Fairfax County Federation of Teachers support mandatory vaccinations, mask mandate in schools

The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers is expressing concerns about the safety precautions being put in place as they return to the classroom with their students. 

The FCFT provided feedback to Fairfax County Public Schools outlining their expectations for the school year to provide the best conditions possible.

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"We believe the following feedback will support creating the best conditions possible so that we can consistently provide five days of strong in-person learning for FCPS students throughout the 2021-2022 school year," the organization said in a statement. 

The group says they support FCPS requiring all staff members to provide proof of vaccination and requiring all those who do not provide proof of vaccination to participate in weekly COVID testing.

Members strongly support having a vaccine mandate due to the spread of the Delta variant and the growing case numbers among children. 

"We support all measures we can take to reduce the spread and protect these students." 

The organization is asking that Fairfax County Schools partner with the county health department make vaccines and testing easily accessible for staff and students by having clinics at schools. 

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FCFT also says they strongly support FCPS’ current mask mandate when students are in school buildings and facilities with the exception of being alone in a bus, classroom, office, or another workspace. 

They also ask that synchronous PD and staff meetings be offered either fully virtually or hybrid to allow staff to participate virtually by choice, and for Open House and Back to School Night events to be virtual or staggered. 

FCFT asks that leave be provided for any staff member if they are asked to quarantine due to an exposure at work. 

In the event that a class, school, or the district must temporarily transition to virtual instruction, FCFT asks that at least one asynchronous day be provided to give staff time to prepare for the transition to virtual instruction.

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"Finally, we ask for open and clear communication and respect for our professionalism," the statement read. "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."

The organization is asking that the county take their feedback and incorporate it into their plans for the 2021-2022 school year.