I’m Todd Blanset the president of the Vacaville Teacher’s Association
You have a difficult decision to make today and I don’t envy you. I spoke last month about why you should take a cautious, safe approach when opening schools, and I’m here tonight to tell you that VTA endorses the staged reopening plans developed by the District committees and we look forward to working with the administration on all other details of opening safely.
There are over 700 teachers, counsellors, psychologists, speech therapists, and nurses working for VUSD. Over the past few weeks many of them have written to you and spoken at the last board meeting about their concerns about safely returning to school next year. They have spouses, children, and parents who care about them and they deserve a chance to be safe at work. It is possible to open our schools safely this August and we owe it to our employees to do that.
School won’t look the same as it did before Coronavirus but nothing does. A trip to Luckys, to Los Reyes, to Sport Cuts, or anywhere else isn’t the same as it was before, and just like everywhere else we have to adapt. We owe it to our employees and our students to provide as safe an environment as we reasonably can. The plans that the committees developed will allow that. The plans are a compromise that provides students essential class time and everyone a minimal sense of safety. When we left school in March it was in a rush and we weren’t really prepared to distance teach. Our distance teaching is more developed now than it was before and we have time to get the details right before school starts. At the Elementary level the plans provide daily, teacher contact for students and they allow physical distancing child care options for those who need it. Physical distancing is at least possible with the modified schedules at Middle School and High School and the students have direct contact with teachers on a regular basis so that their learning is supported. We know that this situation isn’t ideal for the students, parents, or teachers, but it is a compromise that can work.
VTA urges the Board to adopt the plans developed by the District’s committees.