Return to Headlines

March 5 Friday Update: Negotiations to reopen schools, preparing facilities, COVID-19 vaccines

En Español

Friday, March 5, 2021

Dear Community,

A lot has happened this week, both at the state level and here in WCCUSD. After a series of needed COVID-19 and Schools study sessions, we are working with WCCUSD’s employee groups on a reopening plan. Last night at the Board meeting, the Board gave me and my staff direction:

“The Board voted unanimously in closed session to give direction to staff regarding negotiations to reopen schools,”

The news came on the heels of Governor Newsom and the state legislature agreeing on a $6.4 billion deal to assist districts with bringing back students to in-person instruction. The state set guidelines for districts to qualify for a portion of the one-time funding ($2 billion) with an April 1 deadline.

Contra Costa County is currently in the Purple Tier but is expected to move into the Red Tier in the next two to three weeks. At Thursday’s final study session, we also presented the internal process we have used to prepare for an eventual return to in-person instruction. We shared the physical classroom and building preparation necessary to host students and staff during this COVID-19 era. 

District teams are finishing the installation of 6-feet physical/social distance markers, hand sanitizing stations in classrooms and throughout campuses, and plexiglass barriers in the offices. We are also limiting occupancy in restrooms, the number of people in classrooms, and altering water fountains. We are installing HEPA air filters in areas that need them and encouraging staff to utilize windows. On Thursday, I walked through Grant Elementary school to make sure all of the proper PPE, signage, social distancing, and other items were in place. We shot a video of what it looks like and will share it in the near future. 

We will, of course, need your assistance around the following campaigns: facemasks, handwashing, following the physical/social distance of at least 6-feet, and staying home when you are sick or ill.

This week, we also received support from the Contra Costa County Office of Education. Superintendent Lynn Mackey and I meet weekly. This week, her team provided special codes that WCCUSD’s food services, custodians, campus security officers, and others working on campus can use to secure COVID-19 appointments. She sent additional codes on Thursday, and we are working with staff to get those codes and appointments made.

It has been a very encouraging week. The COVID-19 numbers continue to decline in Contra Costa County and here in WCCUSD. The availability of vaccine appointments and supply of the vaccine continues to increase. We are getting through the pandemic and will need your input and support. Please review the draft COVID Protection Plan (CPP) and share your feedback by emailing We will communicate any updates we can, related to negotiations.

Lastly, two reminders. Kennedy Junior Antoine Whittley is still missing and his family continues to gather every day at 3 p.m. at the corner of Maine Avenue and Marina Way South to distribute flyers and keep the awareness going. Please continue to share social media posts and, if you can, help distribute flyers.

Finally, Richmond High School, John Muir Health, and Contra Costa County are hosting a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic this Saturday for those 65-years and older. YOU MUST be 65 years or older and have an appointment. To get an appointment, contact Kate Rauch at 510-334-0885 or by email Leave your best contact information with Kate and a representative will call you back to secure the appointment.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

In community,
Matthew Duffy