West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Superintendent Matthew Duffy released a statement Friday on negotiations with its employee unions on the path toward in-person learning. The statement in full follows:
We spent the past week negotiating with WCCUSD’s employee partners about a path to provide in-person support to students in the most need starting this spring. As you may have read or heard, we reached a tentative agreement late Thursday with all five bargaining groups on a spring in-person student intervention plan, starting April 19.
The intervention plan focuses on returning preschool through grade 12 students who fall into one or more of the following categories: homeless, foster youth, English Language Learner, African American, unable to access online learning due to internet connectivity, those with IEPs in Self Contained Classes or Full Inclusion, chronically absent/disengaged, at risk for abuse, neglect, or exploitation, needing in-person special education eligibility testing; and identified as having severe social-emotional needs as determined by school CARE/COST/SST/IEP.
The number of students returning will depend on the number of volunteer staff willing to return for intervention on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Once the intervention students are identified and we have the staff capacity, we will offer to have other students who do not fit the above categories, return on April 21 with Title 1 schools prioritized first. Outdoor activities operated by current District partners will also be allowed to continue. Again, this is contingent on staffing capacity.
The full details of the tentative agreement can be found here. The tentative agreement still needs to be ratified by all five employee group members. Additionally, the tentative agreement is the only major item scheduled on the Board of Education’s agenda for Wednesday, March 24. We negotiated the deal under detailed guidance from the WCCUSD Board of Education.
We have been without face-to-face physical interactions for more than a year. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zones and into spaces that have felt isolating, lonely, and stressful. At the same time, we know that some families and students have built their current schedules around distance learning. The agreement provides us an equity opportunity for those students in most need of in-person support while also honoring our labor partners’ current contract.
We believe the tentatively agreed-upon plan provides the appropriate safety measures for staff and students and follows all county and state safety guidelines. The return this spring, an increase in the availability of the Covid-19 vaccine, and the continued decline in coronavirus cases are the first steps toward a return to normalcy post-pandemic.
As we plan for a return this spring, we are also focused on the summer and are preparing for the fall. The summer programming is taking shape, with more than 40 schools submitting plans to host in-person programming for students that would like that experience. Summer school is available to teachers and staff that would like to work.
I encourage you to read the tentative agreement and join us at the Board meeting on Wednesday.
One final note on athletics and spectators. While we did not allow spectators for our opening games this weekend in order to make sure we could launch competitive games successfully, we will be amending that policy for the second week of games. Details will follow next week.