In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and colleges across California were shuttered to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Staff remaining on campus performed the challenging duties of distance learning support, meal preparation and pick-up, and deep cleaning to maintain educational services during shelter-in-place orders, as well as prepare for eventual physical reopening.
In the union’s document, Checklist for Safely Reopening Schools & Colleges,the CFT does not encourage the physical reopening of school sites until it is safe to do so. At a minimum, the CFT recommends coordination with state and local public health guidelines on every checklist item in this document to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
This document identifies the growing number of issues that should be addressed prior to the physical reopening of a school district through a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, between the local union and the district. As such, this is a working document that may evolve with changing science and health guidelines from public health and safety agencies.
This helpful checklist list was compiled through a collaborative process between the educational divisions of the CFT, the CFT standing committees, and the California Department of Education Taskforce on School Reopening.
The CFT urges AFT local unions to tailor this checklist to local conditions to best assist in ensuring a safe working environment for educators and students now and in the near future. The checklist covers three key areas: General Conditions, Infection Prevention and Labor Relations.
The AFT on April 30 released a detailed road map that, in
the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, charts a path to safely and
responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions
crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our
The 20-page, science-based “Plan
to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and
Communities” sprung from an intense collaboration
of public health professionals, union
leaders and frontline workers to prepare for
what happens next in the period between flattening the curve
and truly eradicating the virus.
The California Community Colleges organized a high-level
task force to create a roadmap of available resources for
the safe reopening of community college campuses.
The task force report contains considerations and recommendations
for the Chancellor’s Office. However, the broad recommendation of
the Report of the Safe Campus Reopening
Workgroupis that further
action be undertaken locally by subject matter experts. This
includes labor partners such as AFT local unions as well as
state, federal and local governments, medical professionals, and
those directly managing the pandemic response.