Loudoun to Suspend In-person Classes Starting Tuesday

Loudoun County’s COVID-19 caseload has reached thresholds to trigger an automatic suspension of in-person classes. The school division announced that, effective Tuesday, all students will return to distance learning.

On Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health for the first time published data showing that both core indicators used by the schools to monitor the level of community spread had exceeded the thresholds established by the School Board for returning to 100% distance learning if the numbers remained high for five consecutive weekdays. However, the health department retroactively updated metrics for earlier dates in December that indicate both metrics had exceeded their thresholds as of Sunday, Dec. 6.

The 14-day average of positive coronavirus tests climbed above 10% for the first time. That positivity rate, combined with the fact that the number of new cases in the past 14 days continues to be over 200, started a five-day countdown that would suspend the hybrid learning program until the rate of community spread declines. The number of new cases has exceeded the 200-case threshold for several weeks, standing at 394 today.

But because of the unlikelihood that the positivity rate will fall below 10% this week, the school division gave notice today that it will revert to 100% distance learning for all students beginning Dec. 15.

“We understand that this process is disruptive for families of students who have been participating in hybrid in-person learning this fall. The safety and well-being of all students, staff members, their families and the community continues to be our highest priority, and this decision is being made consistent with our commitment to achieving that objective,” Superintendent Eric Williams stated in an email to the school community.

Under the hybrid program, students are not in classrooms on Mondays, meaning Friday will be the last day for in-person instruction. It appears unlikely the hybrid program would restart before the annual winter break, which runs Dec. 23 until Jan. 4.

The Loudoun Education Association, which has been raising concerns about having adequate safety protocols in place in schools, today called on Williams to halt in-person classes immediately—closing classrooms starting Friday and continuing at least through the start of the second semester Jan. 21. Waiting until Tuesday puts students, employees, and the community at unnecessary risk, stated the LEA board of directors. The association pointed out that the average positive rate was 6.4% when the school year opened with 100% distance learning in September and that public health leaders are predicting a continue surge in cases through the holidays.

With cases rising through the commonwealth, following national trends, Gov. Ralph Northam today announced more restrictions, including limiting gathers to 10 people—down from 25 previously—and called on Virginians to remain home from midnight to 5 a.m. and to avoid unnecessary outings at other times of the day.

6 thoughts on “Loudoun to Suspend In-person Classes Starting Tuesday

  • 2020-12-10 at 10:19 am

    Sounds like a very long Christmas break is coming kids.

  • 2020-12-10 at 12:14 pm

    Doesn’t mean there will not be school, just distance learning.

  • 2020-12-10 at 5:03 pm

    A midnight to 5 a.m. curfew will stop a virus based on… what data exactly?

    I’m gonna’ cue up Clapton’s “After Midnight,” crank it up to 11 and ignore these fools. They’ve lost all credibility by any reasonable standard.

  • 2020-12-10 at 7:01 pm

    It is amazing that the seasonal flu just disappeared. Poof.

  • 2020-12-10 at 10:42 pm

    Individual schools report cases. So why should all schools close? Because of the teachers unions? The same morons who keep saying “follow the science,” don’t.

  • 2020-12-11 at 8:01 am

    When will the school board and BOS report the reduction in the LCPS budget due to massive amounts of regular (in-class and on bus) expenses having been avoided adjusted for new Covid costs incurred? I chaired the finance committee of the school board for 7 of my 8 years on the board so I know there are tens of millions not being spent yet taxpayers are still expected to pay their assessments under this fictional spending plan.
    Secondarily, who is going to report on the progress not achieved by lower grades unable to cope with online learning especially non-English speaking families unable to even supervise their kindergarten level children supposedly able to learn at home according to the “social science” books the school board must be reading because it sure isn’t from any real science. 🙂

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