CHARLESTON – Judge Carrie Webster denied the temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by the West Virginia Education Association. Citing safety concerns, the need for vaccinations and the potential harm to students, educators and their families, WVEA filed the TRO and an injunction in response to the unilateral decision to re-open schools. WVEA’s TRO was consolidated with a similar case filed by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Judge Webster noted this is an unprecedented case and while she respected the legitimate safety concerns brought up by the two teacher unions, she did not find that the Board of Education created irreparable harm or overstepped its authority. The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) asked for an accompanying injunction to be dismissed. Webster took that motion under advisement.
The following is a statement attributed to WVEA President Dale Lee.
“While we’re disappointed with the decision, the judge did make a point of saying educators are at greater risk during this pandemic and that educators do have standing in filing this TRO. The State Board’s decision took options away from county boards who are trying to keep our students, their families and the employees and their families safe. Decisions to teach in-person, remotely, hybrid and online should be a local decision, made by those who are the most impacted and who best understand how to best educate students safely. While some areas may be able to safely return to in-person learning, for others it is an entirely different situation. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ does not fit the learning needs all of our students when it comes to instructing our children or to returning to in-person learning in the middle of the pandemic.”
WVEA will continue to advocate for a safe learning environment for our students and a safe working environment for our employees.