Decison what to do?
It is easy, put the brood down. But if you "decide" to let them be up, what happens...
The cluster starts wintering in the place where were last brood.
so the bees eater upper box clean first.
If it comes a cold spell, that bees are upstairs and the food is downstair, the colony will starve. Perhaps Virginia is so warm that this will not happen. In my climate starving happens this way but perhaps not in Virginia.
But then we go to the spring. The bees tend to make brood upstairs. Consumption is high and food is down stairs.
Ok. You have nursed bees the whole year around and you have succeeded well. And now you decide save your time couple of hours and let them be. You chat 2 hours in forum what to do, and what you do, it is not so important.
Next year you may infrom the whole globe that nohing happened even if.
But then it comes a hard winter and kills most of your hives.
You must prepare hives for worst winter because when it comes,it is late to do anything
a big hive can reach the food store, where ever it is, but often colonies become seriously smaller, and they abity to reach food store is limited.
During hard frost the food may cease only in one gap, and the that gap of bees die. Bees are not able to move place. They do not know their food store and they do not know, where to go.
.i have much experinece on this but I live in cold climate.