Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science title=
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science
58 Comments
Reads 7013

By Jerry Roberts, Newsmakers

Leaders of South Coast school districts on Thursday shrugged off President Trump's sternly-worded demand that schools nationwide physically reopen for the new academic year, saying their plans will stay flexible in responding to the pandemic.

"We're very much going to put pressure on...to open the schools, to get them open," Trump said at a high-profile White House education event on Wednesday.

"It's very important. It's very important for our country. It's very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we're going to be putting a lot of pressure on," he added. "Open your schools in the fall."

The hardline comments by Trump and by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos added a new layer of confusion to the national debate over if, when and how to send students back to school, a dramatic step that is viewed as a threshold event to reopening the economy fully.

Lagging in pre-election polls, the president for months has emphasized the need for economic recovery while trying to minimize the public health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and local leaders said his latest effort represents more of the same.

"The President and this Administration continue to cause confusion and issue ultimatums during a very serious national emergency," said Luz Reyes-Martin, a Goleta Union School District board member.

"In our Goleta elementary schools, we are going to do what is in the best interest of our students, our teachers, and our staff," she said, noting that the board at its next meeting will consider several options for managing the new semester.

"Our decision making will be based on the best available public health science and we will do everything we can to ensure all of our students continue to receive high-quality educational instruction," Reyes-Martin added.

Laura Capps, president of the Santa Barbara Unified School District board, said that Trump's high-pressure push will have "zero" effect on the district's plans.

The Santa Barbara board as of now is proceeding with a hybrid plan that basically would give each student two days of classroom instruction and two days of online distance learning a week. At the White House, DeVos was highly critical of this method -- “A couple of hours a week of online school is not OK, and a choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all,” the New York Times reported her saying.

Capps waved off the attack: "Local control (of public schools) is a belief system here in this country, especially for times like this," she said. Trump "has politicized this pandemic from the beginning..the good news is he has almost no control over our schools, thank goodness."

Capps explained that about 10 percent of the district's budget comes from federal funds, but because of legislative mandates and regulations, the president has little control over the money: "The odds of that impacting Santa Barbara Unified are slim to none."

Anthony Ranii, superintendent of Montecito Union School District, said administrators have a "draft plan to re-open on campus five days a week" when the school year begins.

Ranii said the district has hired additional staff to reduce all class sizes to 12-16 students, which would allow social distancing; the plan also calls for masks and morning temperature and health checks for all students.

Although this is the direction towards which Trump is pushing all schools, Ranii said his district also has a "full plan for distance learning," should the pandemic surge and local conditions require a new shutdown.

"I'm taking my guidance from the Santa Barbara Department of Public Health...and from the science" about coronavirus, he added.

Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier also pushed back on Trump's comments, saying that the health and safety of students, teachers and families would shape actions on schools.

“I’m not worried about the latest tweets” from the president, he told reporters. “What we need to address is safely reopening schools and we need to make that a foundational principle. That to me is not negotiable.”

Click below to see our interview with Laura Capps about Trump's new push to reopen schools. The podcast version is here.

Login to add Comments

58 Comments

Show Comments
bigman Jul 13, 2020 01:40 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

I really feel this decision should be left up to the parents. What if a kid lives in a household with someone who is at higher risk? Also, what about teachers? Why should they be forced to take their lives in their hands? This whole situation is so difficult to resolve. I don't have answers and I don't think there are answers at least not one that fits all so let people decide what is right for themselves and their own health risks/situation.

