This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.
The Prince William Education Association on Sunday night issued a statement urging public school leaders to continue virtual instruction “for the foreseeable future.”
The association cited inequities for students and safety for students and staff as the main reasons for keeping classes remote. The statement comes before Wednesday’s Prince William County School Board meeting, where board members are expected to talk about the division’s Return to Learn plan.
The plan would have students return to in-person learning on Nov. 10 under a “50/50 hybrid” schedule, with students attending two days a week.
“Many of our families have barriers to voicing their choice in how their children will attend school, and the division’s decision to make that choice for them if they do not respond is reprehensible,” the association’s statement said.
The PWEA also noted that COVID-19 cases in Virginia continue to rise at the same rate as in late June.
“There is no significant data indicating that returning to school in November will be equitable, let alone safe,” the statement said.
On the other side of the fence, a group of parents, teachers and students created a group to rally for in-person classes starting next month.
The group, calling themselves “In-Person Learning in Quarter 2,” has created a Facebook group and is asking parents, students and teachers to rally tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at Cedar Point Elementary, Battlefield High School, and Montclair Elementary, wearing green, to support a return to in-person learning.
On Wednesday, the group is rallying parents to the school board meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at the Kelly Leadership Center, wearing green.
The group, using the hashtag #GreenMeansGoBACK, supports returning to school in-person under the 50/50 hybrid model, at the very least.
In results of a Prince William County Public Schools parent survey early this summer, 79.7% indicated they planned to send their children to school in the fall. Of those who did not plan to send their children back to in-person learning, 83% indicated they would have their children participate in the school division’s virtual learning program while 10.9% said they planned to homeschool.