School districts, unions at odds over how and when to reopen safely

Dr. Anthony Fauci held a forum Thursday evening with educators about the future of returning to the classroom as COVID-19 remains a threat.

Many parents have been urging for a return to the classroom, but some teachers believe their demands must also be met before that can happen.

"As you know I have a personal interest in this because my daughter is teaching science in the third grade in New Orleans," said Fauci via the virtual meeting.

Fauci, the National Institute of Health director, offered support to educators, but little in the way of the answer that parents are seeking from state and federal leaders.

"We got to get the children back to school for the good of the children, for the good of the parents, and in many respects for the good of the teachers who want as much as anybody to get the children back to school," insisted Fauci. 

In San Francisco, the school district says it's the teachers that are preventing schools from a planned re-opening next week, as the union continues to push for safety implementations.

That is happening while the California Teachers Association wants members vaccinated before classes resume, but under the state's plan, those inoculations aren't supposed to happen until June.

"Yes they're essential, and yes, I feel they both are important, but when you have our students in a smaller class setting and it is confined," CTA President E. Toby Boyd told KTVU on Thursday. "It’s not as open as a grocery store, and the chances of them possibly spreading the virus is going to be elevated." 

According to Politico, Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed frustration during a candid conversation with the Association of California School Administrators saying, "If everybody has to be vaccinated, we might as well just tell people the truth: there will be no in-person instruction in the state of California. Just tell them the truth. Don't mislead people,"

There are signs that some areas are closer to resuming classes than others.

Alameda County Public Health advises schools and school districts to get their safety-measures paperwork -- that allows schools to re-open -- filed in the coming days.

For his part, Fauci told educators that safety measures were included in the executive order signed by President Joe Biden last week.

"The American Rescue Plan is something that hopefully that will provide the resources for masking, for better ventilation, for whatever resources the schools might need to protect the students and the teachers," said Fauci.