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Prince William schools consider weekly testing requirement for unvaccinated staff

On Wednesday, the Prince William County School Board will discuss whether its unvaccinated employees should be required to get tested weekly for the coronavirus.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Another northern Virginia school district is considering requiring its employees to get tested for the coronavirus weekly if they have not been vaccinated.

On Wednesday, the Prince William County School Board will discuss and consider that proposal. The nearby Fairfax County Public Schools district adopted a similar measure in August.

The proposal, which is named the “Resolution For Safe Learning and Safe Workplace” says the school board has a duty to protect the health and safety of students entrusted to its care.

“Including tens of thousands of elementary and middle school students who are not yet eligible for vaccination and who are particularly vulnerable to the virus,” the resolution reads.

The resolution, authored by Prince William County School Board Chairman At-Large Babur Lateef, also says approximately 80 percent of PWCS employees have already been vaccinated against the virus. 

According to the Prince William County Schools website, 160 people in virtual and in-person learning have tested positive for COVID in PWCS in September.

Daniel Ramirez, a PWCS seventh-grader, said he supports the proposal because some people in his school do not follow all necessary COVID precautions.

“Some people barely wear their masks up,” he said.

Ramirez’s father, Danny Garcia, added that he also likes the proposal because not all children are eligible to get a vaccine.

“What would be really bad is if an adult would be the one bringing the virus into the school,” he said.

However, one PWCS parent who did not want to be identified, told WUSA9 she was uncomfortable with the idea because no one should be pressured into getting a vaccination.

Maggie Hansford, president of the Prince William Education Association, also released the following statement on the testing resolution:

“I am grateful to belong to a profession with one of the highest vaccination rates, and I am proud of our educators and staff members for taking the necessary measures to protect themselves, their families and their students. I look forward to the division and school board working toward providing staff with access to vaccination boosters, in their efforts to continue to keep everyone safe and healthy as we continue to move forward with in-person learning. I am focused on achieving collective bargaining rights for employees so we have a seat at the table for decisions like these that impact our students and staff. I look forward to partnering with division leadership and school board members in the future when making decisions impacting our employees.  I appreciate the flexibility of the division offering weekly testing to those who are unvaccinated since some staff members are unable to, or choose not to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons. I support all safety precautions that keep our students and staff healthy with in-person learning.”

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