Over 1,000 sign petition demanding Woodland educators have distance teaching option

Over 1,000 people have signed a letter demanding that educators in the Woodland area be given the choice to work from home and facilitate distance learning with students.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in July that schools in counties on the COVID-19 watchlist, including Yolo County, would begin the year with distance learning. But, according to the Woodland Education Association, the Woodland Joint Unified School District is requiring staff members to work in-person at district worksites.

“The Woodland School Board cannot ignore the voices of the teachers and the community at large,” said Jen Drewek Shilen, president of the Woodland Education Association, in a press release. “There is clearly broad support for trusting educators to do our jobs from the location of our choosing.”

The Woodland Education Association is the labor union for certified employees of the Woodland Joint Unified School District, and represents teachers and other professional educators who serve students in Knights Landing, Yolo and Woodland.

Two-thirds of the members of the Woodland Education Association signed the petition, according to the press release.

Newsom announced a waiver application process that could allow some elementary schools in counties on watchlists to begin in-person instruction if they meet “stringent health requirements.”

Public health officials in Yolo County said they have heard from three private schools that they may submit applications for waivers.

Garth Lewis, a spokesman for Yolo County’s superintendent of schools, said late Tuesday that no public schools in Yolo County have submitted an application for on-site schooling. He said the office would await further instructions expected later this week when the process could be finalized.

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