An investigative report shows a massive uptick in failing grades in Lynchburg high schools, which parents are blaming on remote and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 school shutdowns.
ABC13 asked Lynchburg City Schools for grade reports from the first quarter of the 2019-2020 school year, and grade reports for the same time period during the 2020-2021 school year.
Upon comparison, the results were shocking.
“The grade report for the 2019-2020 academic year shows 112 students at Heritage High School took the course Algebra 1 in the first quarter of that school year; 10 of them failed,” ABC13 said. “The report for the following academic year, 2020-2021, reveals 130 students at Heritage High School took that same class from August to October 2020 and 54 failed. That’s a 365% increase in failing grades in that one course alone.”
The story was similar at E.C. Glass High School, according to the report.
Students taking Algebra I there saw a 182 percent rise in their failure rate in the first quarter of this school year. In Biology I, 181 percent more students received failing grades in the first quarter of this school year. In American Literature, failing grades rose 341 percent in the first quarter of this school year.
Parents have blamed the lack of in-person learning for the rise in failing grades, according to the report.
Schools in Virginia have largely been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students in Virginia are learning completely remotely, while others learn in a hybrid model, sometimes from home, and sometimes at school.
The ABC13 report comes on the heels of a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announcement that it safe for schools to return to in-person learning without students and staff being vaccinated, as long as schools “consistently implement the mitigation strategies.”
Teaching students in person has become a point of contention between the government agency and teachers unions. Many teachers unions, including in Fairfax County, do not want their members to return to the classroom until everyone is vaccinated.
Children are considered very low risk for spreading the virus.
Virginia remains in Phase 1b of its vaccination plan, which includes all teachers and school staff.
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