The Loudoun County School Board in Virginia opened the new year Monday night the same way it closed the last one: grappling over distance learning in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
During a meeting Monday, the board heard from frustrated parents who want in-person learning to resume and also from teachers who said it’s not safe yet to reopen all classrooms.
In December, the county announced plans to return to all virtual learning, after revised COVID-19 metrics for the county revealed that the point for triggering the return had already passed.
In the period between Dec. 19 and Jan. 1, the county recorded a 14.1% positivity rate.
The difference between what parents and teachers want reflected what is going on in schools across the U.S.
“My kids are not learning,” said parent Elizabeth Chand. “I’m frustrated, angry and disappointed with our school board that our schools are still closed, and [there’s] no real plan to reopen them at 100%.”
Chand was among the parents speaking out in the public comments period of the meeting.
Some parents said that there’s no remediation plan — no plan to help students catch up from learning lost from the past school year.
But the school board also heard from teachers and Sandy Sullivan, the head of the Loudoun Education Association, who said the dangers of the pandemic outweigh the risks of a return to classrooms.
“Increasing the number of staff in buildings, while COVID-19 cases rise, is irresponsible and dangerous,” Sullivan said.
Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved Brenda Sheridan, of the Sterling District, to continue as chair of the Loudoun County School Board in 2021.
WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Elizabeth Chand’s name.
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