School Board meeting July 21

Uncertainty and unease was in plain view on the faces of Loudoun’s School Board members during their Tuesday night meeting. The School Board voted 7-2 to move forward with 100 percent distance learning to start the 2020-2021 school year. Opposing were Jeff Morse (Dulles) and John Beatty (Catoctin).

Loudoun County Public Schools will now be 100 percent distance learning in the fall. This was a no-win situation for the School Board, but the basic fact is they can’t guarantee the safety of the children, teachers and administration. We are seeing it everywhere — schools cannot open safely.

So, what now?

The first thing most parents are concerned about is how will this impact my child’s chance to succeed. If you have a junior, this is the year that colleges look at when accepting students. If you have a kindergartner, the vision you had of your child starting school has changed dramatically. If you have a child with special needs, how are these needs going to be met? Every parent has a concern that their child is going to fall behind. The reality is that some will not do well and some will thrive; just as it is in regular school.

These are unknown times. No one knows how long this is going to last; some say until there is a vaccine, and some say until Nov. 4 after the elections. Everyone has opinions, but no one has facts since we haven’t dealt with this before. Loudoun County is not the only area this is impacting. Colleges will be considering the current circumstances when looking at the junior year of your child. Schools will do their best to keep the educational progress moving forward. Parents will need to be more involved than ever to help their children succeed.

This is going to shine a hard light on inequality in society — the “haves” and the “have nots.” Don’t roll your eyes and skip this section, because I am not a socialist. It is a basic fact that we will see a divide here. Those who have money will pursue private education opportunities. It may be private schools or in-home tutors. They do this so they can continue to work to be able to make the money to pay their bills and have the ability to absorb the extra cost. There will be those who can’t afford these options. What will they do? Some will let their children be home and trust they will “attend” school. It is all they can do. Some can’t leave kids at home because they are too young or have special needs. They are now trying to decide if they need to quit their jobs to stay home with the kids. And if they do this, will they be able to pay their rent or mortgage? In most cases this puts the family in a precarious situation financially. Financial stress can cause other issues like domestic, child or substance abuse. Parents may be forced to find someone they can afford to watch their kids, which could be an unsafe environment.

Has Loudoun County Public Schools and the general government stepped back and considered this and what they can do during these unknown times?

Loudoun County has a large Parks and Recreations Department that runs daycares, after-school care and camps. Would this be a chance for them to step in and assist parents with current needs? In-home daycares take time to set up. Could Loudoun County speed up the process to allow in-home learning centers to prevent situations where people watching children are off-the-grid? Can our churches provide learning services to help fill the gap?

It is times like these when creativity is a must. It is time for the community, local government and organizations to work together so more children can obtain a successful education during these trying times.

________

Christie Morgan is a Purcellville resident and grandmother to a first-grade student and second-grade student.

(10) comments

BobOhneiserEsq

Did the school board "GUARANTEE" the safety oof anyone prior to Covid? This is a false analogy especially considering what school boards in Va are REQUIRED to do under state statute 22.1-79. Use utmost efficiency to manage the school system. Where is the list of exhaustive questions they asked of the Superintendent? Did they ask about the Academy ability to function with spacing and labs? Did they ask about how much budget to immediately return to the BOS? Did the BOS even ask this question as they are truly responsible for properly disposing of our tax dollars. Malfeasance is a real issue when there is no evidence even the most basic questions have been asked. :-)

More Cowbell

A better question to ask BOS, School Board and Williams, if LCPS is only doing distant learning, how many school positions will be cut from budget since not needed? And this isn't for just a month or two. This entire school year could be and probably will be distant learning so get use to it. For many kids, this year will be repeated again next years because the kids won't learn the minimum to advance to next grade.

Chris McHale

I'm sorry they will be impacted but you're referencing bus drivers , bus maintenance staff, custodians, safety officers, librarians, gym teachers, paid coaching staff and teachers assistants. I'm sure there may be others but it also doesn't mean the full staff (such as custodians) since there are still some duties and responsibilities that need to be performed.

FCPS educator

One last thing for the writer - we have been through this before - the pandemics of the 50s and 60s - so don't act that the country has not been through this before - stop being ignorant educate yourself.

FCPS educator

So it is too dangerous to send kids to school but alright to send them to county day care facilities - great logic - this is why kids need to be school to earn how to apply logic and reason -not panic and emotion

Kent Clizbe

We Loudoun County property owners, who pay the property taxes that fund Loudoun County Public School system, are, in effect, the shareholders of a massive, billion dollar business. We give more than a billion dollars a year to the LCPS managers.

That business model is now extinct.

The massive spending on a palatial headquarters, sprawling 20 acre campuses for elementary, middle, and high schools spread across the county, a fleet of thousands of $100,000 busses, an army of employees--it's all defunct, not needed, obsolete.

Businesses face this all the time--adapt or die. Businesses, when they become dinosaurs, go bankrupt and disappear--with other business models emerging in the new reality. See Sears, Kmart, Barnes & Noble--and then see Amazon, for example.

It's time for LCPS to adapt. That may require re-thinking the entire business model. What good is a series of multi-million dollar brick and mortar buildings in every neighborhood if learning is virtual? What will we do with those buildings?

Time to let the market take over. Give parents control over per-child funding LCPS has in its budget. Let parents support solutions that are right for them--elearning, private school, charter school, etc.

Let LCPS become a landlord--rent out the massive spaces in their real estate portfolio--until they can sell it. Taxpayers can make a profit on those sales. Rationalize their workforce--restructure based on the new reality, hire the right people for the right jobs, and reduce where needed.

Lots of good can come of this disruption.

jbsets

Your rant is odd. Virtual learning is not ideal in any way shape or form. Frankly I've known people who were home schooled and their social skills are for poo poo and their ability to express themselves in a business setting is horrible. Private, charter, virtual are a choice, but some people actually want their kids to go to public schools in order to learn diversity and not just racial. There is also religious, economic, etc. Some private schools are all about a specific skill or talent. Some are based on a specific religion. Others are too small to offer sports. I don't see public schools going anywhere any time soon. I'd like to think that at some point we'll get past this pandemic and that when we come out the other side, we will be smarter. When that happens, we'll need those schools. Just curious, do you have kids...like school age kids?

LIfetimeLoudouner

Please stop using children as an excuse - there have been ZERO deaths of anyone under 25 in Loudoun or even in Virginia. And nationally only about 188 according to the CDC. This has to do with teachers, staff and politics not the safety of children. If it is about the safety of children then we need to keep them home every year. So far this year there was 467 deaths from pneumonia. And what about the increase in child abuse and teen suicide that is happening from this no kids in school policy. Are those kids less worthy of protection. Covid is bad for select groups. Elderly and those with comorbidity. Average age of mortality for covid is 78 and almost half are in nursing homes. So let’s start actually focusing on them and protecting them and stop using kids and political pawns.

LetsBreal

Stop with the facts, reason and logic. There's no room for that here.

LiberateLoudoun

Yea, why let facts get in the way of a good argument!

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