Virtual Learning Workload Overwhelms Loudoun County Students


Citing overwhelming virtual learning workloads, over 13,000 people have signed a petition asking Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reduce the amount of work the students have to do. Unlike some school districts in other parts of the commonwealth, LCPS is still using a fully virtual model, driving some parents to private schools.

User Carlos Z. started the petition. He explained, “I have begun to believe since online school started our teachers have assigned us too many assignments, to the point I’ve been getting sleepless nights and have been learning to submit assignments before 11:59 p.m. instead of actually learning the material. I have been an all ‘A’ student my entire life and have never been this exhausted and stressed over school.”

President of The Fairfax Christian School (FCS) Jo Thoburn said, “We had a heavy work load when we were online last spring and that’s one of the reasons we were able to be successful. You have to remember that students have to do all of their regular class work and then they have homework on top of it.”

Thoburn added, “So I don’t think parents really grasp that they have to do both.” According to Thoburn, teaching in online classes also takes longer.

“My [high school] daughter is absolutely buried in school work every day,”  Kelly Cook wrote on the petition. “I’ve never seen her exhausted like she is now. It seems like we only see her when she steps away from school work to eat and sometimes she’s doing work while eating, then working until past midnight some days. She cannot keep this up all year.”

Wait lists for admissions are normal at FCS. Interest is abnormally high this year due to parents unhappy with fully virtual public schools and private schools that only meet a few days a week. “The number of inquiries is about five times what it normally is,” Thoburn said.

Thoburn said that thanks to a new facility, students and faculty rarely have to be within six feet of each other, despite having fully in-person classes.

LCPS is scheduled to start a hybrid model for kindergarten through 2nd grade on October 27, but plans for a next stage are still undetermined.

Thoburn said, “The teachers unions took over the school board in Loudoun County, and they already had control of the school boards in Fairfax and Prince William so, you know, you have the tail wagging the dog.”

Thoburn said not all teachers are avoiding in-person classes. “I’ve had 800 job applications. I had to shut it down because I was getting slammed. And a lot of them are public school teachers who are just unhappy, they want to work.”

“[FCS students] will be leaps and bounds ahead of most students,” Thoburn said. “It’s very obvious just watching the students that came in from public school last spring. They basically are missing half the school year. They lost half a school year and we’ve had to do lots of remedial work, compared to our students who did our virtual learning where it was just a lot more one-on-one and more intense.”

She added, “Students that are taking virtual for another year are going to be even that much further behind.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected]

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