WVEA pushes for continued blended education instead of returning to in-person learning

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — On Jan. 11, 2021, Governor Jim Justice announced he will sign an executive order allowing schools to return to in-person education beginning Jan. 19, 2021. A decision that concerns some educators in the area.

On Jan. 13, 2021, the State Board of Education will meet to discuss implementing full in-person learning, and members of the West Virginia Education Association said they will attend to voice the concerns on behalf of the teachers in the state.

Members of the WVEA said during a unique and overwhelming year for everyone, teachers remained on the front lines interacting with students both in person and online.

As the State Board of Education deliberates on whether to send students and faculty back to full in- person education on Jan. 19 or not, WVEA Union President Dale Lee said they will argue against this decision, and present an idea they believe will keep everyone safe.

“We are just giving them a recommendation to the board, that they adopt a flexibility for counties and to go away from having to have full in-person classes on Jan. 19,” said Lee.

Lee said most of their members do not feel safe to go back to full in-person classes right now, and said they would feel more safe in a blended model.

“We have already started the vaccinations, so there is no need to rush this,” said Lee.

The WVEA took a survey of more than 3,500 people to gather their thoughts about having students return to full in-person classes.

“The survey came from our members. We are hearing daily from not only our on file members, but from parents and students even who don’t feel safe,” said Lee.

Lee said with the vaccines on the way for educators, it would be beneficial to remain in a blended learning system for a little while longer.

“It’s been four months, a couple more weeks won’t make that drastic of a difference, but it may save people from the perils of this terrible virus,” said Lee.

Lee said it the job of their organization to be a voice for teachers in the state. He said he is hopeful the board will listen to the message they are presenting and make a decision that benefits everyone

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