[BHS Etree] BUSD: Return to In-Person Learning Update

BHS Etree bhs at lists.lmi.net
Wed Feb 17 09:55:08 PST 2021

Please do not reply to this message. If you have any questions, please
contact the BUSD Superintendent's Office at superintendent at berkeley.net.

Dear BUSD Community,

We are very pleased to announce that the District and the Berkeley
Federation of Teachers (BFT) this evening reached a tentative agreement
that, once ratified, establishes a timeline for the reopening of all our
schools, PK-12, into a hybrid model of instruction. This agreement was the
result of many hours of work by teams from the District and BFT, and draws
from the input of hundreds of educators as well as the passionate voices of
students and families in the BUSD community.

At the center of this agreement is a commitment to reopen our schools for
in-person learning by ensuring that our teachers and staff have been
vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC has recommended, though not required,
vaccines for educators, and we recognize the value of vaccines as a strong,
additional layer of protection for our staff.  Vaccinations will lead to a
more confident reopening, and allow us to focus now on the final details of
a hybrid learning schedule for our students.

In addition to vaccines, this agreement covers other important safety
practices such as COVID-19 testing. The new agreement stands alongside
other previous agreements we have reached about a safe reopening for
students and staff, including comprehensive COVID safety protocols, and an
agreement to support teachers who wish to work with students in person
until we open into a hybrid model.

This agreement applies to all levels, from preschool to high school. It
establishes the following timeline for students to return to campus in a
hybrid model, pending the timing of vaccine completion:

Monday, March 29:

Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and K-2

April 5-9:

Spring Recess

Monday, April 12:

Grades 3-5; Grades 6-8; U9 Program at Berkeley High; Berkeley Technology
Academy/Berkeley Independent Study

Monday, April 19:

Grades 10-12

For now, the Berkeley Adult School will remain closed to in-person

If the City’s vaccination schedule is delayed by a week, this timeline will
be pushed back by a week. On the other hand, these dates for reopening will
be moved up by one week if the City is able to provide all BUSD staff with
the Pfizer vaccine, which requires a shorter interval between inoculations.
We have a commitment from the City to fully vaccinate staff, and we will
update the community with timing as information becomes available.  We are
grateful to Mayor Arreguín, City Manager Williams-Ridley, and City staff
for their work to secure vaccinations specifically for our educators.

The agreement reached today also permits the District to proceed with its
phased reopening plan five days after the community transmission rate in
the County enters the state’s Orange tier, even if vaccinations have not
yet been completed.

We know that families are anxious to hear the details of the hybrid model -
whether or not your family will choose to return to in-person learning -
and we will have more information very soon.  We also acknowledge that a
hybrid model is not ideal for anyone right now, and that there is no
substitute for full-time, five days a week instruction. However, state and
local public health guidance continues to oblige districts to employ social
distancing as one of many risk mitigation strategies, which reduces our
ability to have all students on campus at once.

In the meantime, while vaccinations are being completed, we anticipate that
some teachers at all levels will voluntarily return to campus to offer a
limited number of in-person, small group activities for students who have
needed the most support during distance learning. Families will be
contacted if their students are eligible for these groups.

There are many people to thank for their tireless efforts to secure these
agreements. For now, it will suffice to express our great appreciation to
our wonderful community of parents, caregivers, educators, and City
partners.  Most of all, we thank our students, who have borne the brunt of
this terrible pandemic and whose resilience and perseverance inspires us


Brent Stephens, Superintendent

Matt Meyer, President, Berkeley Federation of Teachers

Ty Alper, President, Board of Education


Nicole Chee, Jenny Fosket, Chaghig Walker, and Charlotte Le Liboux are the
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