Editor: Thank you to the Virginia state legislature for passing Senate Bill 1303. I urge Gov. Ralph Northam to sign this bill into law.
This bipartisan bill, from Sen. Dunnavant of Henrico, requires each local school division to make virtual and in-person learning available to all students by choice of the student’s parent or guardian. It is imperative that our children receive the education they deserve.
As their child’s primary educator, parents need options for the coming school year, because educational needs differ for every student. Families who don’t want to send their students into school for legitimate health concerns fear that distance learning is being wrested away from them. Conversely, parents who have seen their sons and daughters struggle to learn over a video call have no hope that schools will ever fully open again.
On the Loudoun County School Board, I’ve been working to solve this question: “How do we provide the best education for all students?” As a teacher and a parent, I understand this struggle first hand. We know that life after the pandemic will never be the same, so it would be detrimental to our students to take away the option of learning from home. We also know schools throughout our state and country have successfully reopened.
Parents need options for next year, and they need a commitment from their legislatures that they can count on. The governor can help school boards unify their communities and make the decision to allow in person and virtual learning.
John Beatty, Lovettsville
[The writer is the Catoctin District representative on the Loudoun County School Board.]