Prince William Education Association Advocates for All-Virtual 2nd Quarter

| October 5, 2020 | 0 Comments | Education

Image from the PWEA Facebook site.

The Prince William Education Association [PWEA] has released a statement regarding its opposition to Prince William County Schools Return-to-Learning Plan for the second marketing period. The plan would have students return to the building, Nov. 10.

“The Prince William Education Association strongly believes that in order to provide a safe and equitable working and learning environment for all, it is imperative that the Division maintain virtual instruction for the foreseeable future,” begins the Oct. 4 statement.

The statement concludes, saying, “It is of utmost importance that this division’s leadership keep to their word- that the safety of our children is our highest priority.”

“The Prince William Education Association strongly believes that in order to provide a safe and equitable working and learning environment for all, it is imperative that the Division maintain virtual instruction for the foreseeable future…”

According to Prince William County Schools’ Return-to-Learning Plan, parents had the choice to return their students via in-person learning or have them remain 100% virtual. For students returning to school, they will attend in-person two days a week to allow for social distancing. On other weekdays, they will learn synchronously with their classmates, or on asynchronous assignments.

While in person, students will sit three feet apart and wear masks when they cannot be six feet or more away from each other. Teachers with certain health conditions are approved to tele-work.

For students staying virtual, their learning model will also change. They may have a new teacher who is 100% virtual, or watch synchronous learning along with their classmates. Teacher may have to address both in-person and virtual learners at once.

Students choosing in-person instruction, may change to virtual instruction, but not vise-versa.

The school board voted to have the 2nd quarter be a 50% hybrid model in July. The school division does not have a new vote on the agenda for its Oct. 7 meeting.

PWEA’s statement expands upon reasons all students, teachers and staff should remain virtual at this juncture. The number of cases in Virginia continues to rise ,”at the same rate as in late June.”

The statement also says there is no indication that returning to school in November, “will be equitable, let alone safe.” The PWEA has concerns that if parents do not respond, due to a language or technological barrier, student will be forced to attend school.

“The division’s decision to make that choice for them if they do not respond is reprehensible and will lead to our economically disadvantaged, minority and English Language Learner (ELL) students to be disproportionately sent into harm’s way. This is unacceptable.”

The association also notes that teachers and students have made a great adjustment, and a new model would further disrupt learning.

“The faculty, staff and students have performed a Herculean task of adapting to the start of school and they have done so with great success. To ensure equity and continuity for all learners, it is crucial that proven effective learning routines are supported, not upended. As the the mental health of all is of great concern, it would be foolish to capsize a process that we have worked so hard to make successful,” reads the statement.

Parents have reacted differently to the 50% hybrid model. According to the numbers over the summer, 30% plus of parents chose to keep their students all virtual. Decision on how students will return to school depend upon what parents have selected.

Some teachers worry about their health and passing along the coronavirus to their families. However, some parents say that children have a right to learn in school and the plan offers a choice for parents preferring to keep their students home.

PWEA’s Statement on 2nd Quarter Return-to-Learning Plan, Oct. 4

The article may be updated with further information. 

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Education

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