In Virginia, the president of the Fairfax Education Association, who has been fighting legislation that would make masks optional in public schools, wrote in response to the news of the county’s high COVID-19 transmission rates that it was “good news,” according to a post shared by the Fairfax County Parents Association.
Teacher Union Head: It's "good news" that COVID cases are high so that kids can't unmask.
In a recent FB post, the FEA Pres. celebrated Fairfax County's high COVID rates, which under FCPS's "roll back" plan would mean parents are denied any option to unmask their kids. pic.twitter.com/3Cvpg4N6oZ
— Fairfax County Parents Association (@FFXParentsAssoc) February 15, 2022
Adams’ reference to a “plan” referred to the Fairfax Public School System issuing an update on their “Roll Back Plan” with this statement on February 10:
Dear FCPS Families and Staff,
As we mentioned in our most recent community letter, we have been working with health experts to develop a plan to safely scale back layered prevention measures. The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, guiding every decision we make during this pandemic. Our roll back plan uses community transmission data and health expert recommendations to inform our decision-making.
While we continue to see declines in COVID cases across our community, we remain in high transmission and all current layered prevention strategies, including masking, remain in place. FCPS will implement our roll back strategy when the Fairfax County community reaches moderate transmission and remains there for seven consecutive days.
When that happens, the following changes will go into effect:
Masking will be optional. Universal masking will only be required during high or substantial community transmission rates. There may also be times, such as an outbreak, when some students and staff will be asked to wear masks during mask-optional community transmission levels to protect the public health.
FCPS employees who are not fully vaccinated or are unvaccinated will still be required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of transmission level, as outlined by the Department of Labor and Industry.
On Monday, a bill that would make masks optional in Virginia schools was passed by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, and is expected to be signed by GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin.
ABC 7 reported last Thursday, “Right now, the CDC and Virginia Department of Health classify Fairfax County as being in ‘High Transmission’, with over 250 cases per 100,000 people. Case numbers and positivity rates are currently dropping, but the county won’t reach ‘Moderate Transmission’ levels until there are less than 50 cases per 100,000 people.”
Bonnie Myshrall, the president of the Fairfax County Parents Association, told ASBC 7 that the FCPS roll back plan on masking came far too late, commenting, “It was frustrating, because as parents we had been advocating for these off-ramps for a year and a half or more.”
Adams traveled to Richmond on Friday, where she stated her opposition to the Legislation that would make masks optional in Virginia schools, saying, “The first reason that we’re opposed to it is it takes away the local control….If the pandemic sparks up again in a couple of months, we don’t have the power then to say masks are necessary.”
She added, “The other piece is it doesn’t really protect the people who need everyone around them to be masked, so it forces parents to make a decision if they’re going to have to pull their children out of school again.”