STERLING, Va. - Students at Loudoun County Public Schools are back in the classroom for in-person learning as the school year begins amid a nationwide rise in coronavirus cases and a bus driver shortage.
The school year began on August 26 for LCPS. Face coverings are required for students and employees due to the spike in coronavirus cases and the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The Associated Press reports that children are filling hospitals in record numbers -- more even than at the height of the pandemic due to the surge.
According to an August 13 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pediatric COVID-19 hospitalization rates surged in recent weeks, reaching 0.41 per 100,000 children ages 0 to 17, compared with 0.31 per 100,000, the previous high set in mid-January. Over 400 U.S. children have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
"Face coverings are required in all LCPS facilities when shared in areas of the buildings, including but not limited to break rooms, kitchens, restrooms, hallways, stairwells, lobbies and meeting rooms," the school said on its website. "They are also required while in personal work spaces, except when in a room, office, or cubicle with walls 7’ or higher, with the door closed."
Like across much of the U.S., LCPS are facing a bus driver shortage. "Please know that LCPS is implementing a number of internal measures to cover as many routes as possible. Despite these efforts, families may encounter some service impacts during the first days of school, including late buses and double or triple loads," their website says.