Superintendent's March 11th Message to Families
March 11, 2020
Dear LCPS Families and Staff:
Given the rapidly evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus, I wanted to update you with new information about our continuing preparations.
Teacher Workday in Preparation for Possible School Closures
Friday, March 20, will be a work day for teachers to prepare for the possibility of distance learning and to provide educational experiences in the event of extended school closures. To support this, the School Board authorized the transfer of $5 million to potentially accelerate the completion of our 1:1 rollout of Chromebooks in grades 3 through 12. On March 20, all teachers will participate in training and structured planning time regarding distance learning options.
There will be no school for students on March 20. After school activities will proceed as scheduled.
Out of an abundance of caution for our students, staff and families, we decided today to cancel all in-state and out-of-state overnight field trips, effective immediately. Any overnight trips scheduled from March 11 through April 30, 2020, are canceled. Any trips scheduled to New York state, including day trips, are also canceled. All other day trips will proceed as scheduled. Participation in instructional field trips, athletic trips and other student activity trips is optional, and schools will provide an appropriate alternative for students who do not participate in an instructional field trip. LCPS will continue to collaborate with local and state officials and will modify plans as appropriate in the future. We recognize that the decision to cancel overnight field trips is disappointing, however, we believe it is appropriate based on the rapid evolution of the virus situation.
School Board Presentations
Tuesday evening, an update on our emergency preparedness in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was provided at a meeting of the School Board of Loudoun County. Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Services Dr. Asia Jones was joined by Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend in delivering the presentation to the School Board. Their presentations and a video replay of the board meeting are available through the COVID-19 Preparedness at LCPS webpage.
Some parents have asked whether they should send their child to school if the child has an underlying health condition. In his presentation to the School Board, Dr. Goodfriend emphasized that, if there was no underlying medical basis to keep the child home during influenza season, it is unlikely that the condition would prevent the child from safely attending school. There also is no recommendation that well family members of people being evaluated for COVID-19 need to remain at home. LCPS will continue to monitor student and staff absentee patterns and maintain ongoing communication with the Loudoun Health Department.
As mentioned in my previous update, all LCPS-sponsored international travel has been suspended through June 30. The Loudoun International Youth Leadership Summit has been canceled, and students will be offered a virtual summit experience instead.
Tuesday night’s presentation revisited the universal precautions students and staff should take to avoid getting sick, including staying home when sick, disinfecting frequently touched objects and washing your hands.
The presentation also reviewed the LCPS facilities cleaning plan, which emphasizes using LCPS-provided cleaning solutions that have been verified by the CDC and Virginia Department of Health. Additional cleaning supplies have been provided to schools. If a school or classroom experiences higher-than-normal absenteeism due to illness, the Facilities Department will conduct additional cleaning.
More details about these topics and the most up-to-date information on the LCPS response is available at COVID-19 Preparedness at LCPS. LCPS will continue to share updates on COVID-19 through Blackboard Mass Notification and social media posts.
Thank you for your support and understanding.
Eric Williams, Ed.D.
Loudoun County Public Schools