary value is protecting others...and you know how libertarians warm to the idea of looking out for their fellow man. Until we get very nearly everyone focusing on keeping social distance and wearing a mask and washing their hands and refraining from touching their face, this virus is going to continue spreading with devastating results to the American economy and our way of life. People endured years of rationing and all sorts of deprivations during WWII and now America can't tolerate being unable to go to the movies for a few months? Amazingly sad commentary on our national character.

Jeff Mach

Did you just compare ensuring our children receive a proper education to going to the movies?

amerigirl

No he said that social distancing like not going to the movies and wearing masks to slow the spread would help us open faster.

Jeff Mach

Then why is social distancing and wearing masks in schools not an acceptable option since it's what most people in Loudoun are doing everywhere else?

dbressette

I agree with you 100%. The virus does not care about our plans. The virus has one job....to propagate itself until it cannot anymore, either with a vaccine for us to reach herd immunity. Until then, we have to adapt to the virus, not the other way around. I appreciate that LCPS went through all of the trouble of making the hybrid model. So things have changed. Cases are going up in Loudoun. Two athletes at Broad Run are positive. Once you open things up and people are not doing what they are supposed to, the virus spreads. It does not care about you or your property taxes.

dbressette

either with a vaccine or until we as a population reach herd immunity

amerigirl

In a country this size I seriously doubt you could reach herd immunity without a vaccine. The problem that is really going to hurt is getting testing done and results back in a timely fashion.

dbressette

Right, I agree. My point was that the virus will continue to propagate until it is no longer able to do so.

Virginia SGP

You are mistaken. The projected number of kids who would die from COVID acquired at school in a 5-day, in-person model is about 0.0063 (for the entire year). We would need to remain in this situation for over 100 years before we could expect a single death. As for teachers, it is even less at 0.004 (150 years to expect a death).

The research you cited was mistakenly reported. For kids 10-19, they were the LEAST likely to transmit the virus to a close contact outside the household.

The data do not support your position. But what's more, neither do the logistics. Students can CHOOSE to take DL. Teachers can CHOOSE to work anywhere they want. We have plenty of teachers willing to provide in-person instruction. Thus, there is no rational reason to avoid in-person instruction.

Lawman

Where do you get your data Fox News.

Virginia SGP

I know you don't read very much Lawman so I'll give you pointers. It's from a consortium of infectious disease experts from Switzerland and Johns Hopkins. ("Serology-informed estimates of SARS-COV-2 infection fatality risk in Geneva, Switzerland") I understand you are not very good at STEM so if you need any assistance reading the paper, just give me a ring.

The ironic part is a lot of hardcore Leftists (your kind of crowd) used these number to try to justify closing down the schools. But like you, they were not mathematically inclined and not only assumed everybody in Fairfax would contract COVID but didn't understand that when you use a percent, you have to divide the fraction by 100. Oh well, they work in public schools. And we wonder why minority students get such a horrendous education.

wileywebs

What's appropriate for NY does not apply to SD or WY. If it wasn't for the NY governor killing off 30k senior citizens, and governors in a few other states doing same, the death count (already inflated) would be halved.

We need to open up the schools and everything else. The elderly and those at risk need to be protected but everyone else need to get back to living (practicing good hygiene).

springerdad

Fairfax superintendent recommends starting year with online-only classes

https://www.insidenova.com/headlines/fairfax-superintendent-recommends-starting-year-with-online-only-classes/article_eca10d02-cb7d-11ea-9928-5f658a6c2ff6.html?utm_source=izooto&utm_medium=push_notifications&utm_campaign=Fairfax%20schools%20virtual%20only&utm_content=&utm_term=

ace10

Criminal behavior. Taxpayers and families with school-age children are the victims of fraud.

The DOJ should investigate the school systems in NoVA for possible RICO violations.

And yes, public/government entities can be the subject of RICO actions.

Hornbeam

DOJ is going to be awfully busy if every locality making this decision is to be prosecuted. Are the folks who have refused to wear masks and dragged this out for all of us also implicated? Quite a conspiracy afoot.

ace10

Are other school systems hading out MASSIVE pay raises next year?

Are other school systems acting in concert with one another to ensure that taxpayers don't receive the services for which they have been forced to pay?

Did other school systems offer a choice, only to eliminate on of those options after the fact?

Comparing the actions of administrators who control BILLIONS of dollars in budget has ZERO correlation to the actions of individuals who may or may not wear a mask, which may or may not limit the spread of a virus.

Try to keep up!

