SMMUSD, Teachers Cannot Agree On COVID Safety Protocols For Opening Even For Kindergartens

Written by on November 7, 2020

Superintendent Ben Drati has a staff rebellion on his hands over plans to return children to classrooms in the SMMUSD.

The Santa Monica school superintendent is stuck with a teaching staff that is not certain it wants to re-enter school classrooms yet.

The head of the teachers union last night said it might be time to abandon any thoughts of reopening classrooms soon … even under the hybrid model that would cut classes in half … with half the kids studying at home at any given time.

Sarah Braff is president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association.

She told the School board Thursday night that teachers are tired of working 12 hour days on computer distance learning … too.

And they want to go back to classrooms … too.

But ….


“Is it safe for children to return … and what about our staff???

“Should we be talking about coming back prior to being two weeks in the red (zone)???
“The LA Department of Health says it’s possible under certain circumstances.

“But that the infection rate is rising daily and our county has to move out of the purple.

“Isn’t it safer to keep distance learning as is … and add in school activities in small groups gradually???”

Drati has twice had to either withdraw a parent survey … or delay sending out a new survey … to parents.

The reason:
His staff cannot agree on what exactly a hybrid reopening would look like.

Just over the hill … the Las Virgenes district has come up with consensus and reopened its elementary schools to kids up to second grade,.

Drati says he needs to iron out the details.


“I’ve already warned everybody that I may need to have a districtwide conversation in which we pool teacher leaders, legal principles and we pool parent leaders some parents to have a districtwide conversation to bring everyone in the same room to repeat that conversation so we can troubleshoot and come to consensus on or an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Santa Monica Malibu School Superintendent Ben Drati.

It may not be his fault … but the Santa Monica school headquarters has been unable to get its act together with its teachers and its parents.

The district cannot even come up with an acceptable definition what the hybrid school model would be.

How would pre-kindergartners, kindergartners first graders and second graders be safely brought back into classrooms … half a class at a time???

Nevermind third through sixth graders … or middle school kids … for high school kids.

Twice now … the district has either put out a survey of parents and revoked it … or missed a deadline for putting out a survey of parents to ask them if they would consider sending their smallest kids back to school under the hybrid program.

This comes as private schools … parochial schools … the LA unified school district … and the Las Virgnes school District over the hill are slowly reopening … under county supervision … for the smallest kids.

And it comes as LA County remains in the purple hot zone category … with all indicators moving in the wrong direction right now as the infections spread.

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