Summary of 1/12/20 School Board meeting on the topic of returning Option 1 students to school:
* Original motion made was to approve the Superintendent's amended plan that was changed just a few hours prior to the meeting. There was consensus among Board members that we didn't want to give him the authority to make changes to dates that would be set. Original motion was never voted on
* I made a substitute motion to approve the plan presented to the Board last week that has been supported by over 30 local esteemed physicians. Failed 4-7
* Ms. Weems made a substitute motion to approve Dr Spence's amended plan provided a few hours before the meeting to change the start dates by 2 weeks but to remove his authority to change the dates. I made the second to approve. Motion never voted on
* Ms. Owens made another substitute motion passed to her in a note by Bev Anderson. This motion was to approve the amended plan with start dates for first group of Feb 1 and second group Feb 22; however, there are stipulations. All 5 mitigations strategies must be met AND infection rates must have a 7 day decline before students are allowed to return to school. No details were given in the motion regarding the details of how those 7 days are measured. Motion passed 6-5 (nay votes-- Weems, Rye, Manning, Hughes, Franklin).
At the last minute, just hours before the School Board meeting, the Department of Health Director changed her view and stated that she could not support the plan proposed last week because her office could not do proper COVID tracing during the current metrics. Dr Spence told us late in the night that prior to the holiday break, he asked the VB Dept of Health if there was anything that VB Schools could do to help with contact tracing. It is now weeks later and he still has not received an answer from them. I fear that this organization will continue to prevent our students from returning to school and feel that we are letting 1 person's voice drown out the advice from over 30 other physicians who have indicated that students are safer IN school and that they believe community metrics could decline with students back IN school. Additionally, Chesapeake has already begun their employee vaccinations. VB will not even begin for at least 2 more weeks (possibly more) and there must be 4 weeks between the 1st and 2nd dose. City Council in their meeting last night expressed their frustration with the VDH vaccine rollout in VB.
If you want to get students back to school contact your state legislators to let them know this is not acceptable. Legislators on both sides of the aisle have called for not approving additional funding if students do not return to in person learning