VEA: Schools Should Go All-Virtual Until Staff Are Vaccinated

Pulaski County school staff will start getting the vaccine this week

With COVID-19 cases surging, Virginia Education Association President James J. Fedderman called for public schools, that have not already done so, to shift to all-virtual instruction until school staff members have been vaccinated.

“Governor Northam this week said 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 boards, and school superintendents to keep all students and staff safe with virtual instruction until staff are vaccinated.”

Some Giles County Public School employees got the vaccine last week and Pulaski County school staff will start getting the vaccine this week.

Starting Monday, January 11, parts of the commonwealth will move into Phase 1B of its vaccination plan. That opens up the COVID-19 vaccine for people older than 75 and workers in essential, high-contact professions, including:

  • First responders, including police officers, firefighters, and hazmat workers
  • Workers at correctional facilities or homeless shelters
  • Teachers and childcare workers
  • Food and agriculture employees
  • Grocery store workers
  • Public transit employees
  • Mail carriers, which includes both the United States Postal Service and private mail services

The VEA’s statement comes after an exclusive WSLS 10 News story last week that Governor Northam was expected to announce a plan to get all students back into the classroom. As we reported, less than two hours after we broke the story, the Virginia Department of Education rolled back the statement that the Governor was expected to address in person learning during a news conference.

Schools were shut down in March when Virginia as a whole averaged 80 new cases per day. The Commonwealth has averaged about 4,500 new cases per day in the last week.

View Dr. Fedderman’s video statement sent to VEA members:

About the Author:

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.