Today I sent a request to our Board of Trustees to add a mask choice resolution to their next agenda.
At the July school board meeting, many parents - nervous about the return of masks to LA and San Diego schools - stepped forward to express to the Board of Trustees their concern about something similar happening in CUSD. They asked the Board for reassurances that masks would not be forced on our students once school returns. Everyone who spoke said if mask mandates return, they have plans to pull their children from our public schools and make other arrangements.
Superintendent Brulte insisted there must have been a miscommunication and told us CUSD is continuing to follow California Dept. of Public Health recommendations, which so far do not include school masking mandates.
We parents did not find this to be an acceptable answer. If CDPH guidelines change, we have no guarantee the Board will not trap our students in another mandate. Therefore, we are asking our Board of Trustees to add a resolution to the agenda for the next meeting, committing to resist any more mask mandates. Passing a resolution will help restore a measure of trust between parents and the Board, and will give parents a measure of certainty as we head into the new school year. Our children deserve consistency after a brutal two years of uncertainty. Our districts are locally controlled, and we have the option of resisting mandates.
I am encouraging all concerned parents to download the resolution included in this post (I've also copied the entire document below) and send it to our Trustees, with a note requesting they add a mask choice resolution to the agenda. Please feel free to CC me on the the email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can help ensure our children return to school confidently and happily.
Martha McNicholas email@example.com
Krista Castellanos firstname.lastname@example.org
Gila Jones email@example.com
Judy Bullockus firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Davis LADAVIS@capousd.org
Amy Hanacek email@example.com
Board Resolution on Mask-Choice for K-12 Schools
WHEREAS, numerous studies and the CDC confirm that children are at an incredibly low risk of severe disease, long-term side effects and death from COVID-19, with a mortality risk substantially less than from influenza or common activities such as riding in a car or swimming; and
WHEREAS, numerous studies found low case rates in countries where schools did not require masks, and studies published by the CDC and the COVID-19 School Response Dashboard found no difference in case rates between schools with and without student mask mandates; and
WHEREAS, recent studies have shown that mask wearing can impact a child’s language development, emotional development, interpersonal communication, and overall physiological and psychological health; and
WHERAS, Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) parents should be able to send their children back to school in full confidence that their children will be able to learn mask-free and be able to engage in mask-free communications with their educators
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this Board establishes the following goals:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Board will transmit official copies of this resolution to the following: Superintendents for all school districts within the county, the County Department of Public Health, the County Department of Education, California Congressmembers, the California Governor, the California Department of Public Health, and any other entities the Board deems appropriate for this resolution.
Adopted this ____ day of __________________ in 2022.
Motion made by: Second made by: Members voting “aye”: Members voting “no”: Members abstaining: Members not present:
1. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Face-Coverings- QA.aspx
2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12- guidance.html
7. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/05/study-number-of-kids-hospitalized-for- covid-is-overcounted.html
8. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/29/exclusive-long-covid-has- minimal-impact-children-studies-show/
9. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/24/most-children-with-post- covid-disease-recover-within-six-months-study-finds
14. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/2019-2020/2019-20-pediatric-flu- deaths.htm?web=1&wdLOR=cFF98CDC7-76A9-482E-995F-4BF669C8B244
16. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2026670?query=TOC&fbclid=IwAR 3fY8mbKoRontMlt-PNhZ7QK1h0SXxJ6Hoq7AOe4wn2TTIK6OPHApy7ISA
17. https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560- 7917.ES.2020.26.1.2002011
20. https://www.contagionlive.com/view/comparing-covid-19-and-influenza-course- in-hospitalized-children
21. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/05/25/997467734/childrens- risk-of-serious-illness-from-covid-19-is-as-low-as-it-is-for-the-flu?sc=18&f=1001
22. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/26/its-time-children-finally- get-back-normal-life/
23. https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Is-it-safe-to-fully- reopen-California-schools-16224689.php
26. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the- novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak
It's finally time to get this campaign revved up. Are you excited? I am. At first I was feeling unsure about this whole process, but the more people I talk to, the more I realize that everyone is up to the challenge. With amazing people on my side, we can win this thing. So here's what I need to start...
Newsletter and email list coordinator - you'll be in charge of sending out a weekly newsletter and any email communications to the list. It's mostly automated.
Volunteer coordinator - are you good at organization? I need someone who is willing to wrangle volunteers for events that we have planned. This position will heat up the closer we get to November. For now it's just keeping volunteers informed, telling them where and when to show up when we need them. This is a very important job. Your help will be vital.
