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Education union weighs in on return to full-time in-person school

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) The West Virginia Education Association is speaking out about the plan to return to full time in-person learning. Tuesday WVEA President Dale Lee released the results of the latest online survey of union members about returning to the classroom.

“Our members are fearful and concerned for their safety and the safety of their students,” Lee said.

He said 85% of the 3,500 members who responded to an online survey said they were not comfortable having students in person five days a week. When asked why, members listed the high number of cases in their county and difficulties social distancing.

“We know that the spread from children is not that great,” Lee said. “But we don’t know the statistics on the number of kids that are asymptomatic and then taking it to the adults that they live with and the grandparents they live with or the educators in the school.”

The WVEA survey also asked members what would make them feel safe returning to school. The top answer at 40% was getting school employees fully vaccinated. The second choice at 30% was to move to a hybrid blended learning schedule to allow for more social distancing.

In his briefing Monday Governor Jim Justice said the plan is safe.

“Our medical experts believe with all in them that the exposure from going back to school is extremely minimal,” Justice said. “From the standpoint of our 8th grade on down it is very very very minimal.”

The West Virginia Board of Education is set to meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The topic is on the agenda.

“We are waiting to see what the state board is going to do and their actions because I believe that they will do the right thing and say it is not safe to put everybody back in on the 19th,” Lee said.

He said county boards are best equipped to make the best decisions and should have the option to go fully remote.

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