Hornbeam

Well, other than the fact that those admins are responding to facts on the ground showing the virus spreading which is directly tied to those who are so insecure they believe their freedom is limited by wearing a mask. Acting in concert? Massive pay raises? Actually believing that wearing a mask may not slow the virus? That’s all contrived nonsense. Protecting students and teachers should be, and thankfully appears to be the priority here. Keeping up would be showing some concern for your fellow human beings and taking those steps within your power to get us all back to normal.

ace10

I'm concerned for taxpayers money and the education of the youth in this county

Two things which don't appear to be on the LCPS radar. And neither are "contrived nonsense."

LCPS takes two thirds of every tax dollar and makes it disappear. They had no problem working out a way to get more of it into the pockets of their employees. Now it's time to earn it. DELIVER THE SERVICES FOR WHICH WE ARE PAYING.

Teach the children of Loudoun or get out of the way.

amerigirl

Hahahaha

Misty Mountain

Do you understand the definition of racketeering?

ace10

Yes. Perfectly. Do you?

Plenty of issues to look into.

I would begin with the no show jobs and honest services fraud. See where it goes from there.

LoudounPulse

This is complete BULL!@#$%.

The Board gave us the choice and the lemmings who chose 100% distance learning can stay at home. While those who picked Hybrid go to school. If they change this over with 100% distance learning, every board member needs to be replaced at the next election.

amerigirl

You vote your way and the rest will vote their way.

Hornbeam

It’s unfortunate that this has become such a political issue and so much hysteria blinds folks to the fact that this is the correct decision. It’s a terrible situation, and very difficult for parents, teachers and everyone involved, but it’s the only safe option given the trends across the country and the clear evidence from France, Israel, S.Korea, etc. that schools can indeed be the source of outbreaks. Kudos to LCPS for making the correct, if difficult and somewhat unpopular decision here.

Virginia SGP

You are mistaken. The projected number of kids who would die from COVID acquired at school in a 5-day, in-person model is about 0.0063 (for the entire year). We would need to remain in this situation for over 100 years before we could expect a single death. As for teachers, it is even less at 0.004 (150 years to expect a death).

There have been no significant outbreaks in Europe. The Dutch don't even recommend kids wear masks OR distance themselves from each other.

The data do not support your position. But what's more, neither do the logistics. Students can CHOOSE to take DL. Teachers can CHOOSE to work anywhere they want. We have plenty of teachers willing to provide in-person instruction. Thus, there is no rational reason to avoid in-person instruction.

DavisB

those are you projects - they do not represent anyone with any knowledge of this virus, medical background, public policy, or education

Virginia SGP

That is from:

1. The number of kids in LCPS (fact)

2. The number of families who chose in-person (actually 60% instead of the 50% that selected it)

3. Hard research from an extensive Swiss study (authors include Johns Hopkins experts too)

4. Only one assumption -> that 10% of the population in school would acquire COVID which is astronomically high (conservative)

Folks over 50 years old should make their own decisions about teaching. We do not need them. If they want to take the risk, sure. But there are many careers they can pursue.

Virginia SGP

Btw, didn't you create a new profile called SueMe? If so, where did it go?

Pinkerton

As pointed out in an earlier article's comments, Virginia SGP's numbers mistakenly use the mortality rate as a multiplier when it should have used the fatality rate. So, ye, "the projected figures" are simply his own flawed calculations.

Virginia SGP

Pinkerton, you do understand mortality is the same thing as fatality, right?

Let me guess... you are a teacher who doesn't understand math?

BLT

I guess I'm not surprised that the commenters who have been most vociferous about reopening everything and getting back to normal are now completely missing the link between our backsliding in our fight against the virus and that mindset. Wake up. This virus doesn't care what you think...

Baseball

Virginia schools use property taxes to fund their schools. If you send your children to private schools you still pay property taxes which funds the schools. The schools are county run and many other states are District run. Funding & taxes are different. We get whatever the state can supply to supplement the schools. It’s easier to open the schools back up than

closing. Teachers sign contracts yearly. How many of you who are government workers are home instead

of the office? This is not political it’s a pandemic. How many have you lived through one before? Until a vaccine is available we are at the mercy of this ever changing invisible virus. Support your teachers. Just like you they would rather be at work without a pandemic hovering.

amerigirl

And you are talking about a normal world. There is a pandemic, respect it or lose to it.

Master Bedroom

As I have stated previously, Eric Williams is bad for Loudoun County education.

This county needs strong leadership during these challenging times and Williams does not have the leadership skills needed.

Matthew

Lil Napoleon needs to be fired, the deaths that will result from their ignorance will be on the Board and the little man.

