ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – A Facebook post by a Roanoke County school board member left some parents and teachers feeling “frustrated.” According to the board member, things may have been taken out of context.
Tim Greenway, who represents the Vinton area, publicly questioned “if we have to follow the science on COVID-19, do we also have to believe the Big Bang Theory?” He also questioned whether to follow “republican science or democratic science.”
“We don’t know how we can trust a school board member in his position to be making decisions for us,” said a Roanoke County parent.
In an email to WSLS 10 News Friday, Greenway said this of his now deleted post:
“What my post was meaning, if we can keep the teachers and staff safe,(practicing social distancing, wearing masks, temperature checks, etc.) are our students in grades 3-5 better off in school full time? Or at home? or at a day care with other kids? or another option?
We would have to use middle schools and other buildings to make it possible for grades 3-5. I'm extremely worried about the poor and working families in our community.
Where are these kids best served? It's too late for the start of this school year but I don't want us to lose sight of our goal to get our most vulnerable back in school full time. I don't want them to get further behind than the advantaged kids.
That’s what my post was all about! What science are we using?”
As this unfolds, parents and teachers are preparing for the next school year.
“It’s going to be a really nerve-wracking situation,” said Sarah Goodman. As the Vice President of the Roanoke County Education Association, Goodman says teachers are worried about virus spread, handling the new way of teaching/administering curriculum and ensuring no child is left behind.
“We all want things to return to normal. Just because we want that doesn’t mean it gets to be that way,” added Goodman. “We just want to be safe, too.”
A recent poll of more than 300 teachers in Roanoke County found close to 75% oppose in-person learning.
“We fear that we would become the cause of a major outbreak of this virus in this area and effecting the entire Roanoke community,” stated Tim Summers, President of the Roanoke County Education Association.
Teachers return to the classroom for workdays beginning Monday, August 10. Students return two weeks later.