The Prince William County School Board unanimously approved the Safe Learning & Safe Workplace policy. The policy requires all PWCS employees to either get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or to submit to weekly testing.
The agenda item was passed without any discussion and without Citizens’ Time. Citizens’ Time was suspended Wednesday evening after the crowd became disruptive and people wanted to fill the room. The board meeting did not resume until two and half hours later.
Although the school board members did not discuss the policy, which is unusual, Superintendent Dr. Tanya McDade voiced her support for it during Superintendent’s Time.
McDade said the policy was “student focused." She said it is in keeping with President Joe Biden’s recommendations for schools across the nation. It also makes sense at this juncture since the Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval. The vaccine is "unequivocally" the recommendation of health experts and scientists, McDade said.
She said that vaccinations do not just protect the individual but the students and the larger community. Stopping the spread of Covid means more inperson school time and less quarantining of students, which is especially important this year. For those who wish not to be vaccinated, she said they would be given free Covid tests weekly.
The announcement comes at a time when Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging in Virginia and across the country largely due to the Delta variant.
Another announcement McDade made during Superintendent’s time was that students would have to have assigned seats on their buses. While this is not normal, she said it is “necessary” this year to keep students safe and tract Covid-19. If one student has Covid it is important to know who that person had been in close contact with during school hours.
At the school board meeting, citizens wanted to talk in opposition to the vaccines, and about changing policies regarding Citizen Comment Time. However, the biggest topic of the night was Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory was not an agenda item.
Some people believe that the Equity Statement the school board passed last year in June opening the door for Critical Race Theory, but no such action to consider CRT had been placed on the agenda.