What to know as Loudoun Co. students return to school buildings

Starting Tuesday, Loudoun County Public School students in Virginia from prekindergarten through 5th grade, who chose two-day-a-week in-person learning at the beginning of the school year, will be back in classrooms.

Middle and high school students who previously chose the hybrid model will return to the Virginia school system March 3.

Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler sent parents a “Welcome back to hybrid learning” email detailing steps families will have to take on a daily basis, and what students can expect, as some return to school buildings for the first time since December 2020’s spike in coronavirus cases throughout the county and country.

Each day, before sending children to the bus stop or driving them to school, parents or guardians will be required to complete an online symptom check questionnaire. If students answer “yes” to any of the questions regarding possible COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay home and parents must notify the school using the Attendance Hotline or ParentVUE system that the students will be absent.

The school system has installed thermal cameras at the most-used entrances of all schools — the camera can scan 45 people within one second, and identify people with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. Students with an elevated temperature will be escorted to the Care Room.

Each school has set up a Care Room apart from the health office, staffed by a full-time LCPS substitute teacher or contracted vendor, according to Ziegler. The adult will take a student’s temperature with a no-touch thermometer, ask about their symptoms, record the information and coordinate with the school nurse to arrange for a parent or guardian to pickup the child.

Classrooms have been set up with desks at least 6 feet apart. Disposable masks will be available in classrooms and during morning arrival for students not wearing face coverings.

Staff will teach and reinforce hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and increase monitoring to make sure teachers, staff and students are scrubbing as they should. Time will be built into daily routines to allow for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer.

Parents can expect to be contacted by individual school with details regarding staggered arrival and dismissal procedures, to reduce the volume of traffic in hallways during transitions.

Students and staff who are determined to be a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 are expected to quarantine or isolate, and won’t be admitted school. The Student Health Services Office or school health office staff is available to answer questions about quarantine.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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