LCPS Finally Allows Students Back on Campus


The Loudoun County school board announced their plans to implement a hybrid-concurrent method of learning, beginning at the start of the second semester: Jan 21, 2021.

Eight months after nationwide shutdowns forced LCPS to close their doors and switch to online learning, plans have finally been announced regarding in-person instruction for the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year. The concurrent hybrid method of learning that was put in place consists of both distance and in-person learning. Students had the option to remain learning completely distant, should they have chosen to do so. Parents had to enter their decision for how their student will attend school in the second semester by Nov 20, at 8pm, in “Parentvue.” 

As of Nov 23, Potomac Falls choices came back with 317 students choosing hybrid in-person learning and 1,171 choosing to stay in 100% distance learning for the second semester. There are 114 students who did not make selection and by default will be hyrbid.

While the plans still won’t resemble anything close to a normal school year, it does allow for the students who choose to participate in the concurrent hybrid method to receive two days a week of in-person synchronous learning, and two days a week of synchronous distance learning. For students who choose 100 percent distance learning, all instruction will continue to be carried out online, with Mondays remaining asynchronous for everybody. 

While in-person instruction is being carried out, students and staff will be required to follow strict social distancing guidelines and wear masks at all times. According to the LCPS Second Semester Information for Parents and Guardians that was posted on their website on Nov 11, desks must be at least six feet apart, and students cannot be within at least four feet of each other. In addition, teachers will be at least nine feet away from students at all times, carrying out instruction in the front of the classroom.

Although hybrid-concurrent classes will be offered in person, they will also include students in the class who are 100 percent distance learning, through a similar format as online classes are being carried out now. The only difference in instruction for in-person and online students is whether they witness the lesson physically or virtually. Hybrid students who do not attend an in-person class or school day for whatever reason may also access the class online. 

Online students will still be able to participate in activities given to in-person classes, with time provided in each class period for both hybrid and online students to interact and work with one another. For more specialized instruction, teachers will assign small groups or independent assignments to in-person and virtual students, slightly different from the current “learning lab” system. 

In instances where LCPS students or staff who have been on campus come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or tested positive themselves, they will be required to quarantine. If they are attending in-person classes for the second semester, they must attend classes online while they are in quarantine.  

The school board’s announcement of the second semester plans come as COVID-19 cases reach an all time high in the country. Despite the rising number of cases, the county faces immense pressure from the public to reopen the schools. As we prepare for a safe return to school in the upcoming months, it’s important to be cautious of our health and safety by wearing masks, washing hands, and being mindful of the amount of people we expose ourselves to.