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VEA calls on schools to go all-virtual until staff are vaccinated

"Learning losses will be made up. Loss of life cannot be."
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Posted at 11:37 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 18:44:55-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- As coronavirus cases continue to surge in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Education Association president is calling for all public schools to move to all-virtual instruction until staff members have been vaccinated.

On Friday, VEA President James J. Fedderman released a video calling on schools that have not done so, move to all-virtual learning.

“Governor Northam this week said that getting Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to end this pandemic, rebuild our economy, and move the Commonwealth forward,” Fedderman said. “We commend Governor Northam for that, and we call upon the Governor, school boards, and school superintendents to keep all students and staff safe with virtual instruction until staff are vaccinated.”

"School buildings are not the place to be while this virus surges and health professionals struggle to save lives," the teachers union president added.

Beginning this week, 11 Virginia health districts began offering vaccinations for people who fall into what’s called Phase 1b of the state’s distribution plan.

That group includes teachers.

In a Monday interview with CBS 6, Dr. Danny Avula, who is leading the Commonwealth's vaccination program, said that he anticipates Central Virginia could join Phase 1B as early as the beginning of next week.

That would mean, some Central Virginia teachers could begin receiving the vaccine as early as next week.

Fedderman said that the VEA will monitor vaccination efforts to make sure that all school employees has the opportunity to be vaccinated."

"Learning losses will be made up. Loss of life cannot be. Vaccines are already being distributed in Virginia and across the country. And there is hope in the weeks and months ahead," he continued. "We cannot allow a huge surge of COVID cases to sicken and kill even more Virginians just as we are near a turning corner on this virus."