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TVUSD Governing Board Public Comments November 10, 2020

TVUSD Governing Board,

As elementary educators, we would like to take a moment to use our voices to share our thoughts and feelings about the reopening of schools. We have sat back and listened to our colleagues voicing their concerns about safety about reopening during an upswing in covid numbers, concerns about losing students due to class changes, concerns about personal childcare, and concerns about coming back to teach digitally in a very rigid, controlled environment. We value and respect our colleagues’ concerns and we worry about these issues too; however, we feel the need to speak up and share our feelings. As educators, we desperately want to return to the classroom with our students. We hear the pleas, the tears, and the frustration from our parents and the longing, confusion, and sadness from our students, and we feel powerless.

We feel that the minimal, four-question survey the union sent out on the waiver did not give us enough insight to understand how teachers feel about reopening. We only know that the majority voted not to return. To be able to address the fear and concerns that teachers have, we feel that we need to find out the real reasons behind them and hopefully work together to solve them. Why do many teachers not want to return? Is it due to dismantling classrooms, fear of COVID, fear of coming back to a rigid and controlled classroom, childcare?

As educators, we are problem solvers. Instead of taking a quick survey and letting the results of that keep our schools shut down, can we get to the root of the issue and work together to solve that? We need more information from our teachers. In light of new information we have just received regarding a flex option, we feel this could change the mindset of many teachers and the outcome of the survey results.

Those of us who favor returning to in-person instruction realize that school will not look the same, but we know that it is a step in the right direction as to what is best for students. We are pleading that the district continue the waiver process. If we have an approved waiver, we will have something in place to allow us the option to return in the event we do not come out of the purple tier. Our neighboring districts are moving forward with the waiver process; why can’t we? We see students in our community learning every day in private schools. We see our special education teachers teaching in the classroom, students congregating at sporting events, and kids playing together at the park, yet they still cannot return to our classrooms. Our job is essential. It is our responsibility to follow the ed code 43504b mandated by California law: “A local educational agency shall offer in person instruction to the greatest extent possible.”

Thank you for your consideration, we hope that you will make the best decision for our students moving forward.

Carrie Esparza, Jennie Taylor, Tanya Jeremiah, Erica Flores,

Jennifer Falciano, Diane Lawrence, Neisha McNamara, Amy Kennedy, Kristin Hoadley, Kayla Robarge, Tami Paine, Susana McNitt, Deirdre Klepacz, Holly Sorensen

Tony Tobin Elementary School


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