RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The president of the Virginia Education Association is calling all public schools, who have not already done so, to move to all virtual instruction until staff members have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a video posted over the weekend, VEA President James. J. Fedderman cites the rising COVID-19 case numbers.
“This virus, which has killed more than 360,000 Americans, is surging again and spreading to all corners of our Commonwealth,” Fedderman said. “Our public schools must return to all virtual instruction until all of our staff members have been vaccinated.”
“Governor Ralph Northam said this week that getting Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to end this pandemic, rebuild our economy and move the Commonwealth forward,” Fedderman said. “We commend Governor Northam for that and we call upon the governor, school board and school superintendents to keep all students and staff safe with virtual instruction until staff are vaccinated.”
The governor is leaving it up to each school system to decide what to do. The Virginia Department of Education encourages school districts to follow these guidelines and suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control.
“School buildings are not the place to be while this virus surges and health professionals struggle to save lives,” Fedderman added.
The Virginia Department of Health just cleared 11 health districts to move into phase 1b of vaccinations, which includes teachers and staff who work in childcare and pre-k through 12th grade.
Officials expect the rest of the state to move into the next phase by the end of January.
VEA is a teacher’s union that represents more than 40,000 teachers and school support professionals across the state.