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Gov. Newsom Announces Physical School Closures Through End of Academic Year; Education Leaders Provide Framework
Educators saddened, yet ready to provide distance learning opportunities to all their students
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of physical school closures ends some uncertainty about the 2019-20 academic school year as labor partners and administrators work to provide local districts and unions with a framework for their work on an equitable approach to meeting local students’ needs and establish distance learning plans. More information is available in the Governor’s Executive Order on the closures and the California Department of Education’s guidance.
“The governor’s announcement is not unexpected, and I know educators across the state are stepping up to ensure students continue to get the learning opportunities they need. This is a tough situation for all of us – students, educators and families. Many schools closed so quickly that teachers didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to their students and really help them prepare for this new reality. I have heard from so many educators who have talked about how their students cried on their first distance learning calls, simply because they were happy to see each other,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “CTA members are working their magic to meet their students where they are. In fact, we’ve even seen caravans of teachers driving through neighborhoods to reach out and see their students.”
Teachers are offering distance learning from their homes, working with their districts to set up distance learning labs, creating and sharing lesson plans, and providing professional development support to each other. CTA is providing teacher-led online-learning webinars to help educators prepare. Educators are also continuing to support students and families by providing pick-up meals at school sites and working with school districts to provide laptops, tablets and other electronic devices to students who need them.
CTA was happy to work with Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tony Thurmond, Gov. Newsom, and our labor and management partners on the jointly-issued framework to provide additional direction to address the unprecedented and myriad challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has generated for school communities across California.
“The last two weeks have been challenging for all of us as educators, our students, their families, administrators and our communities as a whole. As we grapple with this new normal, we must work together with respect and compassion,” said Boyd. “The districts and schools that are working most effectively are those in which teachers were part of the discussions and involved in the distance learning planning every step of the way.”
CTA will continue to provide guidance to its local affiliates while working closely with the governor and SPI.
“We know there are still many unanswered questions for students, parents and educators. We will continue to work with Governor Newsom, Superintendent Thurmond and our education and labor partners as we now move forward with this new temporary normal,” said Boyd.
CTA guidance and resources for educators and parents are available at www.cta.org/COVID-19.
|It’s been 19 days since CTA recommended the closure of California schools and colleges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we’ve all been learning to shelter in place, protect ourselves and our families, and meet the needs of our students remotely. You have met these challenges head on, making sure that – especially during these unpredictable times – members can count on NEA, CTA and their local chapters to look out for their rights, as well as the rights and well-being of all students. |
Today, Governor Newsom announced the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year. (Read CTA’s press release here .) Now we must move forward knowing it is our new temporary reality. We’ve been partnering with the Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and our labor partners to address the many challenges we are facing.
I want you to know that CTA is raising your voices and concerns with our lawmakers, advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and making sure the needs of educators and students remain the focus of leaders.
While our offices are closed, CTA staff is still working to support leaders and members, and the CTA Board of Directors is meeting weekly to help guide the organization.
Here’s what’s new since our Tele-Town Hall meeting we had on March 19 (If you missed it, listen to recording of call):CTA Letter to State Senators (3.31.20)Legislators’ Letter to Gov. Newsom on Instruction and Meals (3.30.20)Additional Bargaining and Legal Advice and Sample MOUs (covering K-12, ESPs, Community Colleges, Special Ed, etc.) Login RequiredCoalition Framework for Labor-Management Collaboration (4.1.20)Additional COVID-19 Resources and FAQsCOVID-19 Facebook Group continues to grow (near 14,000 today). Don’t miss out!Recap of the happenings and media coverage so farWe want to highlight the great work that our members are doing during this crisis. Please encourage members to share photos and videos of them teaching from home.
Thank you for helping us lead this organization during this unpredictable time. As we face the road ahead, I can’t help but think about where we began. CTA was founded in 1863, the same year Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Since then, we’ve survived and thrived through a Civil War, World Wars, natural disasters, Supreme Court rulings, other pandemics, and even No Child Left Behind! We’ve got this!
E. Toby Boyd
In alignment with the recent guidance from Governor Newsom and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Vacaville Unified School District will extend the closures of our school facilities and students will not return in-person to our campuses for the remainder of this school year. This does not mean the 2019-2020 academic year is finished. It means we have to find even more innovative ways to educate our students while adhering to the ‘shelter-at-home’ orders.
Thank you parents who have truly become our partners and have shown great patience and flexibility during this overwhelming time. I know how difficult it must be to monitor your child’s learning while managing all the other uncertain issues that have arisen out of this circumstance.
Our staff has been preparing for all possible scenarios and with your support, we are ready to meet this moment together. Distance learning will continue. As was done already, with minimal time for teachers and staff to prepare, we have developed a second phase of our distance
learning plan in collaboration with our union partners which begins after Spring Break.
We will be sending out communications by next Thursday, April 9, 2020 with details. We designed the second phase of our distance learning plan to take effect after Spring Break for a reason. We want our parents, students, and staff to take a break from online learning and pick back up
refreshed and ready to learn. The expectation is that our educators will continue to provide instruction and our students will stay engaged in their learning until the very last day of school, which is still June 4, 2020.
We will also continue our meal service at designated school sites for the rest of the school year including Spring Break (April 13-17).
Our staff are working tirelessly to help our students and planning for them to remain connected to the school community. We know the adults on a school campus are an important part of a student’s life and will do our best to try and maintain that connection. The District will continue to provide options for students and updates can be found on the homepage at VacavilleUSD.org under the red banner labeled “District Closure Information/Online and Home Learning Tools”.
During this closure we will be providing student meals for anyone aged 0-18 at four District locations, please access the location that is closest to your family, regardless of whether or not it is a school your child attends. Starting Monday, March 16, we will be providing breakfast and lunch at no cost at the following school locations:
Markham Elementary – 101 Markham Avenue
Willis Jepson Middle School – 580 Elder Street
Vaca Pena Middle School – 200 Keith Way
Will C. Wood High School – 998 Marshall Road
Meals will be available from 11:00-12:30.