VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Amid rising COVID-19 numbers in Virginia Beach, there’s a growing number of concerned parents and teachers who are against returning to school full-time this fall.

They have formed an online group, VBCPS BACK TO SCHOOL SAFELY, and come up with specific goals they want to see reached before that happens.

The group formed five days ago and already has more than 1,000 members, including Alice Talley.

Talley told 10 On Your Side she doesn’t “think returning to school five days a week at full capacity is going to be safe for anyone.”

Talley is a Virginia Beach Middle School teacher and has eight children of her own attending the district’s public schools.

“I don’t think my children or any of my students should be the guinea pigs to see [if this] is this going to work and is … safe.”

The group is calling on school leaders to consider their concerns and what they want. That includes:

  • 24 consecutive days of decreasing COVID-19 positivity rates in the city
  • Adequate personal protective equipment
  • Accountability for self-screening
  • A hotline for non-compliance with protective measures
  • Mandatory reporting of positive cases that would then be listed by site on the district website
  • Guaranteed leave for all COVID-19-related absences

The list goes on.

School superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence told that he hears their concerns, as well as the concerns of other parents who have banded together calling for in-person classes to resume in the fall. He said the district is working with both sides as well as health experts on the best way to reopen and keep everyone safe.

No matter how the district decides to move forward, Talley said she will return to work for her students but she knows of others who will not.

“So, I’m afraid that we’re going to lose a lot of really good educators,” she said.

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