Return to School

Return+to+School

By — Mia Parada 

On February 2nd, the LCPS school board met to discuss different options for the return of hybrid students to the school buildings. Before discussing the return of students LCPS made sure to discuss the strides for vaccinations in Brambleton  Middle School in Ashburn where more than 3,700 vaccines were administered. Before discussing the return of students LCPS made sure to discuss the strides for vaccinations in Brambleton  Middle School in Ashburn where more than 3,700 vaccines were administered. 

One of the most important discussion points in the meeting was the return of students by March 3, 2021. There was a lot of talk about different approaches to bring students back, one of the most anticipated points was bringing students back by March 3. In this rough plan the students and faculty would be through Stage 3 by February 16 and students would begin Stage 4 by March 3.Stages 1-3 would include all students through 5th grade and ELL and special education students. Stage 4 includes all secondary students (middle and high school) who opted to participate in hybrid-learning. 

A big point that was brought up was how they could prevent the spread of Covid-19 in schools. Board member Jeff Morse (Dulles District) argued that the spread of Covid in schools based in communities was “less reliable”. Stating that the CDC provided core-indicators of this fact. When Morse asked LCPS Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler about whether or not LCPS has made significant in-school transmissions of the virus, Ziegler replied “no.” 

“Even with the highest protocols in place, our [current] model does not permit any students — any students — back in school until one of the two … less important metrics are met,” Morse said. “We have a choice at this time to either continue to operate with the metrics that the experts up here on the dais have put together, or to look at the metrics that are provided by VDOE, which indicate even at the highest level of transmission, that our high-risk children should be back in the classroom.”

The school board voted 8-1 on bringing students back to school. Loudoun County School Board has decided that students, from all levels, who chose Hybrid will be returning to school by March 3, 2021. LCPS will return to implement hybrid learning starting February 16, 2021. The arrival of students on February 16, 2021 will be for the first three stages. As explained earlier the stages include grades 1 through 5, preschool, pre-K and kindergarten, as well as students with disabilities, English learners and Academies of Loudoun attendees. 

Stage four of the return to in-person learning will be students in grade levels 6-12. The students who chose hybrid learning will return no later than March 3, 2021. In making the decision to bring students back, there is also a new set of metrics to base off resuming learning in school. These metrics are from the new updated CDC guidelines. The two CDC Metrics, the percentage of positivity in Covid-19 and the number of cases per 100,000 people, are not being considered as strongly as they had been. 

According to the representative from the Blue Ridge district, Ian Serotkin, said, “There are really only two steps: step one, put the appropriate mitigation strategies in place; step two, open the schools for instruction. For step one, we have met and, in some cases gone above and beyond the VDH five key mitigation strategies for safe in-person instruction — 6 feet of distancing, masks required for everyone, improved filtration systems, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, contact tracing. It is time for step two.”

With this news students and teachers are to be prepared for hybrid learning in school. Along with different mitigation strategies to help slow down/stop the spread of Covid-19, specifically in classrooms and schools. Though one thing is certain for the time being, that all students, who chose hybrid, are to return back to school no later than March 3, 2020.