Countyrez

Utter collusion with Fairfax County and Prince William County. The School system is taking the path the Board took to extend the shutdown, colluding with surrounding counties to hide amongst the herd. Cowardly approach. Williams lack of leadership. Give him a call, let him know in person. 571-252-1020

amerigirl

well then you are going to have to add a lot more counties across the nation they colluded with.

applicant45554

I can’t believe I’m witnessing this. What a massive train wreck. I’d love to know what went on behind the scenes to cause this about face after all the planning that went into the hybrid model. Maybe some third party - the BOS, governor, Democratic Party officials or somebody else was able to pressure this SB member - either carrot or the stick. Looking forward to watching it on Netflix either way

amerigirl

Always a political reason, no, it is a safety issue.

David Dickinson

I am happy that none of my children attend LCPS, and they will be a year ahead of all the other kids because of it.

More Cowbell

So in other words this will be a do over year for all kids, because if they start with distant learning, they will stick with it throughout most of the school year. After first semester, you have holiday season, then potential for bad weather in Jan/Feb. Most kids will struggle, never catch up to the grade level, especially the younger to middle school age kids. Whether a kid learns will really be up to the parents...And yes, we the taxpayers should see a 50% cut in property taxes at a minimum in Loudoun.

Duncan Idaho

Why are we still discussing this? Do the hybrid option and then when the apocalypse doesn't happen, let's go to full time for the spring semester.

amerigirl

What if it happens and you have no teachers left?

BAB

Why even bother going thru the sham of having us decide which option we want for our children??? Hope whoever is left in county during the next election votes these idiots out, I am not sure I can stomach much more of this "cr.." (was censored for spelling it out) and pay such high taxes, may be time to leave for greener pastures if I have to home school my children no need to pay Loudoun taxes.

ChocolateDinosaur

Excellent point, make sure you are registered and have a plan to vote. Make sure that your voice has been heard!

https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation

amerigirl

Didn't your kids get chromebooks? They can learn online because I doubt you were homeschooling them.

Matthew

When can loudoun expect refund checks?

SueMe

Refund checks for what? Please do explain

Matthew

Well genius, no buses, no facilities, no need to build new schools .... etc. school budget needs to slashed significantly and returned to taxpayers.

amerigirl

They will still have buses fr special ed and English learning students. The schools will still be needed when the pandemic passes, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out. .

Voltaire

Matthew--unfortunately, the County has probably issued the General Obligation bonds for the construction of new schools and facilities. If you try to cancel them, there would be litigation from the bondholders who purchased them so those costs would be factored into your calculations. If you tried to cancel contracts for new buses, there would be termination costs that would need to be considered also into the calculations.

WesternSky

Refund checks? Your taxes will be increasing. Loudoun will find a way to spend more.

amerigirl

They are still teaching, they made sure everyone had chromebooks and hot spots where necessary, didn't your kids learn?

Jeff Mach

No amerigirl, my kids did not in fact learn anything. In elementary school, the rest of the remote school year had no new teachings in it. It was all rehashing what has already been studied. So from the get go all the elementary school kids are running behind. Not sure about middle and high school.

Two hours of Google meet session a week and a bunch of slides with no interactions with teachers whatsoever do not qualify as education.

I just hope they figure something out that actually amounts to real face time with real people this time, because I can't spend my time playing teacher to a bunch of Google slides while working a full time job. And I'm sure most parents are in the same boat.

ace10

Thank you for providing perspective from a parent who works, pays taxes and relies on the County to educate their children.

Misty Mountain

I had MS and HS students last year. They continued to learn new material in Q4. However, it was not ideal as you mentioned for your ES. They spent 4 weeks basically reviewing what was previously taught until they figured a best way forward. Due to the never before circumstances we thought the teachers did a good job. Of course it could have been better. It concerns us the SB didn’t learn what worked/didn’t work. Every company / gov agency has moved to Zoom. Why can’t Loudoun do that? Of course it won’t replace a physical presence but may be better option than google docs.

Loudoun Observer

Fairfax started discussing this possibility yesterday. Why did it take Loudoun an entire 24 hours to follow them? Or is it just the media lagging? If you want your kids to have a hybrid option, you folks are barking up the wrong tree. You need to be attending the Fairfax meetings, because Loudoun will just do what Fairfax does.

amerigirl

Sure then I guess they just followed what so many other counties in the nation have done.

Jeff Mach

What I'd like to know at this point is what is the school board considering doing to reduce the budget. Because I have a hard time believing we're going to have to pay the same amount in property taxes if we're going to a 100% remote model.

If teachers work from home as they did in the past 3 months of the school year, then so should all schools' administrative staff.

There's no reason for heating, cooling, cleaning, cutting the grass and general grounds maintenance of all our schools buildings on the usual schedule if they are not actually used as schools.

If there is then... Are we paying for the education of our children? Or are we paying a bureaucratic system that mostly looks out for itself?

LoudounBornandRaised92

I'd argue there's still a reason for general grounds maintenance. Have you been around a green area that hasn't been maintained for months on end? It costs more to fix it in the end than to maintain it the whole time. Just saying.

