This week, the Mount Diablo Unified School District announced it was changing teacher assignments at the elementary schools because of an increase in students enrolled in the districts remote learning program.
The move comes as COVID-19 cases have spiked due to the delta variant of COVID-19.
This has caused more students to enroll in the District’s independent study programs which has jumped from nearly 150 students to nearly 500—applications are coming in daily according to Clark.
According to data provided by Contra Costa Health Services, Contra Costa County currently has 3,959 active cases with 4,856 cases in the past 14-days. There are currently 221 cases of hospitalization with 53 cases in the ICU.
Superintendent’s message regarding teacher assignments
Aug 26, 2021
Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark sent the following message to the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Community today to explain shifts in teacher assignments based on shifts in student enrollment at elementary schools and in the district’s Independent Study programs.
Dear Mt. Diablo Unified School District Community:
In the past month, we have experienced a substantial increase in students enrolling in the District’s Independent Study program. This has caused us to be overstaffed at elementary schools and understaffed in Independent Study. Therefore, we are collapsing several elementary school classes and moving teachers to serve students based on class sizes established in our teachers’ union contract.
The newly formed classes do not exceed contracted class size limits, which are:
- TK-K (All Day-360 minutes): 27
- TK: 32
- K: 32
- 1-3: 31
- TK-3 Combination: 30
- 4-5: 34
- 4-5 Combination: 31
- 6-12: 37
- English: 33
- Physical Education (K-12): 45
- Choral Music: 45
- Instrumental Music: 45
Before August 11th, our enrollment in the Independent Study program was approximately 150 students. As news continued to spread about the Delta variant, we have had nearly 500 students transfer from in-person elementary schools into Independent Study, with more families submitting applications daily. Because these students have come from every school within the District, staffing shifts are being felt throughout the District.
I completely understand the frustration, concerns and disappointment that families and teachers are feeling as these shifts take place and I am truly sorry this is so upsetting. However, we are not laying off teachers or making budget cuts. We are moving teachers to follow the kids. I understand that this shift will cause a disruption, but this is a common occurrence in Districts throughout the state as they adjust to actual classroom enrollment after the school year begins.
As a District, we have been directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education and State agencies to live within our means financially. Therefore, we cannot hire more teachers for Independent Study, while allowing educators at elementary schools to teach classes that are only partially full. Here is a link to a report on MDUSD’s financial situation that warns we must make tough decisions to stay within our budget now in order to continue to serve all of our students and families in the future. This document was shared at our August 11th Board meeting.
I am confident that our teachers will continue to deliver high-quality instruction and that our students will be resilient and safe. We have strict mask guidance in place. Merv-13 air filters are in every classroom, and we have made optional COVID testing available throughout the District for students, staff and their immediate families. We are following all county and state COVID safety guidelines.
I know that there are some who are still uneasy, but we are placing our talented staff where our students need them most.
Adam Clark, Ed.D.