California Department of Education (CDE) School Reopenings
Our Union met with CDE regarding the plan to reopen our special schools and diagnostic centers for in-person learning and assessments. We had a number of concerns about safely reopening and advocated that schools should complete the year with distance learning and reopen for in-person learning in the fall.
Unfortunately, after four sessions, we were unable to move the State to our position. The schools will be reopening to serve day students in-person based upon the schedule previously provided to staff.
CDE already informed staff of their report date and will be providing staff the reopening plans prior to the first day back. At this time, only day students have the opportunity to return for in-person instruction. All residential students will remain home and continue distance learning.
In our conversations, we raised numerous concerns from our members about reopening including:
- Equity concerns regarding in-person learning only being
available to local students
- Lack of transparency and communication from CDE to impacted
employees over the entire time period that the reopening plan was
- Inability to demonstrate that long-term repairs and issues at
the schools have been addressed
- Availability and accessibility of PPE, disinfectant wipes,
and other cleaning supplies necessary to safely interact and
maintain clean classrooms
- Lack of access to the reopening plans drafted by CDE
- Disruption to learning progress by changing education
delivery so close to the end of the year
- Childcare concerns for employees whose children attend a
school district that will remain closed until the end of the
- Workload required to set up a classroom for in-person instruction (including working with maintenance to set up safety needs in the classrooms) while also delivering distance learning
While we are disappointed that the department did not see these concerns as serious enough to delay reopening until the fall semester, CDE participated in the meeting process in good faith, and are able to move forward with the reopening timeline for this spring.
Conversations with CDE will be ongoing to ensure that any problems that arise from reopening are addressed quickly. Our Union will continue to work with the department to ensure that our members’ concerns and expertise as educators are at the forefront of the planning for a more robust in-person reopening in the fall.
CDE is asking employees to inform their supervisors of safety concerns at the school site, and we encourage all employees to do so. This will help our Union identify the major issues to address moving forward. We also encourage you to raise these concerns with stewards at your school site.
In addition to our continued conversations, our team is also working on an action plan so employees can stay engaged in the reopening process and put pressure on CDE to take the lead from the experts in delivering high quality education to deaf, blind, and disabled students – each of you. We will update members as we know more about the actions we want to take moving forward.
Please be on the lookout for more updates as we continue to meet with the department regarding the reopening process.