For months, Virginia teachers unions have peddled fear: Reopening public schools for in-person learning was and is too dangerous.

They’ve advocated delaying reopening schools until all teachers – and possibly all students – received a COVID-19 vaccine. In January, a Republican-sponsored state Senate bill requiring school districts to offer parents both in-person and virtual options drew a dour response. Forcing schools to open, the unions said, was a “BAD idea.”

“We can recover from a loss of learning, but we can’t recover from a loss of life,” Virginia Education Association president James J. Fedderman told a local TV station earlier this month.