San Jose Teachers Refuse to Return to the Classroom Citing ‘Unsafe Conditions'

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San Jose teachers said Friday that they are refusing to go back into the classroom next month until conditions are safe in this COVID-19 era, a move that may set a trend for teachers throughout the state. 

The San Jose Teachers Association said in-person instruction is unsafe and one parent agrees.

“Safety comes first with the kids and all,” said parent Fernando Aguilar. “If the teachers are not feeling it, let’s support them.”

A spokesperson for San Jose Unified said the first day of school is scheduled for August 12, with one teacher in the classroom instructing some students in class and others virtually.

Now that teachers are refusing to go back into the classroom, the district is taking another look at that plan.

“I understand why the teachers are upset, it disappoints me that they may not go back,” said parent and former teacher Mike Flynn.

“There’s no substitute for that face to face interaction with younger kids,” he said. “It's going to be a big challenge and a big hole in their education.”

San Jose teachers are following the California Teachers Association lead. The group put out a statement saying in part, “We cannot reopen schools until it is safe.” Citing that the state doesn’t have enough money to provide physical distancing, proper PPE and sanitizing equipment.

This major announcement comes as the Oakland Unified School District said it will start the school year one month from Friday with distance learning.

“Many of our families say they don’t feel comfortable with students returning to class, many others say they want their students back in class, said John Sasaki of Oakland Unified. “Of course there are many concerns with COVID.”

Oakland teachers have been vocal about not wanting to go back into the classroom.

“The safety measure I certainly agree with in terms of the masks distancing and cleaning of hands, but none of that is sufficient to control virus in an institutional setting,” said Oakland teacher Mark Airgood.

San Jose Unified sent a survey out to the community wanting to know what they think before a final decision on how the next school year will look during this COVID crisis.

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