Home COVID-19 “LAURA PAC” Finds 58.7% of Virginia Jurisdictions Reopening Schools Under “Hybrid” Model;...

“LAURA PAC” Finds 58.7% of Virginia Jurisdictions Reopening Schools Under “Hybrid” Model; 18.1% Not Clear/TBD; 9.0% “All Remote” [UPDATED]


The following analysis is from LAURA PAC (“Local Alliance for Urban & Rural Advancement”); compare/contrast to this analysis by Timothy Hickey, a public school teacher for 17 years who now works for the Virginia Education Association. As you can see, the maps are quite different, with Hickey’s map showing 64.5% of Virginia students in divisions “that are opening with a primarily virtual model,” while LAURA PAC has “all-remote” at just 9% of localities, albeit including some large-population jurisdictions, such as Fairfax County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, Richmond City, Albemarle County, etc. I messaged LAURA PAC and also Timothy Hickey to ask if they knew why there seemingly significant disparities between their analyses. I’ll update this post to let you know what (if anything) I find out…

UPDATE 6:30 pm – Timothy Hickey responded, said “it mostly appears [that differences between the maps] are explained by timing,” adding that “It’s a fast moving situation & divisions are changing course daily.”

UPDATE 5:55 pm – The LAURA PAC folks responded, said that they “completed collecting data Aug. 1 and then compiled the map”; “we had to rely entirely on publicly available sources”; “some of the classification is purely a judgement call”; “if the public information seemed especially vacilatory, I marked the locality has having no current plan even if there was a vague menu of options on the table”; “I imagine that some combination of the above factors pretty much explains everything…The ambiguities and fiddly ‘compromises’ that make it so easy for two well researched maps to look so different are a story, and perhaps the biggest story unto themselves, eh?”

For Immediate Release:

August 3, 2020, Virginia.  LAURA PAC has focused on the effects of the greatest policy issue and crisis of our time, the Covid-19 pandemic and all of its effects, since we promoted suggestions for election safety and participation before the March Presidential Primary election.

As we move into August, the next big questions are, “How will schools open? Will it be virtual? In person? Mixed schedules? Will I have a choice for my kids? Will it be safe?”  Our mission is to promote progressives and evidence based progressive policies, from School Board to State Senate,and the issue of school reopening shines a bright light on the importance of elected school boards.  

We have compiled, from public sources, a comprehensive list of school reopening plans or lack thereof in all Virginia localities.  A few notes:  1. If a locality had several widely divergent plans under consideration, they will be listed as having no plan. 2. If a locality has identified a plan and is moving forward with that plan, we have treated it as the policy in place even if it is not officially settled. 3. All data is from public sources and is accurate as of August 1st, 2020.

We found the localities could be grouped into the following categories:  Orange- No Clear Plan/To Be Determined 18.05% of localities (24), Red- Hybrid Plan  58.65% of localities (78) (mixed remote and in person schedules or groups of students almost always with an all remote parental option), Purple-  All in Person 3.01% of localities (4), Green-  All Remote 9.02% of localities (12), Pink- No Data 11.28% of localities (15).

Our map shows that all remote localities are high income and over represented in the DC suburbs. The majority of localities are employing a hybrid plan with choice. It is worth noting that many localities, including  counties in Western and South West Virginia, have chosen hybrid plans that are likely to impose significant costs on school systems.

Teachers, counselors, administrators, and support staff at schools join parents and students as the most affected stakeholders in these decisions, but these decisions have a tremendous impact on all of us. 

LAURA PAC is talking to all of its members and stakeholders and welcomes any public comment on school reopening policy in Virginia. Comment or message us on any of our platforms or send us an email at director@laurapac.com.


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