Union urges Fairfax teachers to take ‘mental health day’

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP/WMAL) — A teachers’ union in Virginia’s largest school district urged its members to call in sick today for a “mental health day” as they ponder how they will respond to a gradual return to in-person learning.

Fairfax Education Association President Kimberly Adams said teachers needed the mental health day because of the stress they face with a looming Oct. 30 deadline to say whether they will return to the classroom when called upon, seek a leave of absence, or resign.

“We are drawing a line by protecting our members,” she said.

The union has urged that school remain fully virtual for the entire 2020-21 school year because of safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. It represents about 4,000 teachers and staff in the Fairfax County school system — the nation’s 10th largest — which employs almost 25,000

The vast majority of Fairfax County Public Schools’ 187,000 students are currently attending fully virtual classes. Superintendent Scott Brabrand has outlined a plan that would have students return in stages through late January to two days a week of in-school learning.

He has accelerated the timeline slightly on request from the school board, which has asked him to come up with an even earlier timetable.

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