June 18, 2020
Good evening, LCPS Families and Staff Members.
LCPS has been engaging in an extensive planning effort to prepare for our return to school later this year. Earlier this week, the Loudoun County School Board participated in a lengthy work session to review the plans under consideration. I want to share some of the information we provided to the School Board with you now, and refer you to some additional resources we have developed.
I want to highlight that families and school-based staff members were invited today to participate in surveys regarding their preferences and perspectives on a variety of topics related to the return to school. I urge you to take the time to complete the survey to provide a fuller understanding of views within our community.
The preference of Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is for 100% in-person learning, as long as we can provide learning experiences safely and in accordance with the requirements and recommendations of state and public health officials. The Governor set forth guidance on Tuesday, June 9 for LCPS and other Virginia school divisions for the 2020-2021 school year via the release of the Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools. While the document clearly states that it contains “recommendations” for local school divisions to consider in their planning, it also states that “these recommendations should be implemented in accordance with the Forward Virginia Blueprint, any existing Executive Orders, CDC Interim Guidance for Schools and Daycamps, CDC Considerations for Schools.”
LCPS is considering limited deviations from the Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools in order to have the classroom and bus capacity necessary to implement a schedule that involves most students attending school in-person twice a week while participating in a revised approach to distance learning three times a week.
LCPS is not considering the level of deviation from the Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools that would be necessary to provide daily in-person instruction for all students during Phase III. By implementing only limited deviations to the guidance, LCPS is relying on the expertise of state and national public health officials.
Daily in-person instruction for all students may be possible after Phase III. LCPS will adjust its approach at any given time based on the phase that Northern Virginia is in at the time. If Northern Virginia exits Phase III after the start of the school year, LCPS would adjust its practices in accordance with the new guidance.
More information regarding the guidance regarding public health precautions is attached to this message using a Frequently Asked Questions format.
To help illustrate what in-person learning with a revised approach to distance learning might look like for elementary-school students and high-school students, we’ve developed student experience stories and other documentation to explain how schools might function under Phase III.
We have created web pages to provide access to this information, and a video to help describe what school might look like for two representative students. These materials are available now for your review at www.lcps.org/ReturnToSchool2020. We hope you find them informative.
Thank you for your continued engagement in this process. We know these are challenging times and we are working to develop a solution that offers the best possible experience for every student. We look forward to the feedback we receive through our surveys, and to sharing more information about our planning efforts soon.
Eric Williams, Ed.D.