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LCPS First Day of School Returns more than 80,000 Students to In-Person Learning

 

Loudoun County’s 97 public schools will begin classes on Thursday, August 26, welcoming more than 80,000 students for the 2021-22 school year. The last day of school will be Wednesday, June 15.

 

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) will return to five-day-a-week instruction for the first time since March 12, 2020, when in-person classes were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (LCPS began four-day-a-week, in-person classes for hybrid students on April 20, 2021.)    

 

Dr. Scott A. Ziegler will begin his first full school year as LCPS’ 11th superintendent.

 

This school year, LCPS will open one new elementary school, Hovatter Elementary School. It also will open a new alternative school, The North Star School, and its first alternative high school, William Obediah Robey High School.

 

New Schools Opening in 2021-22:

 

Hovatter Elementary School

41135 Collaboration Drive

Aldie, VA 20105

Lori Mercer, Principal

 

The North Star School

715 Children’s Center Road, SW

Leesburg, VA 20175

(Site of the former Monroe Technology Center)

Stacie Ahrens-Miniberg, Principal

 

William Obediah Robey High School 

400 W. Laurel Ave,

Sterling, VA 20164

(Robey High School is located within Park View High School )

Jeanene Sims, Principal 

 

Five New Principals for 2021-2022:

Hovatter Elementary--Lori Mercer

Moorefield Station Elementary--Paula Williams

W.O. Robey High School--Jeanene Sims

Sterling Middle School--Colleen O’Neill

Sully Elementary--John Tuck

 

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Mental Health Support Available as Students Return to School

 

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) has a well-established, comprehensive mental health program to support students as they return to five days of in-person instruction this fall.

 

The goals of the program are to:

  • Prioritize the safety and well-being of students and staff;
  • Develop routines and practices that support a welcoming, inclusive and affirming school environment;
  • Model structures that support academic and social emotional development for all students; and
  • Establish systems of support and interventions to promote student success.

 

Students will learn strategies for advocating for themselves when they need support. School staff will begin the process of connecting with families when trends are observed in absences or behavior.

 

For a full list of resources, please visit the Mental Health Services page.

 

Bus Transportation

 

Families are encouraged to check ParentVUE for last-minute updates to their child’s bus schedule. 

 

Families who are eligible for transportation service, but who will be transporting their children to school this year, should visit ParentVUE to opt their children out of bus service. This information will help the Transportation Department consolidate routes and operate with greater efficiency during a bus driver shortage. 

 

Here Comes the Bus is a mobile app that parents can download to a smartphone in order to track the arrival and departure of their child’s bus each day. Instructions for downloading the app can be found on the Transportation Department website.

 

Students will be required to wear masks on school buses. 

 

Masks Are Required in All LCPS Buildings

 

All individuals aged 2 and older are required to wear masks when indoors at public and private K-12 schools in order to help inhibit spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and is required by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  

 

All students, staff and visitors are expected to comply with LCPS mask requirements, including those who are participating in non-LCPS activities conducted in school buildings. Examples of such activities include after-school childcare activities and community youth recreation events hosted during evenings/weekends as well as church, civic group or other community events or meetings.  

 

Exceptions to Masking 

 

LCPS realizes there are some exceptions to the mask mandate:

 

Masks During Meals: Students are permitted to remove masks for eating and drinking in LCPS cafeterias. They will, however, be expected to wear masks while entering and exiting the cafeteria, waiting in line or socializing.

 

Physical Education: Masks will be required for students who are waiting in line or participating in direct physical education instruction. They will not be required when students are participating in a physical education activity. Physical Education teachers will prioritize activities that allow for physical distancing when class is held indoors.

 

Athletic Activities: All participants, staff, and others not actively involved in practices and competitions must wear masks during practices and on the sidelines. Masks are required in locker rooms, team rooms and weight rooms. Spectators are required to wear masks for indoor competitions.

 

Masks are not required for outdoor activities.

 

Musical Instrument Instruction: LCPS has ordered specialized instrument masks for all wind instrument band students in the district. No masks are required when outdoors while performing or practicing.

 

Other Mitigation Measures 

 

Enhanced Cleaning: LCPS custodians will clean “high-touch” areas in schools three times a day.

 

Passive Temperature Screening: LCPS will resume the use of thermal cameras in buildings where they have been installed to help identify individuals whose temperature is at or higher than 100.4 degrees F, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). 

 

Quarantine Practices

 

In K-12 settings, students wearing a mask may not need to quarantine. A student who is within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student is not considered a close contact as long as both students are wearing masks and the school has other prevention strategies in place. Students who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be required to quarantine after having close contact with someone with COVID-19 as long as the student remains asymptomatic. Students identified as close contacts to an infected person must quarantine for 14 days.

