Governing Board Meeting TVEA Spotlight
I am honored to present the TVEA Spotlight tonight on behalf of our 1325 Teacher and Specialist members.
As we enter our twelfth calendar month of navigating the impacts of COVID -19, there is much speculation about the potential of returning to in-person instruction.
This is an interest of all stakeholders in TVUSD from District Management, to Parents, to Students, to Teachers. As I have stated previously, no one committed to a career in teaching for the purpose of delivering on-line instruction to their students.
Last month, the State of California provided new Public Health Guidance with minimal reopening requirements of an Adjusted Case Rate of 25 or less per 100,000 for grades TK-6, and a similar metric of 7 or less per 100,000 for grades 7-12.
It seems as if TVUSD is eager to get to these minimally required indicators and while the anticipation is understandable, two things should be kept it mind:
1) Our region is still housed in an extreme deep Purple Tier characterized as “Widespread Risk.” COVID-19 positivity among our staff across the district continues to be reported almost daily.
2) For success and sustainability in any return to school for staff and students, there must be sound infrastructure.
TVUSD informed our Special Education Teachers of plans to reopen in-person Special Education Hubs across the District next Tuesday February 9th.
With such Hubs having been inoperable due to safety concerns for essentially two calendar months, our members have requested answers to various questions. It is our hope that TVUSD will respond by conducting a single meeting to facilitate expectations and establish protocols being clearly understood by all.
This sort of critical infrastructure goes well beyond TVUSD’s internal coordination and communication. The State Public Health Guidance I spoke of earlier requires Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing of BOTH Students and Staff each week with an adjusted case rate of 14 or higher in the Purple tier, and every two weeks with a Purple tier adjusted case rate of 7-13.9, as well as a Red Tier case rate of 4 to 7. There has been no traction in Sacramento on Governor Newsom’s plan to offer districts fiscal support for a return to in-person instruction and even with positive movement, the projected cost for TVUSD to administer this volume of tests makes such testing appear unsustainable.
Finally, the release of the COVID-19 vaccines provides a sense of hope toward the reduction in case numbers and providing a safe return to in-person instruction. The state Public Health Guidance “Strongly Recommends that all persons eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines receive them at the first opportunity”. Vaccines are now a critical variable which should be part of an equation for any TVUSD plan to return to in-person instruction.
While availability has been limited and the qualifications of those immediately eligible has shifted, it is paramount that all TVUSD staff have accessibility to the vaccine to provide adequate protection from the virus. The fact that the County of Riverside has placed no vaccination clinics in the Temecula/Murrieta area is unacceptable. As a TVUSD community, we need to build alliances with our City Council and our local County Supervisor to ensure the vaccine is available here locally for those who work in education.
Anticipation and Excitement over any return to in-person instruction will quickly fizzle without the needed supports to ensure sustainability.