Superintendent’s Update Regarding Return-to-School Planning
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August 12, 2020
To LCPS Families and Staff Members:
As Loudoun County Public Schools continues our planning for the new school year, the School Board is providing guidance in our decision making on many essential issues.
At the School Board meeting last night, August 11, LCPS provided information on a variety of topics and several decisions were made that we want to share. The board will meet again on August 18 at 6 p.m. to continue its deliberations, and we will continue to share information with the community as we move forward.
MATA to Begin Hybrid In-person Instruction
The board last night directed LCPS to begin our in-person instruction on September 8 with the students in the Monroe Advanced Technical Academy’s classes, while all other students start the school year with 100% distance learning. Most of the MATA courses, such as Cosmetology, Auto Collision, and Culinary Arts require hands-on learning. This effort will involve approximately 900 students receiving one day of instruction each week at the Academies of Loudoun, in groups small enough to achieve compliance with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommended mitigation measures. Information about LCPS’ mitigation plans is available on the Return to School website, which now will be applied specifically to the requirements and facilities at MATA.
More information will be provided directly to MATA students and families in the coming days as the Academies of Loudoun’s administration works to finalize plans for students’ and staff members’ return to campus.
When particular groups of students are deemed to be eligible for Hybrid in-person instruction, individual students within the group would be eligible as long as they do not have medical conditions or intensive needs that present safety risks to self and others that cannot be sufficiently mitigated.
The Department of Pupil Services and the Department of Instruction have been working collaboratively to develop robust programming for distance learning, professional development, and parent resources for the start of the school year. We look forward to having our students return to learning remotely and in person, when public health conditions allow. The school board has expressed an interest in proceeding with very limited exceptions to the 100% distance learning model to allow for the implementation of a staged approach to the hybrid (in-person and distance learning) instructional model.
In preparation for a staged approach to the hybrid model, the Office for Special Education is reviewing available staffing and student-selected instructional model preferences to plan for the implementation of limited in-person instruction in compliance with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommended mitigation measures.
The staged approach to implementation of the hybrid model under consideration would begin with students who receive services in specialized self-contained programs, and those who receive instruction through the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOL) curriculum, although the age or grade level of the students in these programs that would start with the hybrid model has not been determined. More information will be provided to the school board and ultimately the community regarding this effort as plans are finalized.
SAT/ACT Test Administration
Due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many of the regular test dates for the SAT and ACT test administration in Loudoun and across the state were cancelled. LCPS is aware that families of high school students, especially our rising seniors, are concerned about access to future ACT and SAT testing. To help meet those needs, LCPS is working collaboratively with the College Board and schools to provide test dates in the coming academic year.
LCPS is working with the College Board to provide exclusive SAT test opportunities for LCPS seniors at their schools on September 23 and October 27 (which are school days). We will share registration information for the September 23 test date later in August, as soon as it is available.
All tests will be conducted with appropriate physical distancing and other mitigation measures in place. Students must wear a face covering (cloth or disposable) at all times, complete a COVID-19 symptom check questionnaire on the day of the test (prior to entry), and have their temperature taken upon arrival to the testing site.
In addition to the SAT test opportunities for seniors described above, LCPS also will offer SAT and ACT tests on the following dates and high school locations:
- September 26 - Broad Run and Dominion High Schools
- October 3 - Freedom, Independence and Woodgrove High Schools
- November 7 - Dominion, John Champe, Potomac Falls and Tuscarora High Schools
- December 5 - Independence, Loudoun County and Potomac Falls High Schools
- March 13 - Briar Woods, Dominion, Independence, John Champe and Woodgrove High Schools
- May 8 - Broad Run and John Champe High Schools
- June 5 - Broad Run and Park View High Schools
- September 12 - Broad Run High School
- December 12 - Briar Woods, Dominion and John Champe High Schools
- February 6 - Briar Woods, Dominion and John Champe High Schools
Any additional changes for weekend testing sites for the ACT or SAT in LCPS throughout the 2020-21 school year will depend on community health conditions along with state and local health and safety guidelines. Changes will be communicated directly to registered students by ACT or by the College Board for the SAT.
Parents may want to contact their student’s college(s) of interest to find out whether SAT and ACT testing is required for admission and/or scholarship eligibility, as some colleges have eliminated the SAT/ACT requirement.
Chromebook Distribution for K through Grade 2 Students*
To meet the needs of K through Grade 2 students who do not already have LCPS-issued Chromebook computers for distance learning, LCPS next week will begin additional distributions of devices through elementary schools to families who do not currently have these devices. Families will receive more specific information from their school administrators regarding when and where to pick up computers.
LCPS will provide additional details regarding the school year as we move forward with planning, and families can expect to begin receiving more communication from their school administrators as schools start ramping up for the beginning of instruction in the 100% distance learning mode on September 8. LCPS’ preference continues to be 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. We all look forward to the day when we can reopen schools with in-person learning for everyone.
Eric Williams, Ed.D.
*This item has been edited to correct an error that appeared in the original.