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Response to WJUSD Comments on School Reopening

A WJUSD school bus runs over a WEA teacher.
A bargaining session was held on the evening of Wednesday, February 17 between WEA and WJUSD for the purpose of coming to agreement about the conditions of teaching and learning during Phase 3 of the district’s reopening plan.  Each party presented a proposal. (Members can read both proposals by consulting their February 19th, 2021 e-mail from the WEA.)
Our WEA Bargaining Team submitted a public message for the February 18 special meeting of the WJUSD Board of Trustees, which unfortunately was not read during the meeting but was sent to the trustees via email.
The slanted and one-sided bargaining update from WJUSD released on February 18 was publicized and generated a lot of questions among our members and across the community.  It is unfortunate that this erroneous and misleading message was spread among stakeholders and picked up by Sacramento media.  It would absolutely not be appropriate to wait 6 to 8 months to re-open schooling in person, and our association did not and would never make such a proposal.  As the superintendent explained last night after being questioned by a school board trustee, the 6-8 month figure was one the district arrived at after estimating the amount of time it would take for the district to provide all of the risk mitigations our association asked for in our initial Phase 3 proposal at the bargaining table.  The first time that WEA learned that our proposed safety protocols would take 6-8 months for the district to implement was when the district publicized their update.  WEA will continue to bargain in good faith with WJUSD in a negotiations process that includes give and take.  It is our hope that in the future, such clarifying questions and conversations will take place at the bargaining table in our ongoing efforts to reach common understanding, not in the public forum.
Ultimately, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that has killed over 180 citizens of Yolo County after infecting more than 12,000 of them, the primary focus of the Woodland Education Association is the same as it has been throughout this crisis: safety first.