Leaders urge Northam to protect public schools, students, staff

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Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Woodbridge, led 11 of her colleagues in the Virginia legislature to send a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam, urging his administration to continue to stand behind protecting those that work in Virginia’s public schools, and the communities they serve.

The letter calls on the administration to:

  • Work with all school districts to commit to pay all school employees their full pay and benefits for the remainder of the academic year
  • Maintain all staffing positions during the COVID-19 crisis and do not layoff, furlough or reduce the workforce of any public school for the rest of the academic year.
  • Guarantee all employees planning to retire at the end of this academic year, their full retirement compensation and benefits.
  • Ensure all public school employees are able to receive paid leave and that they will not suffer loss to existing accrued leave.
  • Bridge the digital divide the school closures have exacerbated by ensuring all students and educators have the technology they need for distance learning and increasing support for English Learner, sensory impaired and students with learning disabilities.

“We recognize that this situation is changing rapidly and urge your administration to take additional measures to prioritize the safety of all public school employees and the students and communities that they serve and ensure that both school districts and school employees are not financially harmed as a result of COVID-19 closures, said the lawmakers in the letter.

Joining Del. Carroll Foy on the letter are Dels. Kaye Kory, Elizabeth Guzman, Sam Rasoul, Paul Krizek, Rodney Willett, Daniel Helmer, Patrick Hope, Jeion Ward, Kenneth Plum, Danica Roem and Roslyn Tyler.

Virginia is one of 35 states that have closed schools for a period of time due to COVID-19 and is one of eight states that has closed schools for the rest of the academic year.

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