Skip to main content

To: Scott Croxton- scroxton@essex.k12.va.us; Michael Wind- mwind@essex.k12.va.us; Andrea Sydnor- ajsydnor@essex.k12.va.us

Restore Essex County Public School's COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies and Protocols

Restore Essex County Public School's COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies and Protocols

On January 31, 2022, the Essex County School Board voted to approve a motion cancelling all current COVID-19 prevention strategies in the county’s schools during a special meeting. The motion was made by Scott Croxton, a member representing the Greater Tappahannock District. The motion was approved by the Essex County School Board 3:2. The Board members who voted to approve the motion were Scott Croxton, Michael Wind, and Andrea Sydnor. Board Chair Raymond Whitaker, and Vice Chair Garlyn Bundy voted against the motion.

We ask the Essex County School Board to commit to the health and safety of all students, teachers, and staff within the Essex County Public School system by immediately restoring the school division’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies and protocols. Mitigation strategies include but are not limited to masking, temperature checks, testing, quarantining, social distancing, contact tracing, and specialized cleaning on buses, within the schools, and in all school facilities. We request the Essex County School Board use all available resources to improve the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems at Tappahannock Elementary School, Essex Intermediate School, and Essex High School.

Why is this important?

The health and safety of the Essex County Public School students, teachers and staff is of the utmost importance. Essex County Public Schools had to release students early on February 4, 2022, due to a staff shortage. Many teachers and staff members believe the learning environment is unsafe and do not want to put themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19. An Essex High School student was sent to the principal on February 3, 2022, after a teacher discovered a flyer organizing a student walkout. The flyer read, “Covid-19 is real. We lost too many lives," and asked students to walk out for 16 minutes in honor of the 16,412 people who lost their lives due COVID-19 in Virginia. A parent of a special needs student who is nonverbal and wheelchair bound, said she took her daughter out of school because of health and safety concerns. Signing this petition is important because we cannot allow elected officials to put the health and safety of our children and community at-risk. By prematurely ending COVID-19 mitigation strategies and protocols, the school district is unable to provide a safe environment for students to receive a free appropriate public education.

Updates

2022-02-11 08:51:56 -0500

“We are here to protect our families,” said parent Gene Quarles, who worries about the health safety of his 14-year-old daughter who has Type 1 diabetes.

Teacher Michelle Dungee spoke at the rally, talking about the importance of COVID-19 protocols that include cleaning and masking. “Don’t just come in and wipe everything away from us,” she said.

“These protocols are not just stopping COVID, they have stopped the flu. They have stopped the common cold,” Dungee said."

https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/essex-county-parents-teachers-upset-after-school-board-wipes-away-all-covid-safety-protocols/

2022-02-11 08:49:48 -0500

"According to the CDC, the county of Essex is currently experiencing a high transmission rate of COVID-19. When transmission is high, the Virginia Department of Health's Office of Epidemiology recommends that children 2+ wear masks in indoor settings.

“We can agree to disagree on the mask issue," Sidney said. "But I think we all can agree that we need to do whatever we can to keep our children safe.”

https://www.wtvr.com/news/local-news/as-essex-county-schools-roll-back-covid-measures-parents-speak-out

2022-02-11 07:29:32 -0500

“ On Wednesday, Sidney said parents were going to sign their children out of school early and keep them at home on Thursday to stand in solidarity with teachers and staff.

ADVERTISEMENT

“For me, today is all about showing unity,” he said. “This is a small community, so a lot of the teachers are relatives, some are former teachers, so I feel like it’s a duty and obligation to stand with them.”

https://www.nbc12.com/2022/02/09/essex-parents-sign-students-out-early-protest-end-divisions-covid-protocols/?fbclid=IwAR2t-UpL91npOl9LKusLXpDJv1wVDE_93Cy5E5Cu5HJl9cmBa92oHEE28_I

2022-02-11 07:25:09 -0500

Call and email the superintendent and school board members who voted to end the COVID-19 mitigation strategies in Essex.

Andrea Sydnor, At Large representing all 4 districts
ajsydnor@essex.k12.va.us
804-443-3810 or work 804-443-5059

Mike Wind, Central District
mwind@essex.k12.va.us
804-445-3023

Scott Croxton, Greater Tappahannock District
scroxton@essex.k12.va.us
804-651-3975

Dr. Harry Thomas, Superintendent
hthomas@essex.k12.va.us
804-443-4366

2022-02-10 12:46:01 -0500

Join us at 4 PM for the Rally to Restore ECPS COVID—19 Protocols. Bring signs and wear purple and gold. Let me know if you or your child is interested in speaking. The media will also be there. Please wear your mask and try to social distance. Pay attention to your surrounding and if you see something suspicious let law enforcement know.

2022-02-06 11:59:12 -0500

"Annastasia Fisher, a junior at Essex County High School, disagrees with their decision, “You’re putting other people’s life at risk. Not just teachers and the students, but also the people at home.”

Keimya, another Essex County High School student, said their voices are finally being heard, “Teachers feel like they were always quiet because they didn’t want to lose their jobs, but it’s like now they have to speak up because it’s life or death.”

https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/dozens-of-essex-county-teachers-call-out-sick-due-to-school-boards-decision-to-lift-covid-protocols-prompting-early-dismissal-friday/

2022-02-04 19:49:40 -0500

“The teachers who called out today did so because of their dismay with the school board’s action to eliminate COVID mitigation protocols that we had in place,” he said.

This decision came during a special meeting held on Monday night, which caused concern for Valerie Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Tappahannock Elementary School.

“We are not a piece of paper towel that you can use, wipe your hands on and throw in the trash can,” Taylor said. “We are absolutely valuable, and as of today, you should see that.”

https://www.nbc12.com/2022/02/04/essex-county-schools-dismiss-students-early-after-dozens-staff-members-call-out/?fbclid=IwAR32kU4YHpJlO7x5HrsbVRePp-ybKRDkuuIYdVtJCv5Xmf1ChpRgUV6_z5M

2022-02-04 19:18:51 -0500

500 signatures reached

2022-02-04 14:58:28 -0500

Essex County Schools closing at noon today

https://www.wric.com/news/education/essex-county-schools-closing-at-noon-today/

2022-02-04 14:58:01 -0500

Below is a link to the Special School Board meeting held on January 31, 2022

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MVN2tQw50w&t=1752s

2022-02-04 14:26:29 -0500

100 signatures reached

2022-02-04 14:12:12 -0500

50 signatures reached

2022-02-04 14:07:21 -0500

25 signatures reached

2022-02-04 13:59:26 -0500

10 signatures reached