Teachers Weigh Risks, Uncertainty In Preparing For School Year

A teacher wearing a plastic face visor teaches a class at Kinugawa Elementary School on June 3, 2020 in Nikko, Japan.
Photo credit Carl Court/Getty Images

San Jose Unified is the largest school district in the Silicon Valley, yet they still haven’t announced whether students will be in the classroom or working remotely this fall.

"This school year will undoubtedly be a very challenging year," said Jay Marden, principal of Carmel River Elementary School in the Carmel Unified School District. 

Up and down the state, school districts are unsure about whether or not they’ll be returning full time. Administrators in cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego are among those already announcing virtual learning until data dictates students are able to return to the classroom, if at all, this academic year.

"I have the greatest respect for them and we’re going to do our best to empower parents as well as partners in their children’s education," Marden said.

Inside the classroom, teachers simply need time to prepare for either scenario.

"All I really want at this point is for our school board to give us what we’re doing," said Suzanne, a high school French teacher. 

Suzanne told KCBS Radio she’s put in an incredible amount of time to ready herself for remote learning, if that’s how her district goes.

"As a teacher, I’ve already gone to two days of technology training and right now I’m in the middle of a week training on how to best teach high school remotely," she said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce guidelines on school districts reopening Friday.

While parents, students, school officials and state leaders all agree that in-person learning is more effective than virtual classes, "ultimately safety is paramount,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a virtual town hall meeting Thursday.