Schools Head Pens Latest Update

Schools Head Pens Latest Update

The Alameda Sun included as much as possible from Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi’s latest update. Read the full letter at www.alameda.k12.ca.us.

Dear families:

Our negotiations and preparations for reopening schools are moving quickly. Case rates in Alameda County are 12.6 per 100,000. Under current guidance schools can reopen when case rates are below 25 per 100,000. We do not yet have an agreement with our teachers union that would pave the way for our reopening on Monday, March 8, but both sides are working hard on negotiations.

We have launched COVID-19 testing programs for both students and employees. Both groups will have to be tested for COVID-19 either weekly or bi-weekly in the initial stages of a return to campus

Although public health agencies have announced that teachers do not need to be vaccinated before schools can re-open safely, we have been doing everything we can to make sure all of our employees know about current and upcoming vaccination opportunities.

Substitute teachers will not be utilized in the initial stages of our in-person return. This could result in some in-person sessions being conducted online with short notice until the later stages of reopening.

Negotiations

We are slowly but surely making progress on our negotiations with our labor partners. AUSD and CSEA-27 signed a Tentative Agreement on general reopening last September. CSEA-27 ratified an agreement on special education learning hubs. AUSD and the Alameda Education Association (AEA) continue to negotiate about reopening schools. The two bargaining teams signed a Tentative Agreement (TA) on small group instruction.

Negotiations and Vaccines

As you may know, the primary sticking point in our negotiations with our teachers union at the moment is vaccinations for teachers. To be very clear: we fully support the vaccination of educators along with other essential workers.

AUSD staff has spent considerable time helping to facilitate the scheduling of vaccination appointments for our employees, and we will continue to research and communicate about these opportunities in the coming weeks.

However, we also firmly believe that our investments in safety measures over the last eight months comply with current public health directives. Those directives do not require full vaccination of staff prior to reopening elementary schools for an opening round of limited in-person instruction. This is the primary challenge standing between us and our goal of reopening Monday, March 8.

Testing for Students and Staff

The district will be providing testing for both employees and students.

Employee testing occurred on Feb. 17 and 18 at Alameda High School. Employees also got tested Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Feb. 22 to 24, also at Alameda High School.

Student testing began Feb. 12.

Phase 1 of the student testing program, which extended until Feb. 21, is a pilot program. AUSD strongly encourages families to get their children tested during this time, because:

It is a good way to introduce children to the testing process before it becomes mandatory.
• It gives National Labs an opportunity to get student data into their system, which means the process will go more smoothly once testing is required.
• Testing students will help us to identify asymptomatic positive cases, which can help reduce viral transmission throughout our community.
• It gives the District an opportunity to identify and solve potential glitches in our testing process before the full rollout.
We have heard some parents voice concerns about having their children tested. We were gratified to see last weekend that National Labs, which is providing this testing for us, had created a family-friendly environment for children, one that included children’s music, stickers, and helpful medical staff.
— Pasquale Scuderi

Read more of Scuderi’s message at www.alameda.k12.ca.us.