Lynchburg students heading back to classrooms as teachers criticize the decision

All students have option to come back on a hybrid schedule next month

Students can return to class next month in Lynchburg, but many people have concerns about the new plan.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg City School leaders said they’re ready to bring students back to the classroom even though some teachers disagree.

According to the new guidelines, children will be sent back on a hybrid schedule, starting Oct. 6.

Parents can still choose to keep their children on virtual learning and hybrid students will have the option to return to remote learning.

Lynchburg City Schools Deputy Superintendent Amy Pugh said something is missing in education without in-person instruction.

“It’s being able to look over the shoulder of a student, read their body language, and tell them, ‘You may not be understanding this right now,’” Pugh said.

The Lynchburg Education Association responded with three major concerns:

  • Safety for Lynchburg City Schools staff and the people they live with.
  • Teachers were not included in the decision — they say they were told they would not go back until the positivity rate is below 5%. Right now, the positivity rate is just under 6%.
  • The group’s final concern is preparation. It listed 27 questions it has about a safe return.

“It’s made it much more difficult than it needed to be," said Lynchburg Education Association President Karl Loos, who teaches at Dunbar Middle School. "It’s sort of like sending your football team out on the field and not telling them what the play is.”

Pugh said she feels confident in the decision to send students back, and remarked that a sizable percentage of Lynchburg parents likely feel the same way.

“When we looked at the preliminary numbers for kindergarten through 2nd grade, about sixty percent of parents are choosing hybrid learning," Pugh said. “We’re not going to please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time, but we have to make the best decision for the majority of our students.”