ZeroHawk Jul 13, 2020 09:31 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

*wonders just how many of you actually have children in school in santa barbara* I will say this...no one but myself and their mother tells my kids when it's safe to go back to school, especially not some science and logic denying doofus in the white house or any of his lame duck lackeys. I, as a parent, know what is best for my kids, not some "official". To rush into this again, just like we did at Memorial day (opening SB up again), will results in a massive spike in cases. Kids are messy. Kids don't wash their hands regularly. Kids rarely practice social distancing unless they are watched and reminded. There is no possible way we can get all of the kids in SB back in school with social distancing. Not possible. We would have to build 3 more schools to make this happen. I'm not going to sit here and argue fact and numbers online, facts don't lie nor does math. As for Trump's 'threat'. Here's a threat, we are voting you out in a few months. California is a doner state and the worlds 5th largest economy. Gavin Newsom may not be perfect, but he's running a much larger business than Trump ever has, successfully. Think about this...5th largest economy on earth. Trump and Devos can keep their weird illogical opinions to themselves and stop trying to tell us what to do with our kids, their safety and their health.

Lucky 777 Jul 12, 2020 10:51 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Anyone else wondering why the schools can't just split the day, half the kids go in the morning, the other half in the afternoon.... to accommodate less people in the room? And maybe do outdoor sports etc the other half? This whacky plan now proposed is the BEST they can come up with? Teachers I have spoken with are saying the idea of "distance learning" kids online is an utter failure, they are finding less than half tune in when they are supposed to. As a society we cannot afford to have the kids out of school.

PitMix Jul 13, 2020 07:43 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

As a society, we cannot afford to have kids in school together and spreading the virus. That wouldn't make any sense at all. Don't you see that teaching 1/2 of them at a time each day would result in learning 1/2 of the subject matter? It seems like they think if they are not in the classroom they would be expected to tune in online so everyone can still learn the same amount as they currently do. And if you can socialize with your peers 2 days a week there is some incentive to keep up.

a-1594595284 Jul 12, 2020 04:08 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Lucky777 -A few logistics considerations out of maybe hundreds that are not obvious (lots of different kids, families, health issues, locations, schedules make for a lot of considerations). How to get kids to school safely and back home? If half day, someone home to take care of them the other half? Is someone sick at home when kids show for school asymptomatic? How to separate successfully to stop spread, but in classroom and out? What if a child comes to school ill (with anything?). How do teachers handle tests and other classroom materials that are used by students each day to insure no transmission to them or other students? Many students have free breakfast and lunch at school - how is this handled safely? I can't imagine how complicated it would be to manage hundreds of students and insure they don't eventually get the virus and/or take it home and "share" with friends and family. It comes down to what is the most important, saving lives and stopping the spread of the virus, or keeping the same or similar institutional practices as pre-Covid. The best for all would be to tackle the transmission as a country, as has many European and Asian countries, before schools reopen.

a-1594567381 Jul 12, 2020 08:23 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

So glad everyone here knows everything about everything. Me too. Seems we can still weave a divisive political hate message into whatever we say as well. What a year of some of us telling the rest of us how to vote, when we just need to get people to wear masks correctly and not while driving. Much more annoying than COVID and is "viral" these days. The President /Fauchi et al are quoting science as it is being learned. We DO know keeping kids trapped or inactive is not even smart or healthful, nor is it good for a society of working parents. We just need to rethink and connect outdoor life, play, and learning. Now they could have more Physical Ed.(which was severely cut) with creative ways to teach math, and science through outdoor learning modes,well defined in other countries and documented to be more effective. Yes, more hand washing and a hybrid of learning methods are needed. --UV based air conditioning filters are already here. Those desks do not guarantee learning either if you can recall--learning groups in a spaced sitting circle are more effective. How much input does a kid really need --all those hours and subjects? Are they really learning now?
It is Science that tells us to keep "kids with kids" to the greatest extent possible, and with proper and realistic levels of protection. Each school knows what it can and cannot do, and creativity is more effective than political judgments at this time about who is right/wrong. That is science --a quest for real facts and knowledge amidst falsehoods.
Maybe, put teachers behind class length plexiglass barrier (as in markets/costco now) and have masked helpers (intern educators or volunteers) work with raised hands. There are already two doors in each class. Teacher enters one. We already know COVID will spread and must be treated like other severe cold viruses. Most recover just like other colds/flus. Let kids help disinfect as in Japan where kids assist janitors in safe habits. Keep coughers out of school and somewhere safe for them so parents can work.
Disinfect kids for after school-- a final fun handwash replaces bells. It is at risk people we need to watch out for with pre-existing serious conditions. Adults of all ages need to respond to symptoms quickly. In the 1990s I helped a charter school in the east for disadvantaged rejected kids of crack /drugged parents create innovative learning modes--it is possible, less costly, and practical. That school was #1 in that inner city year after year, a city where today there is low literacy, and that school was "investigated" for its miraculous results. It was nothing more than "real life adventures" in a school community setting with parents and community expert volunteers and minimal administration. We lost creative charter schools this year--but should salvage their approach.

