The South Bay’s largest school district is trying to decide whether students should return to the classroom or not but the upward trend of COVID-19 cases may leave them no choice.
San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) leaders, teachers, students and parents all said they would prefer to conduct school in classrooms if it’s safe.
But after the district backed away from that kind of plan Friday because of teacher resistance, the San Jose Teachers Association (SJTA) points out coronavirus numbers have only gotten worse.
“I would say the more we’ve learned since Friday the more adamant they are that it’s not safe to return,” said SJTA President Patrick Bernhardt.
San Jose Unified is going over its survey of parents on their preference. The vice president of the school board said the community’s view definitely matters but reluctantly acknowledged that in his opinion, the spike in cases makes it tough to avoid distance learning.
“I mean, thank goodness we’re not Arizona or Texas or Florida,” said Brian Wheatley, SJUSD board vice president. “But things aren’t good in Santa Clara County. They’re trending in the wrong direction.”
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond echoed those sentiments Wednesday.
“I think if schools were open tomorrow most of them would be distance-learning,” he said.
The district says the preliminary indication of the parents survey shows very mixed feelings. With large percentages both for returning to class and distance learning. In that case, the result of the survey could be released as early as Thursday. But may only make a final decision more difficult.
“With limited resources, we should have a laser-like focus on doing distance learning well rather than planning for three or four or five different scenarios when we know what we’re going to be doing,” said Bernhardt.