Education Labor groups release pathway to schools reopening

SACRAMENTO – A coalition of education labor groups today presented a pathway for reopening schools to lawmakers. Classroom Learning and Safe Schools for Employees and Students (CLASSES) proposes a multi-layered pathway to bringing students back to schools in an equitable way that keeps both students and staff safe.

The reality is this pandemic is far from under control, and any path to bringing students back to campuses will require implementing mitigation strategies that consider community conditions. No matter how safe we make our schools, the risk of students and staff bringing exposure into the school increases when effective multi-layered mitigation measures are not implemented in their communities.

On the key issue of vaccination, the CLASSES pathway proposes a phased-in approach that starts with those who are currently working on campuses and adds others as they are required to report to campus. The state must prioritize vaccinations for employees who are already working in person at LEA work sites, especially employees in school communities most impacted by the pandemic. The state must also ensure all employees required to report in-person have been provided the opportunity to be vaccinated before students return to campus.

The California School Employees Association, California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 57 collaborated on this proposal with the hope we can reach agreement with legislators and the governor on the best approach to reopening schools. We look forward to working with them toward that goal.