The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday approved measures codifying standards of professional conduct for staff, student dress codes and recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as a proclamation for Leslee King Day on the day of the anniversary of council members, March 30.
One of the most important initiatives deliberated by the board focused on revisions to Policy 7560, which outlines professional codes of conduct for employees of public schools in Loudoun County.
In a unanimous vote, board members adopted new language engaging staff members in an inclusive, safe and supportive work and education environment where individuals from diverse backgrounds work together to pursue goals. educational requirements set forth by the LCPS.
The new language of measurements urges LCPS employees to reject behaviors and language that denigrate or demean individuals on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, ancestry, color and location. several other criteria. In addition, students and employees who believe they have been subjected to conduct that violates the standards of behavior set out in the policy are encouraged to report the problem to a supervisor.
Board members also unanimously approved the revisions to the LCPS dress code, contained in policy 8720. These revisions state that students should be able to dress comfortably for school and that the dress code should not be viewed as a distraction for the learning environment. The new language also encourages teachers to focus on teaching in the classroom rather than enforcing the dress code.
Dulles District member Jeff Morse proposed a dress code amendment that would prohibit students from exhibiting bare bellies in addition to private parts, as stated in the policy. His amendment failed, facing opposition from members Denise Corbo, Beth Barts, Ian Serotkin, Vice President Atoosa Reaser and President Brenda Sheridan.
A proclamation recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, 2021 was passed without deliberation, along with the recognition of March 30 as Leslee King’s Day, in honor of the birthday of board members, who represented the Broad Run district. King died at age 74 on August 31.
During the public comment section of council meetings, parents and teachers in Loudoun criticized members for their approach to distance learning options, mask and vaccine mandates, and critical breed theory. , among other topics.
Criticism of the lack of distance learning options
Madhav Sathi, who lives in the Blue Ridge District, said he was seriously worried about sending his son back to school due to the threat posed by the COVID-19 Delta variant, which studies have shown is is much more transmissible than the original virus. This delta [variant] is very deadly, and an N-95 mask can only do some sort of reduction, he said.
Without the vaccine, it’s very deadly, Sathi said. I ask all of you to please give a chance to bring distance learning back, adding that LCPS had been able to carry out onsite and distance learning the previous year.
Kumar Nainala, from Dulles District, echoed some of the same points. He said that as a parent of a 7 year old child, I think it is dangerous to send my child to school without vaccination. Until I could get the kids vaccinated, I would push for distance learning. We did this last year and everything went well.
Frustration over quarantine, mask warrants
Megan Rafalski, of the Blue Ridge District, criticized board members for maintaining a two-week quarantine period for students who have been in close proximity to a peer or staff member presenting a case active COVID-19.
She said that despite not showing any symptoms of the disease himself, her son was forced into self-quarantine. During this time my son received about 15 minutes of instruction each day … Last year was a joke, and this year turns out the same, very quickly.
Rafalski also told the LCPS staff and board members to stop bullying our students by holding their masks when they can’t breathe.
In response to a later question from Morse about conflicting guidelines on quarantine periods given by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, LCPS Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the preferred option is a 14 day quarantine this is the option we exercised.
But Ziegler allowed some flexibility in the response of school systems, adding that if the 14-day quarantine causes undue physical, mental and economic hardship and tests can be … obtained for the exposed person, between five and seven days later. exposure, then the student would be allowed to return on the seventh day under this option.
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