VEA Speaks Out on Liability Bill
July 8, 2020
July 8, 2020
Contact: John O’Neil, VEA Communications, at 804-775-8316
Reaction from VEA President Livingston to Dunnavant Bill
VEA’s highest priority in addressing the impact of COVID-19 is protecting the health and safety of students, their families and communities, and our teachers and other school employees.
Decisions on when to reopen schools to in-person instruction must be made based on the latest health evidence, with the utmost concern for the health of students and school employees, not based on a rush to guarantee child care or expand the number of businesses able to reopen. Surely the past two weeks have shown the danger of moving too quickly, with reckless disregard, in the face of this global health crisis.
We view Senator Dunnavant’s bill as a pressure tactic to push local school divisions to rush the process of eventually getting all students and educators back on campuses. It adds very little when the needs of our schools and our students are so great. Every teacher and support professional I know wants to be back in classrooms and on school campuses—but only when doing so does not risk worsening the pandemic or endangering themselves or others. We must take the time to do it right.
VEA has been the sole education organization in the Commonwealth consistently arguing for expanding mental health services for students, a school nurse in every building, more funding for students in impoverished communities. Elected leaders have found reason upon reason to shortchange our students, and this crisis has disproportionately harmed poor students and students of color.
Our schools do not need a legal gimmick. Our students need legislators and local decision makers willing to listen to educators when they make their case for what our students need and deserve.