Dear LCPS Community,
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of a staff member of the Loudoun County Public Schools. She died last night due to complications related to the COVID-19 virus. She is someone whose close contacts were previously investigated by the Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD) and the LCHD has reached out to each of these contacts.
We each grieve differently, drawing solace and strength from a variety of sources. Some of us turn to family. Some of us turn to a faith community. Members of specific school communities often lean on one another.
And as a broader Loudoun County Public Schools community and as a broader Loudoun community we can and should turn to one another for solace and strength.
The interfaith concept of Love of Neighbor, endorsed by many religious and non-religious people alike, will lead many of us to grieve her loss, even if we did not know her. We know that she is not a statistic, nor a number. I am not sharing her name or specific remembrances because it is my sense that she would prefer it that way, but she is someone who loved and was loved. She is someone who felt joy and sorrow. She is someone who poured her whole self into contributing to our community.
Even as we grieve, we each have a role to play in providing community care right now. We show love of neighbor by practicing community care, including physical distancing, other preventative measures recommended by public health officials, and the directives of the Governor. It’s said that “there is a time for everything,” and it’s still time for each of us to commit to community care.
During this time, it will be natural for children to ask questions and to be concerned about their own health. It is important to be available to speak with children about the ways adults are working to help keep them safe, reminding them of the basic actions they can take to protect themselves and others. Finally, as caregivers, modeling both positive and healthy activities can be beneficial to helping your child through this time.
If you wish to speak of death in the coming days or weeks with your child, please know that it may evoke a wide range of reactions. Our children are receiving numerous messages through social media and the news relating to COVID-19. There are resources available through LCPS Pupil Services website and National Association of School Psychologists that may be helpful to you in discussing COVID-19 with your child if you wish. Soon this webpage will include a resource relating specifically to speaking with young people regarding death.
A strength of each of our school communities is that its members support each other in our time of need. Life’s lessons are sometimes the hardest to teach and learn, especially with young children. If your child needs to speak with a school counselor, please reach out to the School Counselor or your child’s principal.
Eric Williams, Ed.D.
Loudoun County Public Schools