Virginia Schools Are Now Required to Publicly Post COVID Safety Procedure
Today, Gov. Ralph Northam signed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) bill to require Virginia school boards to publicly post their plans for addressing the public health risk of Coronavirus.
The new law (SB 5083), which takes effect today, ensures that Virginia parents, educators and students have full transparency about their schools’ health and safety protocols. Virginia school boards are currently required to create school health and safety plans; McClellan’s bill requires the plans to be posted on the school division’s website.
“This new law will create transparency for Virginians to know exactly what their schools are doing to prevent the spread of Coronavirus,” said Sen. McClellan. “Educators, parents and teachers across the Commonwealth can easily access their schools’ safety policies online. During this difficult time for families and school employees, this will provide critical information for making safety and health decisions. Thank you to Governor Northam for signing this important transparency legislation.”
Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield) was the chief co-patron in the Senate.
“Over these past few months, our education leaders, parents, and students faced incredible challenges as they worked to decide the safest options for their schools and families,” said Sen. Hashmi. “This legislation helps to make information more readily available and transparent so that families can make the best decisions for their students.”
“In these times, we need as much transparency as possible, because difficult decisions are being made across Virginia on how instruction should be happening and how we’re ensuring that it’s done safely,” said Virginia Education Association President James J. Fedderman. “We’re grateful to Senator McClellan for standing up for the health and safety of students, their families and communities, and local educators. Because of her leadership, and the commitment of fellow legislators, Virginians will be better informed and safer.”
Also, today, Northam signed the following bills co-patroned by Sen. McClellan:
· ICE Facility Inspection (SB 5017) – McClellan was a co-patron of Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s (D-Fairfax) bill to allow the Commonwealth of Virginia to inspect conditions at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in Farmville and in Caroline County. Northam signed the bill into law today.
· Investigating Misconduct (SB 5024) – McClellan was a co-patron of Senator L. Louise Lucas’s (D-Portsmouth) bill to establish the authority of the Attorney General to investigate police departments that deprive persons of rights, privileges or immunities. Northam signed the bill into law today.
· Restoring Discretion to Courts (SB 5033)– McClellan was a co-patron of Sen. Scott Surovell’s (D-Fairfax) bill to restore fairness to courts by allowing judges to dismiss charges for good cause, when both the prosecution and defense agree. Northam signed the bill into law today.
· Limiting Inappropriate Traffic Stops (SB 5029) – McClellan was a co-patron of Sen. Lucas’s bill to crack down on racial profiling by limiting the number of pretexts for which a driver can be pulled over. Gov. Northam signed the bill today with an amendment regarding traffic stops for driving without headlights or brake lights at night.
Jennifer McClellan was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 2017 after serving 11 years in the House of Delegates. She has been a leader on strengthening public education and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, criminal justice reform, combating domestic and sexual violence, and fighting discrimination of all kinds.