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Vista Teachers Rally Over ‘Dangerous’ Conditions As All Schools Plan To Reopen

Teachers rally outside of Foothill Oaks Elementary School, Oct. 15, 2020.

Photo by Andi Dukleth

Above: Teachers rally outside of Foothill Oaks Elementary School, Oct. 15, 2020.

Teachers and parents rallied outside of Foothill Oaks Elementary School in Vista Thursday evening, before the Vista Unified School Board met to discuss the reopening of schools. The district plans to proceed with its plan to resume in-person learning on Tuesday, October 20.

Teachers feel the district is putting them and the students in danger by not providing adequate safety measures.

Listen to this story by Tania Thorne.

Reported by Tania Thorne , Video by Andi Dukleth

"Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. I don't want my students to be put in a position of danger. I don't want to be put in a position of danger, and I don't want their families to be put in a position of danger," Madison Middle School teacher Mary Moffett said.

Moffett said not enough safety arrangements have been made to ensure the safety of students and teachers for in-person learning.

Photo credit: Craig Parrott

Sink pictured is expected to be used by 200 students between classes at Roosevelt Middle School in Vista, October 15, 2020.

“So I'm coming back to the classroom even though I requested to stay home and teach virtually,” she said, “and putting myself at risk because that's what my job is asking me to do and I am happy to do it when we are safe.”

Parents and teachers were given the option to choose between Classic (in-person) learning or Virtual learning.

Photo credit: Craig Parrott

Cloth masks, rags and a cleaner given to teachers at Roosevelt Middle School to sanitize 38 desks between classes, October 15, 2020.

Jennifer Starritt has two children in the Vista School district. She says she chose the Classic model because she thought better safety measures would be taken. She is now on a waitlist to pull her kids from in person learning to virtual.

“Our district is one of the few if not the only one in the entire county that is doing a full 5 day a week full 6 hours, full max class sizes,” she said.

Several teachers from schools throughout Vista shared pictures with us of the safety materials they were provided to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Photo credit: Madison Middle School Teacher

PVC pipes and plastic liner given to Madison Middle School teachers in Vista to serve as protection from students returning to in person learning, October 15, 2020.

Roosevelt Middle School teacher Craig Parrott says the sink pictured is expected to be used by 200 students between classes. He says teachers were given cloth masks, rags and a cleaner to sanitize 38 desks between classes. Parrott says that’s not feasible within 4 minutes passing time between classes, and up to 5 classes per day.

He said plexiglass barriers were not provided. Instead teachers received PVC pipes and plastic liner to serve as protection.

During Thursday's board meeting, Superintendent Matt Doyle said an investment has been made in personal protective equipment for the teachers.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars on personal protective equipment. Masks, face shields, some people mentioned the dividers, the plexiglass dividers and other things,” he said.

The district website says “a robust set of health and safety measures” would be taken with the Classic model.

KPBS requested an interview or statement with the Vista Unified School District but none was provided.


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Photo of Tania Thorne

Tania Thorne
North County Reporter

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