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COVID: E. Bay Teachers Union At Odds With District Plan To Get Students Back On Campus

WALNUT CREEK -- Students in Contra Costa County could be back in the classroom in just three weeks, but teachers unions are pushing back.

Mount Diablo Unified School District released photos of social distancing markers on the ground and spread out desks to show what a return to campus could look like for students and teachers under a proposed hybrid model.

Negotiations, however, are still on-going between the district and the unions for teachers and staff, despite the announced March 17th return date for teachers and March 22nd for students on all campuses and all cities.

It's a sticking point for the Mount Diablo Educators Association.

"We've established criteria for safety based on metrics by city. Our district is unique that it is very, very diverse. Some parts of our district have very low transmission rates and low case rates and others have very high case rates and where those case rates are high - it is not advisable to increase the interaction among people," says MDEA president Anita Johnson.

The school board is set to vote on Wednesday whether or not to adopt the hybrid recommendation and issue a directive for everyone to get back on campus. The union is says there is no agreement in place.

"That would be a violation of the education employment relations act. So we are calling on them not to violate the law," Johnson said.

Katherine Erickson is a Mount Diablo teacher and parent. She's signed her six-year-old son up for the hybrid model and calls the plan a step in the right direction, but wants more details.

"I think getting kids on campus, sort of getting that ball rolling is a good thing to do. sort of so we can work out the kinks, figure out what works, what doesn't," she told KPIX5 via Zoom.

Every parent has a different idea of what should precipitate a return to campus.

"I am a strong proponent of getting the kids back in school, like all of the other districts around us - once the teachers are vaccinated," said Walnut Acres parent Alyse Lustig.

Her second grade daughter, Tobin, knows what she wants, though - and that's to be back in a classroom, and said, "Because I think it would be funner there because we all get to work together."


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