Cars drive by Concord High School on February 10, 2021 in Concord, Calif. The school campus has been closed to students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ray Saint Germain/Bay City News staff)

The Mount Diablo Unified School District Governing Board on Wednesday night again put off a decision on how and when to reopen schools while negotiations continue with the district’s teacher’s union and other labor partners.

Superintendent Adam Clark last week told the district community in a message last week that in-person learning could start as early as March 22, but with no memorandum of understanding yet reached with the Mt. Diablo Education Association and other labor unions, the board Wednesday decided to give the two sides more time to negotiate.

The board still kept March 22 as a target date for reopening and said a special meeting will be held on Tuesday to make a final decision on how to move forward.

A survey sent out to MDUSD families last month offered two options: continue with 100 percent distance learning for the rest of the school year or participate in a hybrid model that would include distance learning in the morning and students coming to the school two days a week in the afternoons for “in person” support.

Clark said at Wednesday’s meeting that the district received about 28,000 responses to the survey, with 52.4 percent choosing to remain in distance learning and 47.6 percent returning in the hybrid model, which even Clark acknowledged was “flawed.”

Many parents in the public comment portion of the meeting and in emailed comments called on the board to reopen schools, while many teachers criticized the district for announcing a planned reopening date without completing negotiations with its unions.

Clark noted that most neighboring districts have reopened or have plans in place to do so under a hybrid model and said he was “kind of perplexed why we here in Mt. Diablo aren’t able to figure this out.”

The board ended up voting 3-2 in favor of setting the target date of March 22, with trustees Erin McFerrin and Keisha Nzewi voting no, saying they did not feel comfortable moving forward without a MOU in place with the unions.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

Dan McMenamin is the managing editor at Bay City News, directing daily news coverage of the 12-county greater Bay Area. He has worked for BCN since 2008 and has been managing editor since 2014 after previously serving as BCN’s San Francisco bureau reporter. A UC Davis graduate, he came to BCN after working for a newspaper and nonprofit in the Davis area. He handles staffing, including coaching of our interns, day-to-day coverage decisions and management of the newswire.