Lynchburg school employees voice concerns over ‘dire situation’ amid pandemic

A new survey shows majority of staff is struggling

Educators in Lynchburg are speaking out after new survey showed that the majority of staff is struggling.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – It’s no secret that school districts across the country have struggled during the pandemic. And as more students and teachers head back to the classrooms, educators in Lynchburg are speaking out.

Karl Loos, president of the Lynchburg Education Association (LEA), addressed the Lynchburg school board and superintendent Tuesday.

“Your employees are hurting. They don’t feel safe. They don’t feel supported. They don’t feel heard,” said Loos.

He says the Hill City is facing a dire situation that will get worse if administration doesn’t act now.

The LEA sent a survey to its roughly 400 members on Sept. 3, to ask how LCS employees feel as they begin the school year.

Loos says data is still coming in but calls the results “disturbing.”

“45.3% said, ‘Not too good, more challenges than I would like,’ while 34% said, ‘Awful. One of the worst starts to the year I have ever had.’ That means that more than 79% of your staff who responded are struggling less than four weeks into the year,” said Loos.

COVID-19 tops the list of concerns with about 80%.

“People worry about the lack of supplies to clean, lack of proper social distancing, increase in cases, and distrust of the [COVID-19] numbers posted by the division,” said Loos.

Other concerns include mental health and student behavior.

The survey also asked about the positives of the new school year.

“The top three answers were: ‘my colleagues have been really,’ ‘support from my site administrators,’ and ‘the kids,’ in that order. At 0%, with not a single person choosing it – ‘support from LCS administration,” said Loos.

Dr. James Coleman, LCS school board chair, tells 10 News that they’re well aware of the concerns.

“Some of the [concerns] we’re already dealing with in a robust way, and other matters that require our attention, we’re going to work with our superintendent to keep moving LCS forward,” said Coleman.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.