VEA Speaks Out on New CDC Guidance for COVID and Schools
February 12, 2021
February 12, 2021
VEA President James J. Fedderman made the following statement today upon the release of the new CDC guidelines:
We appreciate the continuing guidance of the CDC, which reaffirms what educators have been saying all along about what we need to make schools safe during this global pandemic.
We can and must provide students the opportunity to return to in-person learning, but we also must ensure that every school has the resources to put in place the effective measures to keep students and educators safe.
The new CDC guidance, which includes the universal wearing of masks, at least six feet of distancing, and basic sanitation and safety precautions, is a good first step, but now it’s time for action. If they are applied universally in every community and the resources are put in place equitably for all students, our school buildings will be safe for in-person learning. Local school decision-makers cannot choose which guidelines to follow or show any preference for which students get the necessary resources. All students and educators must be protected.
In every school division in Virginia there are teachers and support staff who are doing everything they possibly can to help students in the midst of this health crisis. Those educators need to be supported, because those educators are the ones we are relying on to shoulder the educational load during this health crisis. And they are frustrated with the lack of support they and their students are receiving. They are pleading:
We must also recognize that CDC standards still aren’t being met in too many of our schools. Many schools, especially those attended by Black, brown, indigenous, and poor white students, have severely outdated ventilation systems and no testing or tracing programs. We cannot rest until every child and every staff member in every school is protected.
VEA appreciates that Governor Northam has prioritized school staff for vaccinations that will ultimately protect students, educators and their families and communities. The two most promising developments in the battle against COVID-19 — vaccines and rapid COVID-19 tests — can be gamechangers for safe in-person instruction, and we must proceed with them as quickly as possible.
More on why vaccinating educators should be a priority.