FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax County Federation of Teachers has put out a statement expressing their support for an all-staff vaccine requirement at county public schools, with weekly testing as an alternative.
The statement, sent out on Monday, went on to suggest that Fairfax County Public Schools work with the county health department to make COVID testing and vaccinations easily accessible for students and staff. They also expressed their support for the current mask mandate.
“FCFT members are looking forward to being back with our students soon in our classrooms, buses, and cafeterias. Our members are concerned, however, about what precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of FCPS employees and the students in our care, many of whom are not yet eligible for the vaccine,” the statement reads.
FCPS is also asking that large, in-person gatherings be reduced and that staff meetings be offered either fully virtually or in a hybrid setting in order for staff to participate virtually by choice.
“Our members also ask for respect from our employer as we enter our third school year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a time that has been incredibly challenging for all educators.”
The Federation went on to ask that all in-person gatherings, such as social events, outside of work are optional, as well as events like Open House and Back to School night. The members also expressed concern regarding quarantine requirements and the depletion of personal sick days; asking that “admin leave be provided for any staff member asked by the health department to quarantine due to an exposure at work.”
The statement also emphasized members’ requests for open and clear communication and respect.
“Last year’s many pivots were a large part of why 2020-2021 was the hardest year many of us have ever experienced in our careers. While ever-changing COVID conditions contributed to the upheaval of last year, there are many places where strong leadership and clear communication could have reduced staff workload and stress, rather than add to it.”