- Loudoun County Public Schools
LCPS Returns to In-Person Learning January 3 with COVID Protocols
Dear LCPS Community and Staff,
Loudoun County Public Schools wants you to know what we’ll be doing to keep students and staff safe as we return to in-person learning on Monday, January 3, 2022. We understand that these times can feel uncertain, but by working together, we can continue to provide a safe learning and work environment.
LCPS is committed to in-person learning. There are no plans to extend winter break or switch to online instruction. As our practice has been for the entire year, we make decisions related to virtual learning primarily on classroom and school data. This data can change rapidly and families must be prepared in the event that their child’s class or school moves temporarily to virtual learning. Thus far, the mitigation protocols have served the division well in keeping transmission to a minimum.
LCPS has multiple layers of protection to mitigate COVID-19 transmission in schools, including universal masking, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, physical distancing (to the extent possible), contact tracing and requiring that students and staff stay home when sick.
Children have far less risk from COVID-19 infection than adults, but there is still risk to some children, especially those with underlying medical conditions. With the uncertainty of long-term effects of infection with COVID-19, the advent of the Delta and Omicron variants and the potential for other variants to arise in the future, it is necessary to have mitigation strategies in place.
LCPS is aware of the most-recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance that modifies the recommended quarantine and isolation guidance from 10 to five days. LCPS will continue to work with the Loudoun County Health Department to monitor any changes in the guidance. LCPS will continue to follow our existing guidelines regarding returning to school or work after being identified as a close contact. Keeping current practices in place will allow us to monitor and react to any surge in cases following the winter break. If the data remains favorable, LCPS will implement the new guidance, but not before January 17, 2022.
Fully vaccinated students and staff do not need to quarantine unless they are symptomatic or test positive.
Vaccines Recommended for Ages 5+ and Boosters for 16 and Older
LCPS wants to remind anyone who has not received their vaccination to make an appointment to be vaccinated. This is especially important with the spread of the Omicron variant. LCPS will host several walk-in COVID-19 vaccine events in coordination with the Loudoun County Health Department and Giant Pharmacy. First and second Pfizer doses are available for anyone age five and older. Pfizer boosters will be available for those who are 16 and older. The Moderna or Janssen vaccine will not be available at this event.
According to the CDC, current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. Boosters are now also recommended for everyone 16 and older. For additional information about COVID-19 vaccination, visit Loudoun County’s COVID-19 Vaccine page.
LCPS is closely monitoring the Virginia Department of Health’s test-to-stay pilot program. If this program proves to be effective, LCPS will implement the program, but not before January 17, 2022. This date will give LCPS time to evaluate the expected surge in COVID-19 cases associated with winter break and its impact on the school division’s operations.
LCPS is part of the Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program administered through a partnership between the Commonwealth and LCPS. The LCPS divisions of Human Resources and Talent Development and Business and Financial Services continue to work with our partners in state government to get the program up and running. We anticipate COVID tests will be available to students and staff at designated school testing sites throughout the county beginning in mid-January.
LCPS anticipates full implementation of the ViSSTA program no later than February 1, 2022.
Activities Beyond School
Many of the cases of COVID-19 that have affected LCPS students and staff have their origin in out-of-school activities, such as travel sports, travel and social gatherings. When participating in activities outside of school, LCPS requests students, staff, and their families observe as many of the COVID-19 protocols – masking, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and isolating when sick – as are practically possible. We ask families to help ensure a healthy, safe return to learn by being vigilant beyond the school environment and taking precautions that protect against the transmission of COVID.
Visit the website to see our mitigation measures.
Scott A. Ziegler, Ed.D.
Published December 30, 2021