Students at Waynewood Elementary School in Fairfax, Va. were forced to “learn” outdoors on Tuesday despite freezing temperatures, new footage suggests.
Pictures and video posted by the Fairfax County Parents Association show dozens of students, clothed in coats, hats, and gloves, sitting on the curb of the nearby elementary school while a teacher standing feet away reads aloud from a book.
“She is reading a story to all these kids sitting outside in hats and coats and gloves. It is 24 degrees outside, 24 degrees. This is absolutely unacceptable, unacceptable,” the woman who took the video narrated.
It was unclear whether Fairfax County Public Schools mandated the outdoor learning session or the teacher chose to do it but the post by FCPA appears to allege that the students were forced outside due to a COVID-related policy.
“This is the result of poor leadership and confusing guidance to teachers. Get these little ones inside!” FCPA tweeted.
The parent group also noted that “this is Virginia, where kids don’t routinely wear down and wool” that could keep kids warm and safe from cold-weather-induced injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite.
Fairfax County Public Schools did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s questions about why students were forced to sit in the cold and which book the teacher was reading to students.
Pediatricians acknowledge that “winter can be a tough time for both kids and adults to stay healthy” due to higher circulation of illnesses such as colds, RSV, influenza, croup, pneumonia, strep throat, and stomach flu which increase during cold weather.
“The Fairfax County Parents Association believes students should be the number one priority of our public school system, and instances such as this one today make us wonder when the sacrifices we ask of children will ever be enough. We believe in putting the educational, social, and emotional needs of children above all else, and promoting the well-being of all students. We believe kids should come first in FCPS,” FCPA told The Federalist.