School Board Reviews New CDC Mitigation Recommendations; Recognizes Rock Ridge Accomplishments

Following the end of the mask mandate in LCPS, the school board reviewed the CDC’s new recommended mitigation strategies for schools.


Amelia Chen

On March 8, the LCPS school board held their second Tuesday meeting, discussing new CDC guidelines and the revision of the county equity statement.

On March 8, the LCPS School Board held their second Tuesday meeting, discussing issues such as the new CDC mitigation strategies for K-12 schools following the removal of the mask mandate, and Superintendent Scott Ziegler’s progress in revising the LCPS equity statement. Additionally, senior Ellie Schubert, Rock Ridge’s student school board representative, was one of three LCPS students who described their respective school’s return to in-person instruction this year. During the meeting, Ziegler also recognized Rock Ridge for their achievements involving school breakfasts, chorus, and SCA. 


Student School Board Representative 

Student school board representatives from Rock Ridge, Freedom, and Stone Bridge high schools were asked to speak at the meeting. Senior Ellie Schubert, Rock Ridge’s student school board representative, spoke on behalf of the accomplishments of the SCA and Rock Ridge as a whole. “As we readjust to the rigors of in-person learning, teachers [are] providing encouragement and supporting social and emotional needs,” Schubert said. 

Through events hosted by SCA such as Homecoming and Frostfest, Schubert described how students have been able to transition back into school culture. In addition, she mentioned RRPA’s accomplishments including performing three productions this school year. 

Lastly, Schubert congratulated Phoenix athletes for their hard work and their adjustment to performing in front of fans. Schubert gave special recognition to senior Sydney Hackett for placing fifth in golf at the VHSL State Open and junior Ilias Cholakis for placing fourth at the state level in wrestling. 


School Recognition in Superintendent’s Report

In Ziegler’s report, Rock Ridge was recognized for improving student access to breakfast and nutritional quality. “Congratulations are in order for Rock Ridge from the Virginia Department of Education, the Office of School Nutrition Programs, and the Virginia Breakfast Club recognized Rock Ridge for their ‘achievements with prioritizing the nutritional quality of school breakfast,’” Ziegler said. Rock Ridge was one of five schools in the state to receive the Virginia School Breakfast of Champions award this year for increasing access to breakfast and providing new, innovative menu items in addition to other steps.   

Ziegler also commended Schubert and Rock Ridge Sings along with other Loudoun school choirs for their participation in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Southern Division Choirs in Raleigh the previous month. 


CDC Mitigation Guidelines Updates

Restating a few points from his official update announcement on March 2, Ziegler announced the adoption of the new Centers for Disease and Control guidelines. In accordance with the latest data and the recent mandates focused on providing students with more rights and freedoms, the School Board reassured that masks are optional on school property and in athletic activities. This policy also applies on buses and other forms of school transportation. Head Start programs will continue to require students and staff to wear a mask.

To track COVID-19 transmissions, the board has updated their data systems since the  2020-2021 school year. Recently, the Virginia Department of Health announced that contact tracing individual cases is no longer required after March 7; LCPS will only contact trace if an outbreak is detected and will notify affected parties. 

Alongside this, the LCPS COVID-19 dashboard is updated each day and displays the number of active cases in students and staff in LCPS schools. 

There are a few other recommendations and guidelines that have stayed relatively unchanged. Students and staff must continue to report COVID-19 contractions and transmissions to school nurses or health clinic specialists, and should isolate for at least five days if infected. Students are not required to wear a mask after their symptoms have cleared; however, it is recommended that students follow CDC guidelines for utmost safety. As always, students should stay home if they are feeling oncoming symptoms in order to avoid further outbreaks. Should they opt for diagnostics and tests from their school, students have new BinaxNOW COVID-19 At-Home tests available for free.


Equity Statement Revision

During the previous month, the LCPS Equity Statement was temporarily removed from the county website with little notice given to school administration or community members. Towards the end of the March 8 school board meeting, Ziegler explained the reasoning behind this decision being that he is working with different committees and wants to involve the LCPS community in revising the statement. 

The original LCPS Equity Statement was established in 2019 under former Superintendent Eric Williams. “[The statement] was removed because I am seeking community input on the revision of the school division’s equity statement,” Ziegler said. 

Ziegler originally announced this goal at the equity committee meeting on March 3. “When I was appointed permanently to the position of superintendent, the statement was labeled as the Superintendent’s Statement on Equity, and that’s how it was publicized and distributed.” Ziegler explained that as he was not here when it was written and was not the one who wrote the statement, “it didn’t sit right” with him to continue with the statement. 

The statement that Ziegler wants to replace the current equity statement with would be crafted with input from students, staff, school administrations, stakeholder groups, equity staff, and other community members. “This should be a community statement on equity that we can all get behind and we can really reflect our values and where we’re at in our equity journey now as the LCPS community,” Ziegler said. 

Ziegler has started the process to revise the statement now, so that the release of the new statement corresponds with the release of the 2022-2023 Strategic Plan for schools, which is scheduled for later this year.

The next School Board Meeting will take place on March 22.