Agreement Signed on TK-5 Schools Opening

Agreement Signed on TK-5 Schools Opening

Union, District define safe return to classrooms

Sun Staff Reports

The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the Alameda Education Association (AEA) signed a tentative agreement Wednesday, Feb. 24, to reopen elementary schools for in-person hybrid instruction.

AUSD and AEA, which represents teachers, nurses, speech and language pathologists, and counselors, have been negotiating the best course to take to reopen school since November 2020, according to a press release from the school district. With this agreement, AUSD is one of the only public school districts in Alameda County that has met the prerequisites for reopening schools.

The plan is for elementary schools to reopen on March 15. Previously, it was expected that in-person session would begin March 8, but the decision was delayed a week to ratify the agreement and complete some final operational components. The next step is for AEA members and the Board of Education to vote on ratification of the tentative agreement.

“I would like to thank both the AUSD and AEA teams for their persistent efforts to come to an agreement about both small groups and a general reopening for transitional kindergarten through fifth grade,” said Board President Mialisa Bonta. “We know these long months of distance learning have been hard on many students, families, and staff. Today the goal of reopening our schools feels in reach, and that is incredibly good news.”

“In a year of innumerable challenges, this agreement clears the path to the first phases of in-person learning for our elementary students,” says Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi, “and I am gratified that the two bargaining teams have come to agreement on opening safely for our elementary students and staff.”

The agreement also outlines the safety precautions that need to be taken before staff and students can return to campus, including daily health screenings for all employees and students, COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, handwashing and/or sanitizing equipment and supplies, cleaning and disinfection, directional and distancing signs, and upgraded ventilation and air filtering in school buildings. School maintenance staff has procured medical and sanitary supplies for school reopenings, including wall-mounted, touchless hand sanitizer dispensers in all classrooms across the district.

Scuderi defined the safety protocols in his Feb. 1 COVID-19 Safety Plan. Along with safety protocols, it included school schedules and the approved class sizes. Classes will be split into A and B cohorts, each of which will have 13 students (for Kindergarten to third-grade classes) or 16 students (for fourth- and fifth-grade classes).

AUSD and AEA negotiation teams will now focus on an MOU for the reopening of secondary programs (grades six through 12).

To view Scuderi’s plan, visit the www.alameda.k12.ca.us.