Superintendent's March 8th Message to Families
March 8, 2020
Dear LCPS Families and Staff:
In coordination with the Loudoun County Health Department, Loudoun County Public Schools is closely monitoring the evolving situation regarding Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) domestically and abroad. On Thursday, February 27, LCPS published a “COVID-19 Preparedness at LCPS” webpage where answers to frequently asked questions are being posted. This continues to be the source for the latest information about how LCPS is responding to the potential emergence of the virus. As the situation evolves, we are providing updates there and through our social media channels (@LCPSOfficial and https://www.facebook.com/LCPSofficial/).
I am writing this evening in order to highlight an important update based on the latest information available. While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Loudoun County, there are at least two confirmed cases in the Commonwealth. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel warnings regarding China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. Given those facts, and the continuing spread of the virus to other parts of the world, LCPS at this time has decided to suspend all LCPS-sponsored international travel through June 30, and to cancel the upcoming Loudoun International Youth Leadership Summit (LIYLS), which was scheduled to begin on March 20. We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution, and in keeping with recent guidance from the Virginia Department of Health that school divisions should reconsider their travel plans.
Regarding travel within the United States, LCPS continues to collaborate with local and state officials and will modify plans as appropriate in the future. Participation in instructional field trips, athletic trips and other student activity trips is optional. Schools will provide an appropriate alternative for students who do not participate in an instructional field trip.
LCPS also is reviewing our operations and response plans, consulting closely with the Loudoun County Department of Health and accessing the latest available information from the Virginia Department of Health and federal health authorities. We plan to make decisions regarding changes to school operations, including any potential closure of schools, in conjunction with health authorities in order to protect the health and well-being of our students, staff, their families and the community. In case LCPS must close schools for an extended period of time, staff is developing contingency plans that involve online learning and other off-site learning experiences.
We rely heavily on parents and guardians as the first line of care and awareness for potentially ill students. Students who do not feel well should stay home. This practice aligns with the Loudoun County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control recommendations to use isolation and other routine preventive measures as an important part of everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including the flu.
Thank you for your support and understanding.
Eric Williams, Ed.D.
Loudoun County Public Schools