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Editorial: Any apologies from local leaders to Class of 2024?

Graduating seniors started their high-school time under lockdown conditions that went on too long

Graduation season at local high schools wrapped up last week, bringing to a close one of the most tumultuous four-year periods in the nation’s education history.

We didn’t get to see all the ceremonies across the local area, so we’re curious – did any of the community leaders who spoke to students, particularly at the public-school ceremonies across the region, offer a mea-culpa for keeping schools locked down excessively during the early part of the COVID era?

It has become self-evident in retrospect that Northern Virginia’s lockdowns were extreme, caused major learning loss and, in some cases, took away vital structure needed by at-risk students. One can argue that perhaps online learning was needed during the first few months of the 2020-21 school year, but after that, it was counterproductive and politics-driven.

As one local (Democratic) elected official, not on a School Board, lamented to us not long ago, it wasn’t so much the lockdowns themselves that gave him pause, or even the fact that they went on too interminably. It was the fact that local school leaders have never since acknowledged that, and never apologized for making what, in retrospect, was the wrong call in keeping schools padlocked for far too long.

But we seem to live in a world these days where people in general, elected officials among them, acknowledge no errors and atone for no missteps unless and until they are cornered.

So we’ll do it for them. To the Class of 2024, congratulations on persevering during a troubled time. You were let down by local School Board members and others who valued scoring political points and kowtowing to teacher-union agendas over focusing on your needs. Your personal resilience in surmounting these obstacles is impressive and merits applause.