Merchandise - someone to help with getting out signs, shirts, all the things! We haven't set up a shop yet, this is a pending position.
Website manager - can you use Wordpress or another blog platform? I need someone to keep my website updated with events and other things to keep people informed. If you don't know Wordpress it's very easy to learn. You don't need to be creative, you just need a few hours a week to keep all the campaign happenings up to date on the site.
News Writers - I want to keep people updated with what is happening on the board and in education issues across the country. If you're someone who usually has their head in the news and has opinions about it, here's a chance to flex those writing muscles. You would basically just be reposting stories you think our voters would be interested in, and if you want to give your opinion writing a shot, I'm open. I can help, it's what I do for a living.
General volunteer - I know many of you have already sent me an email or a message. Once I have a coordinator I can send out an official call for volunteers. Duties will vary and obviously will depend on how much we do and where and when.
I'm also looking for people to host meet and greets for me. If you're willing to book your clubhouse or volunteer your driveway, I will come to you! I can't wait to talk to as many people as possible. Thanks to those who have come out to my preliminary events. I'll be doing more and bigger events as we move along.
If you're interested in helping with any of this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I sent Trustee Gila Jones a quick email yesterday to express my thanks for how she stood against the inappropriate new books being proposed for our literature classes. I also took the opportunity to express my disappointment that the board left our Area 2 seat open. I didn't really expect a response, and I kept it short on purpose. There's no need to beat up on Ms. Jones, but since my own representative no longer exists, I might as well express myself to her.
So imagine my surprise when I received an auto-reply from her trustee account. The auto-reply itself is not surprising. We're all working hard these days and sometimes business or resting takes you away from your email. Nothing wrong with that. But it was the response itself that raised my eyebrows.
Gila is right that the entire board influences the entire district. No argument there. But they are not official representatives of every area. Her own designation is as a representative of Area 6. It says so right on the CUSD website Trustee page.
According to CUSD's own Trustee description, Area 2 is currently without a representative.
Regardless, there are many things that used to be policy/law that we no longer abide by, as the law has since been changed. It used to be illegal for women to vote, but we don't bring back that notion when elections get strained. Black Americans used to be forced to sit at the back of the bus, but we don't bring back that notion when public transportation gets crowded. Whether or not CUSD used to be an At-Large board is irrelevant to the representative model it operates under today. Area 2 parents are not stupid for believing their board seat is vacant. Their board seat is vacant.
We would have appreciated an answer that didn't depend on what the law used to be. The board had their reasons for leaving the seat open. Ms. Jones' response would have felt more helpful if it explained those reasons.
We are the voters and the taxpayers. Whatever Ms. Jones and other Trustees choose to explain to us or not explain to us, the fact remains that our Area 2 seat remains open until November, and we look forward to the opportunity to once again install representation for Area 2 on our Trustee board.
You can help us fill the Area 2 seat a representative who puts parents and students first this November by donating to my campaign and staying tuned to this site to find out how you can volunteer to help in the coming weeks and months.
Pam Braunstein's sudden resignation from our Trustee Board seems to have been planned for maximum pain and maximum confusion. At the moment, no one seems to be able to offer any clarity about our rights as voters when it comes to replacing this seat. Will the state even allow us to run a special election? Will we even be allowed to elect our representative at all?
The possibility of not having a say in who represents us for the next few months or two years has worried many parents who are already agitated with the actions of the board. We are looking at a mass exodus from the public school system if we don't put this seat in the hands of the parents of Area 2. We don't want to see that happen. We love our schools and need to keep them funded and opened for parents who have no alternatives. This is an issue of justice, not just education.
Our Trustee Board will meet on 3/16 to determine whether they will choose to run a special election or choose to appoint a replacement. I know many of you have expressed concern that people you didn't elect will now get to choose our Area seat. I share that concern.
As I prepare to run a special election if one is called, I also am urging people to respectfully lobby all of our board members to choose an appointment for this seat, and to choose me to fill the seat. I am a representative of Area 2 parents and I believe I have overwhelming community support to join our Trustee Board.
You can use this link to take you to our Trustee page and email from them from there. No matter where you live, please contact each board member. Your representative may be choosing mine. They are very busy people, so keep it concise and polite. Here is a short sample to guide you if you're not sure what to say.
Use: Appoint Kira Davis to Area 2 in the subject line.
The Area 2 Trustee seat is now open. I recommend Kira Davis for the open position. She would be an excellent Trustee.
I will keep you updated as we all get more clarity on this issue.