Will Schools REALLY Open April 12?

Many of you have asked us to weigh in on San Diego Unified’s announcement of April 12th as a target date to reopen school sites for in-person instruction.

We see so many red flags with this proposal that we can’t, in good conscience, call it a “plan.” It’s really just another stall tactic that prevents San Diego students from getting the education they are afforded by law. Remember, SDUSD could have reopened K-6 a few days ago based on California Department of Public Health criteria, just like the also could have opened last September. Why wait? Actions, not words. Luckily, even the Editorial Board at The San Diego Union Tribune can see through the district’s latest PR ploy.

Here are our red flags:

School Staff versus Vaccine Availability Ratio

How many k-12 employees are in San Diego County? The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) told us it estimates about 80,000 (160,000 doses). How many vaccines will San Diego County set aside in that 20% each week? The County has no forward look into how many vaccines they will be receiving. The only numbers we found was of San Diego County receiving about 50,000 vaccines and 80k last week to make up for the delay. If 20% are set aside that is a pace of 10-15k appointments/week (assuming logistics supports this). That takes us into April just to get through first shots.

SDUSD has about 6000 teachers and about 15,000 total staff.

Let’s keep in mind that since the first vaccines shipped to SD County 11 weeks ago only 25% of those vaccinated have their second dose. SDEA wants 2 doses + 2 weeks to set in.

Here is the criteria from SDCOE about who qualifies as a school employee:

  • Any employee of a private, charter or district school that serves any grade, TK -12.
  • All substitute employees who work for a school or district.
  • Student teachers who are currently working in a school setting.
  • The employees of organizations that provide contracted services to students on a school campuses.

Vaccines are Prioritized Based on a Zip Code “Health Index”

Appointments for K-12 employees are prioritized based on a ranking of school sites using the Healthy Places Index (HPI), a report on the health of each census tract in California. The lowest quartile (4) equates to a tract with the lowest combination of health, education, and financial conditions. The highest quartile is 1. The SDCOE calculated the HPI quartile (1-4) for each school by converting the school’s street address to a census tract using U.S. Census geocoding. If an HPI value couldn’t be found for a particular tract, the closest adjacent tract was used. This list is now available on the SDCOE Dashboard.

Only 48 San Diego Unified schools fall into quartile 4.

There are 245 of these schools among all school districts in San Diego County. Many of those are already back onsite, we might add.

But here’s the real kicker…. 56 San Diego Unified Schools fall into Quartile 1… the FINAL PHASE.

Phase 2 is Not Yet Negotiated

Phase 2 isn’t agreed to yet. The agreement they signed was simply for the “path.” It is literally titled: Path to Safely Restarting Required Unit Member In-Person Instruction/Services.

The agreement is narrow in scope and doesn’t address Phase 2. It was rushed through in order to satisfy the County’s requirement that vaccines go to those working at open school sites or “with an agreement to open.” Now SDEA and the District return to negotiate what Phase 2 will look like, in line with this piecemeal strategy which has unnecessarily prolonged contract negotiations.

Parents have no idea what Phase 2 may look like because the district hasn’t shared their initial proposal with the public.

It’s possible Phase 2 will be a bust. We know SDEA already negotiated 1 full day as “teacher prep” so that leaves 4 days. Expect either 2 days/week or an AM/PM split. SDEA isn’t a fan of either of these and will probably want as much non-teaching time as possible to prepare.

If they go with AM/PM split and try to keep within the current agreement for instructional minutes, expect your student will get 2 hours AM or PM with their teacher – MAX.

We expect they will make Phase 2 the barest of minimums to discourage parents. We are also curious to see the wording of the survey they said will go out to parents next week.

Red Tier Trap

The agreement says San Diego County must be in the Red Tier to return. It goes on to state: “The Parties shall return to the bargaining table if the CDPH criteria for risk level tiers changes.”

You should know that many CTA unions are writing this into their contracts. It’s possible this is a strategy. CTA is dialed in up at Sacramento and might have inside knowledge. At the County Press Conference Supervisor Fletcher said “We’ll see what evolves with the tier structure. I think there’s a fair argument to be made that as we get deeper into vaccinations that math may look a little bit different, and I think it’s certainly possible the state may come out and revise that.”

So if Governor Newsom comes out with new tiers sometime between now and April 12…..

For all these reasons, we are concerned this announcement is just another carrot dangled out to parents and students, without any intention to follow through.

We added the below image 2/26 at 2:15PM. Even SDEA won’t commit to the date…..