CVUSD has recently announced a decision to prohibit all staff-owned microwaves, refrigerators, and other food or beverage appliances such as coffee machines. Teachers were outraged and sent out numerous emails in response to the one that Assistant Superintendent Candi Clark issued announcing the new change on April 27.
Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi followed up on Clark’s announcement in an email on May 3 responding to the teachers’ complaints. “I recognize some of you may have concerns and questions about the removal of appliances from classrooms. I can assure you that staff will take as much time as needed to discuss the impact of any change in practice to ensure you are provided all necessities to continue your great work,” she wrote.
In Clark’s initial announcement, the district has also offered a set of guidelines for the 2017-18 school year. Besides the prohibition on appliances, the memo called for reducing the amount of wall decorations, clearing access to fire exits, and using only approved circuit breaker protected outlet strips. These instructions came about after the county fire marshall visited and raised concerns about fire safety at CVHS.
“California Fire Code (CFC) 603.7 prevents the use of defective or discontinued ovens or heat producing devices…By removing these items, our efforts will be to focus on district purchased devices so that we can ensure that the items comply with the fire code,” wrote Clark in an email on May 12.
Clark cited other benefits of the removal of appliances as helping with pest management, improving the overall cleanliness of classrooms, and the reduction of energy usage, which would create more savings for schools.
Many teachers have expressed disapproval.
“I understand the safety concerns, but I have been teaching here at CVHS for 31 years and there has never been any problems with using food or drink appliances. I’m not sure how removing them will solve anything. In a way, it feels disrespectful to the teachers. Our jobs are difficult enough without taking away our small enjoyments of a warm lunch during our long work days,” said English teacher Clare LePell.
Other teachers objected to having to walk all the way to the cafeteria or the teacher lounge to heat up their food, which would take time away from their lunch and would be inconvenient for those who have to spend their lunch advising clubs or helping students out. Some argue that with the low pay they receive as teachers, these appliances are a way to improve their daily work lives and lessen the stress that comes with their jobs.
“We are trained professionals. Treat us as such,” wrote one teacher.
However, Clark has stated that the district will allow some exceptions to the removal of appliances. For example, refrigerators in the nurse’s office will remain to store medicine and other materials.
“Each principal will be able to determine what campus special needs might require the use of personal appliances. We will work with the principal to accommodate requests and needs,” wrote Clark.