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Some teachers question logistics of closing Santa Cruz County schools


SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV): When talking about Santa Cruz County schools closing for any period of time, one question came to mind for a staff member that reached out to KION: What about my kids?

It was announced staff were to come back to campuses next week for work while students stayed at home.

All of this, of course, because of increasing concerns over the coronavirus as 7 cases have been confirmed now in Santa Cruz County.

That part is understood.

The teacher who reached out to us wanted to remain anonymous but says she does not see the logic in bringing her child into a school that is closed to other students.

The Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers says they tried working with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District about this issue.

Ultimately, the district moved forward with telling teachers to bring their kids in if they need to.

And if they worked from home while their work-site was open to staff, they would have to use their sick days.

A statement from Nelly Vaquero with the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers says: PVFT'S priority is the health and safety of students, our members, and the greater community as a whole. We advocated for the option to plan remotely while sites were being cleaned. We understand the importance of the continuity of education of our students. Not allowing teachers with young children and no child care to work remotely will require them to use their leave days. It is unfortunate that they [teachers] cannot be trusted to plan from home.

One thing that is undisputed in all of this is that something has to be done to prevent the spread of the virus.

That's why Santa Cruz County Public Health, along with multiple superintendents came to this conclusion to begin with.

“We’re assuming the virus is here out in the community and we are now looking for ways to lessen the impact of the virus," says Dr. Gail Newell.

Health officials say they want to keep schools open so social and food service programs can remain open for students to continue using, especially those who are less fortunate.

Right now about half of the Santa Cruz County schools have a "food pick-up" site in place for students to grab lunch as next week's school closure continues.

“The children are not quarantined but at the same token we want the social-distancing to happen," says Dr. Michelle Rodriguez with PVUSD.

We caught up with the President of the Greater Santa Cruz County Federation of Teachers, Casey Carlson.

She says she understands public health is keeping in mind the safety of staff and teachers alike when closing schools.

“We have staff who are over the age of 60 and with underlying health conditions, we have students with underlying health conditions. There is that concern about being together on campus.”

Coronavirus / Health / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories
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Victor Guzman

Victor Guzman is the managing editor at KION News Channel 5/46.


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