Repost from Students First VA.
A vast majority of students in Virginia Beach were kept out of in-person school from March 2020 through June 2021 due to the decisions of some members of the VA Beach School Board. These decisions harmed children and caused a major educational setback for students.
School Board members MELNYK, ANDERSON, RYE, HOLTZ, OWENS & RIGGS voted 3 different times to prevent students from returning to in-person learning. On July 28, 2020, these 6 Board members voted to not allow parents to have a choice for their children regarding in-person versus virtual learning and students began the 2020-21 school year in a virtual only setting. On Oct 27, 2020 a motion was made to direct the superintendent to come up with a plan to return all students who choose in-person learning to be able to attend school 4 days per week. All 6 of these same Board members voted against the motion. Again, on Dec 1, 2020, a motion was made to return all students back to school for in-person learning who made that choice. All 6 Board members again voted against the motion.
On November 19, 2020, CDC Director Robert Redfield stated “All Schools should remain open. It is the safest place for children to be” and “It is counterproductive to close schools”. Pediatricians advising the Virginia Beach School Board stated multiple times that mental health problems among children have greatly increased. The VB School Health Advisory Board reported that overall employee medical claims had decreased, but mental health claims had increased. Physicians advising the School Board as well as physician letters sent to the Board stressed the importance of students being in school in person, yet MELNYK, ANDERSON, RYE, HOLTZ, OWENS & RIGGS ignored the advice of medical professionals.
We believe students were harmed by the impacts of these votes as most students remained virtual for the entire year. Reading scores declined and students with special needs did not receive services required by law. Multiple emails to the School Board from parents of students with special needs share the negative impact on their children caused by MELNYK, ANDERSON, RYE, HOLTZ, OWENS & RIGGS.