East Bay Teacher's Travel Plans Ticks Off Parents

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Contra Costa County parents are frustrated after a kindergarten teacher reportedly told students their Zoom class was canceled because she’ll be in Mexico for a wedding. But they don’t blame the teacher, they blame the district for giving teachers the option to work from home. 

A parent sent an email to the group “Reopen California Schools,” in which the West Contra Costa Unified School District teacher alerts them of her travel plans to her son’s wedding next week. 

The email warns parents: “while I will be teaching from Mexico, some days will contain asynchronous lessons due to travel and limited family activities.” 

“Scheduled asynchronous time, which is pretty much assigning homework,” said Jonathan Zachreson, founder of Reopen California Schools and father of two from Roseville.

Zachreson says he’s been told this teacher has chosen not to return to the classroom this year, citing fears of COVID-19. 

“This sounds outrageous and it is outrageous but the blame doesn’t belong on the teacher for the most part,” he said. “The teacher belongs on the institutions that allow this to happen.” 

A spokesperson for the district said, “per district policy, we cannot comment on personnel issues. Additionally, any travel outside of the country for any reason requires a leave of absence.” 

“It's been 14 months. Its enough we need to bring our kids back into our school,” said Natasha Benjamin.
The El Cerrito mother of two said she’s not not satisfied with how the district has handled in-person learning this year. She’s worried if state lawmakers don’t step in, the fall could be another lost semester. 

“They have said they are going to open in the fall. But at this point – I can’t believe anything I hear,” she said. 

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