I imagine that conversations like this are happening all over the country right now: An inside look at how one Bay Area school district is preparing to reopen March 8
The district announced last month a framework to reopen March 8 if three key components fall into place: if public health conditions allow, if a program to test all teachers and students is launched and if an agreement is approved with the teachers union.
In the Golden State, with 6 million public school students, the California Teachers Association has said it wants all educators vaccinated before returning to the classroom; many local unions have also adopted this sentiment.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has said he will not force schools to reopen. Instead, he wants to give them an incentive, proposing a $2 billion “Safe Schools for All” plan, which has been met with criticism from superintendents, unions and lawmakers. It would give schools extra funding for COVID-19 testing and other safety measures if they resume in-person classes. Schools that reopen sooner would get more money.
"Our goal is to open a hybrid TK-5 program that consists of part-time in-class instruction and part-time on-line instruction," district spokeswoman Susan Davis said. "In adherence to county and state public health mandates, our plan is to divide our classes into small cohorts of students and maintain social distancing and mask-wearing for all staff and students. We have also put considerable effort into upgrading our ventilation systems."
"We've all been operating under the assumption we needed to be fewer than 7 cases per 100,000 residents in the county to reopen, but some significant adjustments in the guidance that came to us on Jan. 14 from the governor's office and from the state department of public health are aimed at allowing schools to reopen when the case rate is 25 per 100,000," Pasquale Scuderi, the district superintendent, said in a Jan. 26 video.
I guess one good thing is that, at this point, everybody's at least talking about what the right answer is.