Loudoun Parents on the Clock for 2020 School Choice Decision

It is decision time for the parents of more than 83,000 public school students. They have until 8 a.m. Monday, July 13 to choose between a hybrid instruction plan that will include two days a week of in-person, at-school classes, or a full-time distance learning program. 

Classes are slated to start Sept. 8. Provided Loudoun County remains in at least Phase Three of the commonwealth’s COVID-19 response, the decisions made this week will be binding through the first semester, which ends Jan. 15, 2021.

Today, parents were emailed details of the two educational offering options that were developed by teams of administrators, educators and students over the past several weeks. The option of returning all students to class fulltime was ruled out because it could not be accomplished without violating physical distancing guidelines recommended to curb the spread of the infection. 

Parents will make their selections by logging into the school division’s ParentVUE system. Those needing help communicating their selection may call the LCPS COVID-19 Information Hotline at​​571-252-6499.

“We acknowledge the diverse opinions regarding how schools should operate in the new school year and believe that these two options are the best possible options we can provide for Loudoun County families while generally adhering to the guidance from local, state, and national public health experts. We would prefer 100% in-person learning for all students, if it could be safely delivered, and we will continue to work to be prepared to shift to an approach that involves more in-person learning for more students as public-health conditions allow,” Superintendent Eric Williams and School Board Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan wrote in the packet sent to parents Monday morning.

Explanations of the two class options were included in a 16-page slide presentation sent to parents. On Wednesday, Williams and senior staff members plan a virtual town hall meeting to provide more information and to answer questions from parents. Up to 3,000 people can participate in the forum, so registration is required. Parents also may submit questions in advance. Answers to the most frequently asked questions will be posted after the event to the LCPS Return to School 2020 Planning web page. Questions about individual students or family situations will not be addressed during the live session. The town hall can be viewed by those not registered to participant on the school division’s webcast and cable television channels.

While both class options will depend heavily on distance learning, the online offerings are expected to be far different than the programs rolled out after schools closed in March. The fall program will include more live interaction with teachers as well as mandatory participation. Another key difference is that the work will be graded.

Students selecting the hybrid option will attend classes in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays or Wednesdays and Thursdays. They’ll be subject to health questionnaires and tempature checks and will be required to wear face coverings in circumstances when six feet of distancing is not possible. 

The 100 percent distance learning option will include blocks of live teaching, small group instruction and independent study time, starting at 8 a.m. and continuing through 2:30 Tuesdays through Fridays.

For all students, Mondays will be used for the completion of homework projects, teacher planning and student support. 

Students with disabilities and English language learners are expected to be offered more in-person, in-class time. 

Once administrators know how many students will select the hybrid option, they will begin building individual class schedules. The creation of bus routes also will be a complicated element of the scheduling puzzle. Physical distancing guidelines are expected to reduce bus capacities from 77 or 84 students to 13 or 14. 

5 thoughts on “Loudoun Parents on the Clock for 2020 School Choice Decision

  • 2020-07-06 at 4:30 pm

    Parents are being forced to make a decision with very little information and no town hall meeting until the 8th hopefully they will actually answer the questions parents are posing. Sadly at this point the fall looks no better than the spring. Very disappointed in LCPS for sure.

  • 2020-07-06 at 4:50 pm

    As Don Hector Salamanca would say: “Who works for who?”

    If parents ever had a question about who’s really in charge, hopefully, the truth is realized. It’s never about our kids. It’s always, always, about their Industrial Education Complex. The real question is, why do we tolerate it?

  • 2020-07-07 at 5:06 pm

    You have until August 15 to send LCPS a Notice of Intent to homeschool. That’s the deadline you should be more concerned about. Maybe, finally, parents will see LCPS does not care for them or their kids. The organization is all about taking care of the organization.

    Are you all getting rebate checks from your jacked up property taxes for a school district that failed to perform? No, they will take your money. They just won’t deliver results.

  • 2020-07-08 at 12:47 pm

    It’s a coordinated, nationwide, political act, Mr. D. It’s about inflicting pain and hardship on parents, demanding more money to accomplish even less. Loudoun public schools have failed at their one and only task. They don’t care about our kids — it’s about money, power, and control.

    Here’s hoping a smart lawyer is working up a class action lawsuit against the system and the school board.

  • 2020-07-10 at 6:12 am

    Still waiting for the answer to the question of how elementary students without parental support or supervision are expected to learn while at home. Doesn’t this blind spot really reveal the lack of sincerity in universal education as a mandated service to bring education to all children? These options fail to meet the test of reasonableness/fairness in my opinion after serving 8 years on the Loudon school board. 🙂

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