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Staff Editorial: Virtual Option Needed Until Vaccine Proven Effective

Illustration by Annabelle Starr

Governor Ralph Northam stated that as of March 15th, 2021, school districts in Virginia need to offer some form of in-person instruction. 

“To prevent irreparable learning loss and psychological damage, I expect every school division in the Commonwealth to make in-person learning options available by March 15, 2021, in accordance with the latest guidance,” Northam said. 

Under the terms stated by Northam, Prince George County and Prince George High School already comply with these requirements, being that we have operated under a hybrid plan of instruction since the beginning of the school year. 

Regardless of the current condition that our school division is currently in, supporting bringing remote teachers back into the building to cover the increase in student numbers is not the right decision.

These teachers have already been pre-approved as high risk, and were initially told at the beginning of the semester that they would remain remote. 

This is particularly alarming because at the start of second semester the decision to bring more students into the building coincided with a spike of cases, an outbreak, over 20 staff members having COVID-19 related absences, and athletes being quarantined with some confirmed positive cases. 

Removing ethics from the argument, and just observing the facts still makes this decision wrong. Many students and staff are going to travel for Spring Break, and this will just put high risk teachers, more at-risk of catching the virus. Sure, a large population of teachers are being vaccinated, but due to orders from President Joe Biden, there will be a bigger push on the Johnson & Johnson vaccination which is only 85% effective in its published results.

Being vaccinated in general is more beneficial than having no protection against the virus at all, but bringing high-risk teachers back into a building, where there was just an outbreak, and students are about to leave on a vacation, is just irresponsible. 

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