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Waynesboro students back in the classroom amid teacher concerns

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 11:17 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) - Waynesboro students are back in the classroom, and for the first time this school year, everybody has the opportunity to come in. But, this move doesn’t come without some concerns.

Waynesboro school leaders chose a phased approach bringing in the city’s youngest and most vulnerable learners first and now, this week, high schoolers are back.

The younger the students, the higher the number going into the schools - 65% of elementary students, 55% of middle schoolers, and high school is about 50-50.

The President of the Waynesboro Education Association, Rosemary Wagoner, is asking the school board to go to an all-virtual model due to high transmission in the community.

“We continue on an upward trend of positivity maintaining over a 20% positivity rate over a seven-day period,” stated Wagoner. “You may know that last week VEA president Dr. James Fedderman called for all schools in Virginia to move to a virtual model until those who work with the students can be vaccinated. I want to echo that statement for Waynesboro.”

School leaders say the schools are not even close to reflecting the positivity rate that’s in the community.

“When our schools follow the mitigation strategies and follow them faithfully, and we do, we’re not seeing transmission within the school,” Waynesboro School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Cassell said. “In fact, there’s much less transmission in school than there is in the community. And so, it seems students, the safest place for many of our students is in school.”

Teachers are considered essential workers and will have the opportunity for vaccinations before the general population.

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