LCPS Discusses 2023-2024 School Year Calendar, New Policy 5055, Student Transportation

On Nov. 29, the School Board discussed the calendar for the 23-24 school year, a policy detailing sexually explicit content, and updates on student transportation.


Amelia Chen

At their Nov 29 meeting, the Loudoun County School Board finalized Policy 5055, which discussed parental notice of sexually explicit content. The new policy implemented by the school board, Policy 5055 requires thorough examination by parents for material deemed explicit, which in turn limits English teachers by flagging most literary material.

On Nov. 29, the Loudoun County School Board held its second annual Tuesday meeting, which was initially moved due to winter break. The board discussed the 2023-2024 school year calendar, the student transportation operational update, along with parental notice of sexually explicit content in schools. 

2023-2024 School Year Calendar

The School Board presented the options for the 2023-2024 school year calendar for students and staff. The board set guidelines to regulate future calendars and policies. The School Board presented five calendar options to choose from; Denise Corbo, the Human Resources & Talent Development Committee chair proposed another, “option 6.” The board members decided on option five for the official 2023-2024 school year calendar. The school year is expected to start on Aug. 24, 2023, and will end on June 14, 2024. Winter break has been shortened from 11 business days to eight. 

The board members also discussed whether students and staff should not have school on Veterans Day. Ian Serotkin, the Curriculum & Instruction Committee chair, believed that students and staff shouldn’t have school on the federal holiday. “Every year our veteran community reaches out and asks why [we have school on holiday] and I never have an answer for them,” Serotkin said. “We don’t treat any other federal holiday like this.” Serotkin supported a motion in the meeting to cancel school on Veterans Day, but the rest of the board members voted against it.

Policy 5055

The School Board also implemented a new policy that targets sexually explicit content in schools. Policy 5055 requires parents to be notified of explicit material that has been flagged. Parents would then review the explicit material, and decide whether or not they’ll allow their child to view it. If parents aren’t comfortable with the material, the policy states that alternatives will be available. There is an exception to this policy, however: standardized testing. This includes the SAT, ACT, NAEP, AP, SOL, and IB tests. 

This policy heavily targets and affects the English department of schools. English teacher Scott Schwarz is conflicted about the new policy. “I think the idea behind the whole policy is precipitated by this false notion that teachers are teaching inappropriate books,” Schwarz said. 

Schwarz believes that this issue has suddenly become a problem, using Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet, as an example. “Romeo and Juliet has been taught for hundreds of years,” Schwarz said. “Where was their objection to that [back then]?”  The logic behind the policy would require the Bible to be deemed explicit. “The Bible would be flagged as inappropriate by this policy,” he said. “For example, the story of Lot and His Daughters [would be seen as explicit, as well as] the story with Onan.” Schwarz said that these books portray the real world, and that if high school-level students aren’t aware of these things outside of a classroom, they are essentially living a false reality.  

Student Transportation Update 

After the pandemic disrupted school transportation in Loudoun County, the School Board gave a positive update. According to a presentation the school board showed during their meeting, there were 115 second-load buses in the morning during the 2021-2022 school year. Currently, the number has gone down drastically to five second-load buses. There were 118 second-load buses in the afternoon, and that number similarly went down to six. Despite this improvement, some sports are still struggling to request buses for their athletic trips.

With the extreme decline in second-load buses, the amount of students late to school because of a late bus has gone down just as drastically. Compared to last fall, the amount of complaints submitted during a two-month period regarding bus issues has dropped exceedingly from 320 to 85. Junior Mathew Ortega has been riding the bus since the beginning of high school. “I used to be late almost every day before this year,” Ortega said. “Not only can I sleep in later now, I actually get to school on time.” These changes have proved themselves to be extraordinarily effective in getting students to school on time. 

The next school board meeting is on Dec. 13, 2022.