In response to the VBCPS Fall 2020 Plan, the VBEA cannot support the Green, Yellow, Red model as presented. The VBEA appreciates the work and efforts of all those involved in crafting this plan and understand that science and data drove the development of the three-color model. However, the indicators for the Yellow zone are too broad and do not provide a reasonable sense of security to return safely to a face-to-face learning environment. We reiterate that no one wants to return to school, in person, more than the employees of VBCPS; but not at the expense of the health and safety of students, employees, and the community at large.
In lieu of the current Option 1, we are suggesting a commitment to remote learning for at least the first quarter and then a return to face-to-face instruction only when we are in the Green zone consistently for two weeks. The constant oscillation in and out of the classroom during the Yellow zone is harmful not only to the consistency of instruction but the social and emotional wellbeing of all stakeholders. We are recommending the division offer the following choices to families and employees:
Option 1: A full commitment to remote instruction for at least 9 weeks with a transition to face-to-face instruction when the requirements for the Green zone have been met.
Option 2: A full semester commitment to VLC.
In order to protect the employees of VBCPS we also recommend the following:
- A comprehensive leave policy whereby any employee that is COVID-19 positive or is caring for someone in their household who is COVID-19 positive is held harmless. FMLA should not be utilized in this situation.
- VBCPS shall provide PPE for all employees and students.
- VBCPS policies and regulations along with the Student Code of Conduct shall be updated to reflect the proper use of PPE and the consequences when employees/students do not comply.
- VBCPS shall ensure transparency in reporting COVID-19 cases. It is imperative that school officials notify immediately the employees and the community when a student or employee tests COVID-19 positive.
- When returning to a face-to-face learning environment class sizes shall remain small in order to ensure CDC social distancing and other safety protocols are followed.
- Employees shall have the opportunity to choose to work face-to-face or remotely.
The VBEA has been steadfast in maintaining that our union places the highest priority on the health and safety of our students, their families, and our school employees.