Jeff Mach

I'm not saying completely stop heating/cooling/maintaining. But reducing it would be good. Of course it sounds like they'll still use schools for some level of education (special needs, ESL). So I guess the answer to my question is no, the budget won't be significantly reduced. Which is just mind boggling to me.

LoudounBornandRaised92

Fair enough. I believe (at least some of the newer schools) are compartmentalized in regards to AC/heating. So it could be running in the main office and one hallway, but not in the gyms of cafeteria. Things like that. I have no idea if that's the case for older schools, however.

Misty Mountain

In theory your thoughts are very good. In reality, we would be shocked to learn the cost of different expenses. Increase cloud, web hosting costs, laptops to elementary students (you have an ES so maybe they didn’t get laptops - when my kids were in ES they didn’t get laptops), some kids needed hot spots. Like I said in theory you are completely correct. Let’s hope your theory is correct although hate for people to lose jobs over this. Just not a win-win situation we are in

Voltaire

LoudounBornandRaised92--I agree with your statement.

amerigirl

What makes you think the administrative staff isn't working? Buildings and lot ill still require some maintenance and up keep. They are looking out for the kids, along with their families and teachers.

springerdad

This was the warning shot across the bow. The decision has most likely already been made. They are just trying to lessen the blow when they formally announce the change.

Goldstar

Process question - at this point is this just one member (who already didn't want the hybrid model) asking to revisit the decision or does this signal real support to revisit the decision?

LoudounBornandRaised92

The post from SB member Sotkin said that this recommendation was coming from the Superintendent and his staff. It is separate from SB member Barts motion that will be brought to the table today.

LoudounBornandRaised92

Apologies - I misspelled SB member Serotkin's name.

David Dickinson

The teachers unions have been plotting this for months. The now Democrat-run Loudoun School Board is doing what is in the Democrat Party's political interests and not the best interests of students or parents. Out of the 3,200 counties in the US, Loudoun is ranked about 34th highest in the country for property taxes. 70% of our property taxes go to LCPS. We need a 70% property tax reduction this year.

Anonmom

Agree, this is completely politically motivated. Look at California for verification. The LA county teachers union wants to defund the police. The irony of that is not lost on me.

amerigirl

the teachers are not unionized in VA

amerigirl

I'm sure they have been plotting to have a pandemic for years.

Misty Mountain

Always someone in the crowd who has to spew some political agenda against a party.

BigDaddyVA

It could be worse. Republicans or conservatives could be in charge.

Anonmom

Defund LCPS. If the money follows the child it keeps the people who receive the money accountable. If parents do not like their decision making ability we can go elsewhere.

SueMe

Where will you go. Look at the districts around us. Similar discussions and decisions everywhere. Unless you go private. But for now, finding stays with public schools where it belongs

Anonmom

Sue Me- There are many different options and there will be many more and better options once you open up the marketplace. LCPS doesn't have to act because they know they have the funding. By the way - respectfully I don't care what any other school district is doing. It just means they are all sheep. Our future generations are at stake.

SueMe

Respectfully, there might be a good reason the districts are making this decision all over the country. I do not believe that we are different here or that COVID 19 cares about property taxes or borders.

This is definitely not the best outcome and we will all have to continue to adjust. Those yelling for tax cuts are simply being hysterical

amerigirl

Like the sheep that want to reopen because that's what trump wants regardless of how many people get sick. Al about his numbers. If enough people can get their kids in school and get back to work to boost his numbers before November then he doesn't really care what happens to them after that.

Virginia SGP

Exactly.

ChocolateDinosaur

It is coming. We are fortunate with the age of our children as well as our ability to flexibly work from home. Unfortunately there are those out there who will be forced to choose between work and children in just a few short weeks. Thoughts and prayers.

Virginia SGP

Only if the irrational and ignorant prevail. Are you one of them?

DavisB

Only positive part of this for me is how little attention anyone except those hilarious parody accounts are giving SGP - no one in any school district takes his advice and so many parents across the county are laughing at his posts -

Virginia SGP

Hmmmm, ignorant as always. 1000s of impressions. 100s of engagements and many reactions.

I see you switched back this afternoon from SueMe to DavisB. I will get the complaint filed soon. I'm betting that the parody social media account, SueMe and DavisB are all the same. But subpoenas will verify that.

You do realize defamation "per se" only requires evidence that a defamatory statement is made. No proof of damages is required as damages are assumed. Well, I hope you can comprehend that in the pleading.

DavisB

you have yet to come up with any untruth that I posted - after all, you did offer $100 to talk to my kids right here. I am not sure why you would do that but I can only speculate at your motivation. I do not need to speculate about what you wrote.

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