 

Virtual Learning Option Closed

 

LCPS’ distance learning application was open May 24 through June 30. All students were welcome to apply. LCPS welcomed additional students with serious medical conditions to apply off of a waiting list. At this time, the school division is not accepting additional requests. 

 

LCPS Meals Will Continue to Be Free

 

Breakfast, lunch, snack and supper meals will be served free of charge to all students during the 2021-22 school year. Funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes this possible.  

 

In addition to serving breakfast in the cafeteria, many schools will make breakfast available during the morning via alternative breakfast models including Breakfast in the Classroom, Breakfast After the Bell, Grab and Go Breakfast and Wellness Breaks, allowing students the opportunity to enjoy a balanced meal in the morning.  

 

Applying for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Still Necessary. Children from households that meet federal income guidelines for either free or reduced-price meals should still apply for these programs so that students may receive other benefits. To apply for these benefits families may complete an online application. The application link can be accessed from the school system’s website at www.lcps.org.heartlandapps.com. This is the quickest way for families to be approved. Limited paper applications are available in all schools and from the LCPS School Nutrition Services Office, 20 High Street, Round Hill, V A 20141, (540) 751-2690.

 

More than 800 New Licensed Personnel to Join Instructional Team 

 

Close to 800 new licensed employees have joined LCPS for the 2021-22 school year.

 

This brings the total number of LCPS employees to 12,636 (including 7,993 licensed personnel such as teachers, librarians, counselors and principals) with 8% of the new hires LCPS graduates. The schools they represent include: Briar Woods High School (6); Broad Run High School (8); Dominion High School (2); Freedom High School (5); Heritage High School (4); John Champe High School (2); Loudoun County High School (10);  Loudoun Valley High School (3); Park View High School (1); Potomac Falls High School (3); Rock Ridge High School (1); Stone Bridge High School (7); Tuscarora High School (6); and Woodgrove High School (2). Twenty of these new hires were in the teacher cadet program. 

 

School Bond Vote on November 2, 2021

 

Bond funding for school construction will be up for voter approval in the November 2, 2021, election. 

 

On the referendum this year are costs to design, construct and equip ES-32, an elementary school in the Dulles South area; costs to design, construct and improve the LCPS Facility Renewals and Alterations; Valley Service Center Replacement and Bus Parking; and, costs of other public school facilities as requested by the Loudoun County School Board. The maximum amount in capital improvement bonds this referendum would authorize is $135,026,000.

 

This is not a referendum on whether these school projects should be executed. They have already been approved by the School Board and Board of Supervisors. This referendum seeks the authority to issue general obligation bonds to fund these projects.

 

HVAC Systems Improved

 

LCPS spent $21 million this summer to upgrade the HVAC systems and perform other energy efficiency enhancements at Aldie, Banneker and Catoctin elementary schools, Middleburg Community Charter School and Broad Run and Loudoun Valley high schools.

 

LCPS Extends Reach to Community through Social Media

 

Loudoun County Public Schools extended its communications outreach to students, families, employees and the greater community through the use of popular social-media tools like Facebook and Twitter. Users of these social media platforms get up-to-date LCPS information and announcements, including weather delays and school closings.

 

You can follow Loudoun County Public Schools on Facebook by clicking "like" at www.facebook.com/LCPSofficial, on Twitter via @LCPSofficial, on Instagram at @officialLCPS and on LinkedIn at:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/loudoun-county-public-schools.

 

These sites can also be accessed by clicking on the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn icons found on the www.lcps.org home page.

 

Public Invited to View School Board Meetings

 

The public is invited to participate in School Board meetings held in open session at LCPS’ Administrative Offices, 21000 Education Court, Ashburn, VA 20148. Second Tuesday meetings typically are scheduled to convene at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; fourth Tuesday meetings typically are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. However, the School Board Chair has the ability to set different start times for meetings in anticipation of a long agenda. 

 

The LCPS website calendar provides the most current meeting schedule. School Board agendas are available through BoardDocs on the School system’s website, www.lcps.org.

 

LCPS-TV provides live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of scheduled School Board meetings held monthly on the second and fourth Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Closed captioning is also provided for the live broadcasts. Meetings are available via webcast on the LCPS website at www.lcps.org

 

The most current information about the School Board’s meeting schedule and meeting format is always available through the division calendar at www.lcps.org/SBCalendar.

 

The School Board welcomes comments from the public and believes that strong community engagement and outreach are important components of a successful school system. 

 

For more information on how to sign up to speak and the various forms of comment available at School Board meetings, please visit the Citizen Participation webpage at www.lcps.org/citizenparticipation.

 

The School Board also is open to receiving comments outside of School Board meetings as an alternative means of public participation. Contact School Board at www.lcps.org/contactschoolboard or call 571-252-2411. Please see Policy 2520 for full details.

 

Published August 26, 2021