Superintendent's March 16th Update
March 16, 2020
Dear LCPS Families and Staff,
Loudoun County Public Schools is monitoring the evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus on a continual basis. We are focused on developing the plans and acquiring the resources required to maintain the continuity of education for all LCPS students, continuing the essential meal services that many in our community rely on, and implementing protective measures for staff who continue to work in many of our buildings.
As you may know, Loudoun County declared a Local Emergency today in response to the continued spread of COVID-19, emphasizing the need to take additional steps to limit the spread of the disease.
Extended School Closures
To continue to safeguard our community, we are now extending the closure of LCPS schools until at least April 10. While schools may reopen as early as April 13, this seems unlikely based on the information known at this time. We are preparing for the possibility that schools may be closed for an additional six to twelve weeks from now or longer. We appreciate that this possibility will have significant additional impacts on the students, staff and families who are part of our community, and we are working diligently to address those issues. We will continue to communicate with all community members as more information becomes available.
Continuity of Education
LCPS is providing continuity of education through the development of optional learning experiences that are consistent with the curriculum. Through March 27, the emphasis in these learning experiences is on reinforcing skills and knowledge that have been previously taught. The learning experiences developed and provided will also give students and teachers opportunities to go deeper into concepts, ideas, and skills with which they are already familiar. These optional learning experiences will not be graded. Learning experiences may begin including new skills and knowledge that have not been previously taught after this date. Further information will be provided. These optional resources are available for parents at www.lcps.org/continuityofeducation.
Beginning March 23, packets of offline resources posted on the website will also be available for pick-up at the “meal stops” referenced below under Expanded Meal Service Continues.
Chromebooks for Students
LCPS, with extensive support from the Loudoun County School Board, has ordered 15,000 additional Chromebook laptop computers to accelerate the deployment of one computer to each student in grades 3 through 12. Two-thirds of grades 3-12 students have those devices now, and we are accelerating the deployment that was already planned for this summer. LCPS’ Department of Digital Innovation (DDI) is developing a plan that, if implemented, would provide a device to each student in grades 3-12 who does not yet have a device. The family of each student in grades 3-12 who does not yet have a device would have the opportunity to pick up a Chromebook at the student’s assigned school as early as the week of March 23. Social distancing measures would be implemented for the pickup of devices and we would only proceed with the plan after further consultation with the Loudoun County Department of Health. More information will be provided as plan details are finalized.
Expanded Meal Service Continues
Loudoun County School Nutrition Services (SNS) has expanded the free meal service in our school communities, Monday through Friday, until at least April 10 at schools and other designated locations. This is subject to change based on the latest conditions in Loudoun.
School-based meal service will be provided from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all LCPS schools. Meals will be available at each school and students will be allowed to receive two meals daily (a breakfast and a lunch) and can choose to take both meals simultaneously. Students can receive the meals at the school of their choice, not just at the school they attend.
Today LCPS began using our school bus fleet to increase the availability of meal service to students that rely on schools for meal support. On Friday, Nutrition Services served 1,000 breakfasts and 1,500 lunches at schools. A total of 478 meals were served on buses today in addition to the school-based meals that were served. Fifty-four (54) buses, each with a School Nutrition Services worker aboard, visited 263 stops today, on routes covering 667 miles throughout the county.
Meals are being delivered to community locations between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays. An interactive map indicating the locations and scheduled times of “meal stops” is now posted on the LCPS.org website. Please arrive at the meal stops early to ensure buses can remain on schedule.
You may wish to view the short video relating to today’s free meal service.
Staying Connected By Mobile Phone
You may wish to take the following steps to make sure calls and text messages from LCPS reach your mobile phone:
- Save 703-996-2199 as a contact in your phone.
- Make sure you haven't blocked 703-996-2199.
- Text START to 60680 or 54968, the source numbers LCPS texts.
This will help overcome some of the anti-spam measures that many telecommunications companies have implemented to shield customers from unwanted calls.
“Contact Us” Link
Community members with questions are encouraged to review the responses to Frequently Asked Questions on the FAQ page. If the responses to Frequently Asked Questions don’t provide the information community members seek, they are welcome to submit questions via the Contact Us function on the FAQ page, as well.
LCPS Hotline: 571-252-6499
LCPS launched a COVID-19 telephone “hotline” at 1 p.m. Monday, March 16, to provide another option for families to get information. The hotline number is 571-252-6499. Community members may call with any questions about the status of school operations, current schedules, and the latest information on other topics. Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the hotline will operate between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Volunteering and Contributions
Many community members have made generous offers to volunteer their time and contribute other resources to the efforts to support families impacted by the COVID-19 virus. At this time, as we continue to refine our response plans to the situation, LCPS is not in a position to systematically engage volunteers. We will provide more information as opportunities are identified, and greatly appreciate those who have come forward.
Public health and school officials have devoted significant time over the last two weeks to investigating and seeking to dispel inaccurate rumors regarding students and families contracting the coronavirus. Please be aware that the Loudoun County Department of Health has committed to informing LCPS if it learns of a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 involving a person connected to the LCPS community. LCPS would in turn share this information with the broader community, subject to constraints to protect any individual’s rights to privacy, and in coordination with the Loudoun County Health Department. In the meantime, please guard against sharing unconfirmed information about anyone’s health status, which could be detrimental to individuals and the community. We deeply care about the well-being of all students and staff, and the anxiety that rumors can create pertaining to an already challenging situation is not helpful.
We recognize that additional questions constantly arise as we continue to face this challenge. We remain committed to continuing to provide you frequent updates as new information becomes available.
Eric Williams, Ed.D.