Union urges Fairfax teachers to take ‘mental health day’

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A teachers’ union in Virginia’s largest school district is urging members to call in sick Wednesday for a “mental health day” as they ponder how they will respond to a gradual return to in-person learning.

Fairfax Education Association President Kimberly Adams said teachers need the mental health day because of the stress they face with a looming Oct. 30 deadline to say whether they will return to the classroom when called upon, seek a leave of absence, or resign.

“We are drawing a line by protecting our members,” she said.

The union has urged that school remain fully virtual for the entire 2020-21 school year because of safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. It represents about 4,000 teachers and staff in the Fairfax County school system — the nation’s 10th largest — which employs almost 25,000.

The vast majority of Fairfax County Public Schools’ 187,000 students are currently attending fully virtual classes. Superintendent Scott Brabrand has outlined a plan that would have students return in stages through late January to two days a week of in-school learning.

He has accelerated the timeline slightly on request from the school board, which has asked him to come up with an even earlier timetable.

School system spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said FCPS is “aware of the possibility of a sick out and making plans to ensure all scheduled classes have teachers.”

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up