Virginia school slammed over 'snack and mask' break for students in subzero temperatures
A Virginia elementary school continues to face backlash after it responded to the outrage over students being forced to sit outside on cold concrete in the 24-degree weather on Tuesday as a reprieve from wearing masks. The hysteria caused by the Omicron variant has led schools across the country to make children take classes or eat lunch outdoors in dangerously low temperatures.
Photo and video footage obtained by the Fairfax County Parents Association (FCPA) shows a group of students at Waynewood Elementary, located a few miles south of Alexandria in the Fort Hunt area of Fairfax County, huddled together while enduring below-freezing temperatures as they took an apparent "snack and mask" break from indoor Covid-19 protocols. Speaking to the National Review, the FCPA said the footage was taken by a concerned parent who came across the scene.
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The FCPA -- which describes itself as a "nonpartisan group representing thousands of Fairfax County parents prioritizing children over politics in public education" -- posted photo and video footage of the incident on social media. “It’s well below freezing in Fairfax County, yet young children are having storytime on the cold concrete outside at @waynewoodes," the group tweeted. "This is the result of poor leadership and confusing guidance to teachers. Get these little ones inside! @FCPSSupt @fcpsnews @fairfaxhealth…Video of the elementary school kids sitting in 24 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit, below freezing) at @waynewoodes today. This is Virginia, where kids don’t routinely wear down and wool. @Karen4Schools @FCPSSupt @fcpsnews." The video purports to show the teacher standing in front of a group of kids while holding a book.
Video of the elementary school kids sitting in 24 degrees (that's Fahrenheit, below freezing) at @waynewoodes today. This is Virginia, where kids don't routinely wear down and wool. @Karen4Schools @FCPSSupt @fcpsnews pic.twitter.com/6scCWizHEy— Fairfax County Parents Association (@FFXParentsAssoc) January 11, 2022
Local temperatures for Tuesday in the area remained in the mid-20s for most of the day. Responding to the group, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools told National Review that the students were taking a "snack and mask break" in front of the school. “This morning on Twitter, an anonymous parent group posted a video that was taken outside of Waynewood Elementary School in Alexandria. In the video, a group of third-grade students are [sic] taking a snack and mask break in front of the school,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The weather conditions were monitored, and the students were outside for less than seven minutes. The teacher was reading a story to keep the students entertained. Students do go outside for mask and snack breaks in cold weather, but that time is limited.”
Regarding this video, the students are taking a snack & mask break in front of the school. Weather conditions were monitored & students were outside less than 7 min.— Fairfax Schools 🌟 (@fcpsnews) January 11, 2022
Note that students do go outside for breaks in cold weather, but that time is limited, as was the case here.
However, the statement only fueled further outrage on social media. "Why do students have snack breaks outside in sub-freezing temps?" one tweeted "Students don't need to eat outside in the cold! This response is ridiculous," another wrote.
"This is the most ludicrous response. If kids are outside in this weather taking breaks, they should be running and playing on the playground, not stuck sitting on cold concrete, like prisoners," someone else added.
"The point is that we shouldn’t have to do this outside. I can go eat at a restaurant tonight with no mask. Teachers are not uniquely susceptible to covid. Stop this union demanded theater to make them look like victims. It’s inhumane," another chimed in
Why do students have snack breaks outside in sub freezing temps?— Geoff Keller (@kellerg2) January 11, 2022
Students don't need to eat outside in the cold! This response is ridiculous.— Kim in VA (@VASweetTea) January 11, 2022
This is the most ludicrous response. If kids are outside in this weather taking breaks, they should be running and playing on the playground, not stuck sitting on cold concrete like prisoners.— Trust your own decisions. (@AJTurnerFootba1) January 11, 2022
The point is that we shouldn’t have to do this outside. I can go eat a restaurant tonight with no mask.— Students_against_unions (@AgainstUnions) January 11, 2022
Teachers are not uniquely susceptible to covid.
Stop this union demanded theater to make them look like victims. It’s inhumane.
Despite health officials assuring that Covid-19 poses minimal risk to children, several schools have adopted outdoor learning as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus. Last week, Chicago alderman Brian Hopkins raised eyebrows after suggesting that students should be made to eat lunch outdoors as a mitigation measure despite the Windy City's frigid temperatures.