biguglystick Jul 11, 2020 08:43 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Thank you to the governors and mayors who are acting on behalf of science and education and NOT cow-towing to the orange dictator. If it's not safe to sit in bars and restaurants, it's not safe for kids to go back to school either. LOOK at our infection rates compared to the rest of the world! We need to assess what we are doing wrong and correct it. It seems our country is so ignorant now. People screaming at store clerks and waiters because they are asked to wear a mask. SHAME. Where did all these ignorant people come from? How did we get here?

a-1594441768 Jul 10, 2020 09:29 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Our Public Health Officials, medical community, school officials, and parents are the most qualified to determine when and if kids go back to school and how they will learn during these challenging times. Don't think we really want to sacrifice anyone's lives for the convenience of a return to school -- or do we?

SBLetsGetAlong Jul 10, 2020 09:23 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Question. Is this the first time we’ve seen a coronavirus? No. Is this the first pandemic in the last 120 years? No, it’s the fifth. Did other Coronaviruses spread via aerosol, yes. There are medical journals back to the 30 discussing it. Numerous papers written after the 2009 Swine Flu. Did you know that in China right now a swine flu is being transmitted via aerosol to other swine in neighboring farms.
So why this tune around the world has the mask & social distance become so important?
Also, just read this today on a local site per the Illinois Dept if health if you have Covid and get shot, you died of Covid. If you coughed and died, it’s Covid death. They actually said car wreck in the press conference, but either way that’s wrong and artificially inflating Covid deaths. Did you know that NYC added over 3,700 “assumed” Covid deaths to the death count.
So let’s look at local. 445,000 people here in SB. 3,931 positive tests. That’s less than 1% of SB.
31 deaths, less than 1% of those positive cases.
Currently 345 Active cases, 0.07%. Less than a tenth of a percent of SB.
Of the cases most are in N County.
If the deaths most were older and with health issues. Heck they may been in a car wreck according to the Director if the Illinois Heath Dept. Look it up, April 29th tv press release, hear it from her directly.
Is this the last virus to invade us, not likely as there’s another virus in Kazikstan & the swine flu re-emerging in China.
And how many teen suicides or other suicides because if the Covid rules? How many distraught people because of lost jobs & businesses. Read about the great depression, how many people committed suicide? And compare that to our job losses today.
And the social development of young people who need more personal contact and socialization than adults.
What about parents who can’t work because they have to hone school & watch their children because school is “partially” open. Can’t “partially” work or “partially” put food on the table.
But hey I get it, this virus is going to kill 2,000,000 Americans. It was that last weeks model.
Maybe it’s because it’s an election year. Maybe the big pharmaceuticals want to make billions. The scientists all get paid for Covid related studies. Everyone is making money off Covid except for most Americans who are sitting at home taking care of their kids.
I listened in the school board meeetings, the teachers who expressed concerns don’t have children or families to worry about.
But hey don’t worry Newsom will put food on your table and pay your rent. And the kids, do what we’ll just slow down their education even further. It’s not like 60% of SB can read or write at grade level anyway.
You got this SB, vacation for everyone for the foreseeable & unforeseen future as viruses will continue to invade us as they have for thousands of years.

