New television ads produced by the California Teachers Association call for a focus on teacher vaccinations and other safety protocols before fully reopening schools.
The ad series, titled “Still a Threat,” resemble the type of television spot you might see during the political campaign season.
"COVID is still a threat," the narrators says in one of the ads. "And on reopening schools, we know what happens when we ignore proper ventilation or rates of community spread."
The spots have raised the ire of parents determined to get their kids back into classrooms.
“My reaction is that it’s insidious,” said Edward Ewing of Clairemont, whose third-grade daughter hasn’t been to class in more than a year, adding, "they’re using their power to not only ignore the science behind the safety but ignore the suffering that’s been inflicted upon my daughter and thousands of others in the state."
Third-grade teacher Vanessa Barrera, who’s also the president of the Southwest Teachers Association which represents teachers in the South Bay Union School District, said teachers' concerns are valid.
“We don’t know what everyone else is doing when they leave the building," Barrera said. "Are they going to restaurants? Are they visiting other people’s homes? We can’t control that, but we can control what’s happening in the classroom."
Barrera teaches in San Ysidro, where case rates have not declined on a pace comparable to other parts of the county. She pointed to dozens of quarantines that happened earlier in the month among students and teachers in Escondido after the district reopened in-class teaching.
“We don’t want to be part of this yo-yo effect, where one day we’re in person and the next day we’re having to be quarantined because we’ve been exposed,” Barrera said.
Ewing, who has been at rallies sponsored by the group Reopen SDUSD, calls the ads another strong-arm tactic by the union.
“We can do this safely if we work together," Ewing said. "But what we’ve gotten is a strong arm from the union and a strong arm from the district. We’ve been rebuffed at every turn."
Barrera said that teachers wanted to be back in classrooms with their students, but only if it's done safely
“We want to make sure that when we do reopen, it's safe for our students, our staff and just the community in general,” Barrera said.