SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Santa Cruz County elementary schools may have the opportunity return to in-person instruction if case rates do not rise.
For all students to return the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers says they need to make sure there is adequate ventilation, PPE and of course vaccinations.
“Our main ask has been that school staff, not just teachers, but all school staff be vaccinated. Before we have hybrid instruction," said Casey Carlson President of Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers
The Santa Cruz Office of Education has been working with Dominican Hospital in getting some of their employees vaccinated. Starting today the majority of their kinder teachers have appointments for the vaccine, said Carlson. Their goal is to reopen with kindergarten and then move on to the next grade level.
“So we'd like to move up first grade, second grade, third grade, because we think it's especially important that the little guys get in there," said Carlson. "They're the ones who really, you know, are having a hard time on, you know, distance learning computer learning.”
She also mentioned the possibility of a Distance Learning Academy for students who’s parents do not want them to return and for the vulnerable teachers. Principals are beginning to talk with teachers about a plan, she said.
“We did just negotiate some different schedule options and ways of delivering instruction in hybrid," said Carlson. "And so the elementary teachers will be looking at those options starting this week, and trying to figure out what what's the best option for them.”
According to Carlson, There is no reopening date but they're hoping to get students back in the classroom in March.
“Educating our students, especially our younger students is so critical," said Carlson. "And this shows like never before the value of having a real live teacher, with a student. And if teachers are valued by our society, then they need to be valued enough to be given the vaccine.”
Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers also said they want teachers and staff vaccinated before returning in person.
The adjusted case rate must be under 25.0 for the county to allow schools to apply for waivers, and the current adjusted case rate is 24.4.