Saturday marks the last time all of us - teachers, students, and school and district staff - were physically together in our school buildings. The past year has been one where we built and fostered relationships via screens. It has not been ideal or easy. We are struggling with the loss of in-person connections, the isolation, the frustration, and the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I know students, families, teachers, principals, and school and district staff are working harder and longer than ever before. My wife is a teacher, and I see and feel the struggle of balancing work, home, learning, and life in isolation. We miss the in-person connection, and we know you can’t read body language via a screen.
But there is light. Vaccine appointments are becoming readily available, and we will move from the deep purple tier to the red tier by this weekend. I know Districts around us have announced reopening plans. And while we are not there yet, we are getting closer. We are at the table with WCCUSD’s employee partners negotiating a safe return.
We are preparing classrooms and school buildings to follow the California Department of Public Health guidelines. Classrooms will look different. Students and staff will be required to wear masks and maintain social distance. We also know that students in most need of in-person support will return first.
Before we go, I also want to point out a silver lining during this pandemic. If you missed it, KPIX 5 highlighted Barbara Jellison and the Food Services team for providing families with 100% organic food boxes every Thursday at the 15 school distribution locations. The shift to all organic assists families in a time of need and supports local farms and ranches. And, families have the opportunity to take the organic food and cook healthy meals together.
You can watch the clip here. Great work to Barbara and the teams that work hard every week distributing thousands of meals to families.