To the editor: Last June, our school board voted not to require masking in schools this fall. When schools opened with surging Covid numbers, 850-plus of us signed a petition asking them to reconsider mitigation strategies. The board refused discussion, leaving cleaning, testing and spacing “when possible’” as our only defenses in schools with predominately unvaccinated students.
Since then, schools have been giving conflicting info on contact tracing; parents are confused, unable to learn if their own kids have been exposed or not; and no one knows how schools switch between mandate levels. Five schools have gone into more severe levels already. Buses aren’t picking up students on full schedules; numerous teachers are out with zero subs, leading to increased class sizes and less distancing; we’ve had schools with no Covid tests available; we’ve sent home approximately 200 students/50 staff with Covid (the ones counted) and hundreds others uncounted by the district as close contacts (or not — teachers have been told not to identify too many contacts so whole classes aren’t out); and we have zero plans to maintain schooling for kids who are out. This is a disaster. No hybrid learning. No parents or employers wanted this; students sure didn’t, missing friends and work, and the district didn’t. I know nine families transferring kids out, with loss of district money.
This could have been avoided, teachers with 30-40% of classes out daily. If our aim was in-person school, we’re failing. We can do better. Per district policies, if everyone masked up and followed protocols, only positive cases would need quarantining, not close contacts. We’re in this mess due to the district’s inability to lead. It behooves all of us — parents, employers and persons working in/using our medical facilities — to know what the school board is doing and isn’t doing to keep students and our community safe.
Why did we mandate masks last spring to get students back in school but refuse to now to keep them in, with worse numbers? Ask a board member, ask the district, speak out, and vote for board members Erin Morotti and Chrya Sanderson, who are working to do what is best for our kids.