Group calls on Virginia officials to offer school guidance

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (AP) — An education group that accused a public school district in Virginia of pursuing a “reckless” return to in-person classes has called on Gov. Ralph Northam and other state leaders to intervene and offer guidance on school reopening plans.

Chesterfield Educators United, the Chesterfield County chapter of Virginia Educators United, wrote in a letter Tuesday that “local decision-makers have been swayed by political considerations rather than safety” in the absence of statewide instructions, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The final batch of students in Chesterfield County Public Schools, the school district the group is criticizing, resumed in-person classes last week after a split vote from the school board. That decision has drawn backlash from some teachers.

Virtual learning is still an option for all families, and the school district has said they are committed to keeping students and staff safe during the pandemic.

The district also plans to initiate a return to virtual learning if the average number of new COVID cases rise above certain levels, Chesterfield Public Schools Superintendent Merv Daugherty wrote in an email Friday to faculty and staff.

But Chesterfield Educators United is asking state officials for a week of virtual learning after the Thanksgiving and winter breaks, and to allow teachers with underlying medical conditions to teach online.

The group also wants state officials to “provide a ‘one-stop’ update station that illustrates recent research into the spread of Covid within school buildings," WRIC-TV reported.

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