SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco teachers will be paid for full-time work while on a modified schedule till the end of the school year as the coronavirus outbreak has shut down their campuses, according to a labor agreement approved this week and reported by the Chronicle.
The agreement specifies that teachers in San Francisco will work four hours per day, the Chronicle reported. The part-time work schedule was also adopted by other districts across the state, including Los Angeles.
“There are many educators who are also taking care of their own children, as well, as parents and other relatives, and their own health,” Susan Solomon, president of the United Educators of San Francisco, told the Chronicle. “There may be challenges in their households if two or more adults are working from home, meaning there are limits in terms of physical space, sound and internet bandwidth, for example.”
In Oakland, the "Distance Learning Team" released a YouTube video on April 5, the union's labor agreement stressed an "absolute" maximum of 240 minutes of working a day, including two hours of instruction and two hours of flex time. Instruction means teaching students on Zoom or holding virtual or telephonic office hours. The Oakland Educatio Association's deal also dictates that teachers not be “mandated to sit nor be on screen for more than 90 consecutive minutes at a time for ergonomic and vision safety.” And they will not work on May 8, calling it a "Wellness Day."
Other "big wins" of the Oakland deal, the union said on a video, are strong protections against students receiving no credits during school closures.
The four-hour day is a minimum, chief negotiator Chaz Garcia told the Chronicle, and is “protective of people’s emotional well-being and state of trauma.”
Claudia Briggs, spokeswoman for the California Teachers Association, said that teachers are likely spending way more than four hours trying to learn the "new normal" and adjust to distance learning.
Several parents were in support of the new contract.
Josh Brinjal said on Facebook that it's much harder for a teacher to teach from home with their own young kids at home "so they very well deserve all pay and benefits."
Syndney Cronister Smith wrote that she's sure her childrens' teachers are putting in more than four hours while also schooling their own children. "I know these teachers are worth every penny and more!" she said.
Other parents, however, have complained that it seems like their children are not getting ample instruction during the day. One mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said her student in Oakland spends seven minutes a day on lessons and seven hours on Minecraft. "I don't know what they're doing," she said of the teachers.
Meanwhile, there are some parents in Marin County, who are criticizing the Novato Unified School District's decision to eliminate letter grades during the pandemic.
Novato is turning to credit/no credit grading for middle and high school students.
The district says online classes put low-income students, who don't have internet access, at a disadvantage.
But some parents say Novato should give students and their families the option of a letter grade, as suggested by the Marin County Superintendent of Schools.
KTVU staff contributed to this report.