Southwest Virginia schools prepare for students to return amid holiday COVID-19 surge

Virginia has seen 92,854 new cases in the last week

With students expected to return to school after the holiday season, parents are encouraged to prepare for potential COVID-19 cases.

ROANOKE, Va – As COVID-19 cases surge after the holidays, parents, health officials and school leaders all have children’s safety at the top of their minds.

“Educators need to be a part of this robust conversation because it’s impacting everyone,” said James Fedderman with the Virginia Education Association (VEA).

That’s why the VEA is calling on state leaders to be vigilant as students return to school.

[Virginia sees 7,967 new coronavirus cases Monday, 92,854 new cases in the last week]

“The health and safety of students and educators must remain policymakers’ top priority as we prepare to return to in-person instruction this week and the weeks to come,” continued Fedderman.

This is all happening just weeks before Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin is set to take office.

Youngkin has repeatedly stated that he will change mandates in schools set by the Northam administration.

“I will appoint a new health lead who will rescind our mandate that kids in K-12 have to wear a mask in school every day,” Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin said.

Dr. Muddasar Chaudry, an infectious disease expert with LewisGale, said the guidelines for exposure are different for young children.

“The K-to-12 situation, if both the kids have masked, within 3 to 6 feet of a COVID case, is not considered an exposure even indoors but if they had an exposure, they need to be quarantined,” explained Chaudry.

School districts like Danville Public Schools are taking the situation seriously and evaluating things by the day.

“It’s just going to be important to continue following the mitigation strategies that we’ve had in place since you know really since the pandemic started you know the importance of you know, wearing a mask over on school buses and in school,” said school division COO Wayne Lyle.

But educators agree the classroom is the best place for their students to be.

“There is no one that wants to be in the actual buildings, educating our students any more than our educators they just want to do it in a manner that safe,” said Fedderman.

For the full list of new guidelines set by the CDC, you can visit its website here.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.