Loudoun Parents Press for Virtual Options Amid Classroom Quarantines, Rising COVID Cases

Three days into the new school year, multiple classes across the Loudoun County school district are quarantining because of COVID cases, and parents are pressing for more transparency in case reporting and for the option to switch from in-person to virtual learning.

Administrators opted this year to offered a limited Virtual Loudoun and closed signups in June, before the Delta variant had taken hold in the county.

Last year, the district shared daily COVID data through an online dashboard.So far this year, no case information has been announced. A spokesman for the district said that a data webpage would be available to the public on Aug. 31.

Now, as cases rise because of the more contagious and dangerous strain of the virus, and an elementary school student in neighboring Fairfax County died of COVID, parents are reevaluating their comfort level with having their students in school.

“Yes, there was an option back in June, when the Delta variant didn’t exist. Now they’re just like “good luck!”, said a parent of three elementary school students in Aldie. Many parents feel that status quo has changed, are students are face more of a risk in classrooms.

Since Thursday, multiple classrooms have gone into quarantine because of positive COVID tests, and School Board members are sifting through hundreds of emails from concerned constituents.

“Parents are worried and are begging for online options,” School Board member Denise Corbo (At Large) said in an email to Ziegler. “At what point will you be more transparent and present a proactive plan and protocols to share with the board?”

A mid-school year pivot to offer virtual learning to more students would be a logistical challenge, according to board member Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge).

“If we were to reopen a virtual option now, we’d have to restructure classes. Students might have different teachers. … I understand where people are coming from and why they want it available, it’s just difficult to do that now once the school year’s started,” he said.

The school district is following guidelines on quarantining and mitigation from the Loudoun County Department of Health.

“It is a little frustrating that there are different guidelines for quarantines depending on whether it is student-to-student exposure or teacher-to-student exposure,” Serotkin said.

At Belmont Ridge Elementary, a teacher tested positive on Friday and now the teacher’s class will quarantine for two weeks. Classes that are quarantining will continue school remotely via the Schology platform.

All students, teachers, and staff are required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Still, opportunities abound for the virus to spread through school buildings.

“We know kids struggle to follow safety protocols, are shoulder-to-shoulder at lunch with no masks, and parents send kids to school after known exposures and possibly are positive,” Corbo said. “I understand the need for getting children back to school. My concern is we know this variant is far more deadly and fast spreading.”

On Friday, the district announced that all teachers and staff must show proof of vaccination by Nov. 1, or submit to routine testing.

4 thoughts on “Loudoun Parents Press for Virtual Options Amid Classroom Quarantines, Rising COVID Cases

  • 2021-08-30 at 9:45 pm
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    I’m incredibly saddened why Loudoun Now is addressing this on the third day of school when thousands of parents were begging for schools to be open full time ever since they closed March 2020 but they had no press from this newspaper. How many parents had to leave and attend private school to get in person learning? How many families battled mental health challenges because of the isolation? Depression, anxiety, lack of learning, socialization- no reports on how Covid has impacted our youth because of schools closed here in Loudoun. How many teachers were told to not to comment even though they felt strongly they weren’t getting through the screens to their students? How students have fallen so far behind because of online learning? How many students died of suicide because of Covid isolation right here in Loudoun? How many teachers died of suicide from Covid isolation right here in Loudoun? How dare you quote Denise Corbo who insinuates parents would send their children to school who are positive. That is a horrible assumption. Where are those facts? This is not news. Just one school board members narrow minded, selfish “opinion”. I have never read an article from you about the LCPS board being inundated with parents who wanted their children in school. Why don’t you report on how members of our community can combat Covid through diet and exercise? That’s news your readers may glean something from reading. How many parents are you referencing in your title? With 84,000 students in the county, one classroom out and a few others crossing paths with Covid, I think this is misleading opinions only and I understand where you stand now.

    • 2021-08-31 at 9:46 am
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      We can always count on Loudoun Now for the skewed version of what parents are fighting for in Loudoun County, can’t we? As an ACTUAL PARENT of multiple school aged children in Loudoun (unlike the writer) I can confirm that not all Loudoun is reviewed equally. We are NOT PUSHING FOR VIRTUAL OPTIONS! Beth Corbo- Seriously? At what point are you actually going to listen to your constituents?

    • 2021-08-31 at 10:46 am
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      Unfortunately, LN’s “education” writer (and their editor, by extension) has chosen to take an interventionist approach to covering this topic.

      There is clear and obvious bias in every piece. Local news should be free of this garbage. It’s lazy.

  • 2021-08-31 at 12:45 pm
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    This seems a very biased article without enough data. Like there is a quote from one of the school board members – “Parents are worried and are begging for online options,” – how many parents? 1, 2, 20? where the data came from?…As another user commented, with more than 80k students in lcps, opinion of a small few cannot dictate what is best for vast majority. We need to weigh the pros and cons of sending students to school vs. keeping them at home – in my opinion, the social, emotional and developmental loss to our kids by keeping them stuck inside home is a far greater issue than a risk to their health with the delta variant – especially now when masks are mandated, and teachers expected to be vaccinated. The benefits of sending students to school outweigh the risks.

    Instead, I would advocate that the debate should be more on best mitigation strategies to keep kids safe and healthy while at school, and what measures should be in place in the unfortunate event of a teacher or student in a class testing positive. At this point, it is very clear that this virus will keep mutating and be with us for a long long time. We need to learn to live with this virus by continuing to reduce the probability of us contracting it by all the mitigation strategies that CDC has recommended – hand washing, masks, social distancing, vaccines, and contact tracing in the event of someone testing positive (amongst others listed on CDC website). Living with fear of the virus and keeping our kids away from school will do them more psychological harm for years to come. I ask anyone wanting virtual school option – how long will you be in favor of virtual learning and keeping kids stuck at home in this growing age? what if another variant came around which is more transmissible? have you stopped meeting your friends and communities all together? …Please consider these points. Let us lower the probabilities and suffocate this virus by coming together as a community and not allowing to transmit from person to person by following CDC guidelines and defeat this virus. Living in fear and isolating ourselves is not the answer in my opinion, especially for our kids.

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