LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Virginia Senate voted 36-3 Thursday, approving legislation that requires schools to provide full-time, in-person instruction as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The bill also passed the House Wednesday and, if signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, it would take effect July 1.
Karl Loos, president of the Lynchburg Education Association, doesn’t see this as legislators throwing the gauntlet down towards educators, but rather working them together.
“It’s not just throwing the doors open and bringing everybody back in with no regard to anyone’s safety or any conditions,” said Loos.
The bill includes exceptions, such as reverting to virtual learning if a school has high levels of coronavirus transmission.
Andrew Glover, the founder of the ‘Conservative Parents of Lynchburg’ group, has supported the idea of full-time, in-person instruction.
“I am super happy that the legislature has finally acknowledged what parents have been saying for literally months, that our kids need to be back in school and that face-to-face learning is going to be the most effective way for most parents,” said Glover.
But he adds it’s vital to not wait to get children back into classrooms.
“It means it’s a pressing and urgent matter, and we need to be effecting this now, not in July,” said Glover.
Loos argues there’s still a way to go with vaccinating staff.
“We need the extra time to get vaccinations offered to any school employee who wants them. We need the opportunity to plan for getting more students back in the building and what that would look like.”