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Fairfax County Teachers Union Doesn't Want to Reopen Schools Until When?...

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Posted: Oct 20, 2020 10:30 AM
Fairfax County Teachers Union Doesn't Want to Reopen Schools Until When?...

Source: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

A select few Fairfax County public schools launched a pilot program this week that would meet students' needs both in and out of the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic. The concurrent learning program places cameras in all classrooms, so students who are still at home can keep up with the lessons. Some parents and teachers welcomed the innovative approach, while others warned it's just too risky.

“It’s kind of an experiment,” said Federation of Teachers President Tina Williams. “So right in the middle of the school year, we're doing this experiment. And this is too valuable. Lives are at stake.”

Students in Fairfax County, VA, have been learning virtually since March and are itching to get back to class. But the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers is urging the school district to keep schools shuttered for several more months.

"Draw and hold the line by keeping Fairfax County Public Schools virtual for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year," the union writes in a letter to the Fairfax County School Board and Superintendent.

"Science and Health Safety data support and require that no one should return to in person instruction until there is a widely available scientifically proven vaccine or highly effective treatment," the letter continues. "The metric for Safe Reopening should be 14 days of zero community spread."

To cut to the chase, the union requests that schools remain closed until August 2021.

Critics wondered whether the teachers simply didn't want to show up to work, and shared some science of their own that proves Fairfax schools can and should safely reopen.

On their website, the union shares a survey that revealed eight in ten teachers "lack confidence" in the FCPS reopening plan and less than ten percent feel safe to return. They add that a majority are considering leaving the school system if they're "forced to work in an unsafe school."

To be convinced it's safe to return, the union demands that the school district meet its 11 pillars of a safe reopening. The list includes a virtual work option for all staff, physical distancing, PPE, rigorous tracking and tracing, proactive school closures, and more.