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Education association calls for all-virtual learning

With COVID-19 cases climbing after the Thanksgiving holiday, and cases expected to surge even more after the Christmas holidays, the Virginia Education Association (VEA) is calling for public schools to go all virtual through at least mid-January.

Charlotte County Public School (CCPS) Superintendent Robbie Mason said the school system would continue to work closely with the Piedmont Health District and take their recommendations regarding in-person instruction.

“The VEA represents educators from a variety of school divisions throughout the state,” Mason said. “Each of these school divisions have different community health indicators that help determine the safety of having students physically present each day. I do not see how a one-size-fits-all recommendation is appropriate at this time.”

According to Mason, CCPS has seen only one confirmed positive case of COVID-19 with in-person students to date.

“No one wants Virginia students to be taught inside the schools more than Virginia’s educators,” VEA President Dr. James J. Fedderman said. “But over the past weeks, Virginia has averaged 3,521 COVID-19 cases per day, an increase of 41% from the average two weeks earlier. The numbers don’t lie, and the human toll behind each of those numbers demand that we pause in-person learning until the situation rights itself.”

Despite the request from VEA, CCPS and other school systems continue to push on with hybrid instruction.

Mason said the new style of learning has proven to be very challenging for teachers, but educators have adapted well.

“Our teachers have provided good options for students attending in-person and for those who have elected to learn from home due to COVID,” Mason said. “Having two groups of students physically in the classroom on different days while preparing lessons for students who are learning remotely has changed the responsibility of being a teacher tremendously.”