West Contra Costa Safe Open Schools is a group of parents, caregivers and teachers who are committed to public education and believe our children should have access to safe, in-person instruction. We believe in following the science and data on COVID-19 transmission within schools. We also respect all members of our community, even those who disagree with us.
- On February 10, Contra Costa County met the state health threshold to allow K-6 schools with approved safety plans to open for in-person instruction.
- The Harvard Global Health Institute, the CDC, Dr Anthony Fauci, and numerous other public health experts clearly state that schools should reopen, starting with elementary schools.
- Teachers are doing amazing work, but distance learning is not a substitute for in-person learning. While some students are thriving, many kids and families are suffering.
West Contra Costa Safe Open Schools insists that:
- The board must LEAD the district in opening our schools any way we can this spring (for example, in small pilots for our youngest students/those with IEPs/English Learners, or with outdoor meetings on Fridays). The board must fully open schools in fall 2021.
- The science is clear; the buildings are ready. What we want is the same things we hear our wonderful teachers and staff asking for: clarity, safety, & accountability.
- Our group includes & supports teachers. Some groups are pushing for immediate full in-person school and personally targeting teachers; we are not them.
- A limited opening in the spring (with a distance learning option for those who want it) will help build trust and readiness to fully open this fall.
- Districts all around us are open or reopening. When we have a reopening plan, our district can access sorely needed state & federal funding (for things like additional temporary staff to allow distancing), as well as special vaccination clinics for teachers & staff.
Schools across the country have safely reopened and Berkeley is planning to begin opening in late March:
- The Providence, Rhode Island district, which is 68% Latino and 15% Black, offers in-person learning five days a week to every elementary student, plus hybrid instruction to middle and high-school students. Of the handful of teachers who tested positive at the school since September, none were traced back to in-school transmission.
- In North Carolina, 11 school districts opened with nearly 100,000 students/staff. No instances of child-to-adult transmission of SARS-CoV-2 were reported within schools.
- Berkeley is planning to have preschool through second grade return to in-person learning on March 29, followed by grades 3-9 on April 12, and then grades 10-12 on April 19