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Teachers in San Diego have been told they can change their regular work assignment from teaching their American students virtually to teach illegal migrant children in-person at the convention center where they are being housed, according to a report on Wednesday.
Roughly 700 unaccompanied migrant minors are being held at the San Diego Convention Center where some teachers are volunteering their time despite the high rates of COVID among the children.
“Our teachers have been asked if they’re interested in working at the convention center site, as opposed to the worksites they are assigned to. So, for example, one of our teachers who normally works at School X could volunteer to change their placement, working at the convention center site instead of School X,” San Diego County Office of Education chief of staff Music Watson told Fox News in an email.
Students in the San Diego school district are now getting online instruction, but that will change on April 12 when the schools move into a hybrid model that will allow both in-person and online education.
“Fifteen county office employees who have volunteered will be teaching at the convention center,” Watson said. “These employees are not receiving any additional pay. An additional 1,179 educators have expressed interest in learning more about volunteering at the site. None of those 1,179 have been contacted to teach at the convention center.”
“It is possible that some people on that list [of teachers] are not reporting full time in-person at the school,” she told Fox News in a follow up phone call.
A teacher questioned the soundness of the policy.
“Why would anyone volunteer to go in that situation and put our own students at risk with COVID running amok. My first obligation is my current’s students’ health. Why would the board of education allow putting our kids at risk of getting COVID?” one California teacher told Fox News.
“I have parents now nervous to send their kids to school because they’re afraid their teacher who is volunteering to teach in-person to migrant kids is going to give our own students COVID,” the teacher said.
Of the 700 migrants girls at the convention center, at least 82 tested positive for the coronavirus as of Tuesday afternoon, Fox News reported.
Teachers and family members were outraged – and fearful.
“It almost borders on insanity that we’re offering education to these migrant kids while they’re also not offering the same services to our own kids in the same county,” Jonathan Zachreson, a spokesperson for Reopen California Schools, told Fox News.
“They used this spring break week to launch the program as a spin and, look, Jen Psaki fell for it but on the volunteer sheet they’re asking teachers to volunteer up until July,” he added.
Psaki, the White House press secretary, was grilled about the program during Tuesday’s daily briefings.
“I believe they’re also on spring break right now. I am not sure if it’s volunteer, or paid, you’d have to ask a local school district, while the kids are on spring break, which, I think, the context is pretty important,” she said.
Fox News reviewed volunteer sheets for teachers and found that they asked volunteers about their availability during the morning, afternoon and evening – seven days a week, including school hours.
“The in-person educational program may not have traditional hours, so there may be opportunities for involvement outside regular work hours. Any opportunities will be voluntary, and employees will be compensated,” San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold told district employees in an email reviewed by Fox News.
But Watson said the school district has since determined that teachers would only provide the instruction during the regular school days that would normally be dedicated to their own students.
The teachers will be paid with taxpayers funds, Watson said.