RHS Jul 11, 2020 10:26 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

SBGETSALONG is a ridiculous misnomer for this sort of post which seems intent on riling things up and creating division. Our local officials should make this call and we should support what these informed and educated people advise, not some political call from the East Coast Establishment that doesn't care a smidgen about our circumstances.

a-1594439340 Jul 10, 2020 08:49 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

We've had four years of theater. Orange make up, yellow light. Rash statements about things that are actually true, so that if you know about it, or agree with it, you look like you're aligning with the cheetoh buffoon. It's theater. A means to an end. Got your Covid-Pass, yet? https://www.covipass.com/ Or you can check the World Economic Forum to see how much work they had already put into the pandemic in March. .... https://www.weforum.org/covid-action-platform Don't forget there was a national/FEMA/ multil agency drill for an out of control corona-virus, hosted by John's Hopkins University in October of 2019.... so why were we so unprepared?

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 10, 2020 07:36 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

I love science, obviously. Science says that CO2 level increases FOLLOW Earth's planetary temperature increases, based on Vostok ice core samples collected by climatologists. Science says there are only two genders in mammals in the natural world, male (XY) and female (XX), with some rare variations XXX, XYY, etc, which apart from hermaphrodites are born with normal genitals reflecting one of the two genders. The Earth is round. Science is great, and we should not allow this to be politicized. I'm fully on the side with people who are concerned that "additional CO2" raises the Earth's temperature, as long as they acknowledge that the largest greenhouse gas by concentration is water vapor, which by virtue of solar contributions is the largest driver in warming. For those who don't know what I'm talking about look up Raman active IR molecules. I have no problem with trans people, and have several personal gay and trans friends. But if you dig up there bones in 1000 years you'll only be able to say XX or XY (above considerations withstanding).

GeneralTree Jul 10, 2020 09:03 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

It takes about 5000 years for the Earth to warm out of an Ice Age, and for about the first 1000 years the cause is entirely down to the Sun – specifically to changes in the Earth's orbit which cause more solar radiation to reach high latitudes and melt summer snow. After 1000 years, the oceans have warmed sufficiently that they start releasing some of their stored CO₂, and for the next 4000 years carbon dioxide helps boost the warming. Over the full 5000-year period, the solar and greenhouse gas influences are roughly equal. Contrarians still argue that CO2 cannot be both a cause and an effect of warming.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 10, 2020 08:33 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

MAC: Have you downloaded the Volstock ice core data for yourself, or read the peer-reviewed paper from the French researchers who admitted the odd delay and tried to use isotope modeling (gases move slowly though ice) to account for the delay, narrowing it from 1000 -800 years to 200 years? They still admit there's a delay. Do you know the concentration of water? 55.6 mM, which is why nearly every single chemical equilibrium equation in existence ignores the concentration of water because it's so large an unchanging. Water is IR active and ubiquitous. No, I'm not reading more of your blog links because they are not primary peer-reviewed publications.

macpuzl Jul 10, 2020 08:17 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Adding amateur climatology and amateur psychology to the amateur epidemiology, eh? The CO2 claim is another climate myth promulgated by deniers, wherein the whole story is not mentioned:
======================================================================
https://skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm
======================================================================
Similar for the story on water vapor:
======================================================================
https://skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm

drellim Jul 10, 2020 07:28 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

This is nature well almost fact is everyone will be exposed at one time or another it has to pass thru everyone Its a unavoidable truth be healthy be smart In time it will pass and fear is useless This needs to progress thru all lives We need to build resistance there is no cheating that fact Land of the brave right

sblocal1967 Jul 10, 2020 06:42 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

I think public school decisions will not be driven by science or what is best for the kids but rather the unions who are the power brokers. Private schools are going to open up. Why? Because they believe the students/parents who pay are the customers and will do whatever it takes to service the needs of their customers.

Simpleton Jul 10, 2020 05:28 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

A significant number of high schoolers will be attending SBCC this fall under Middle College. Effectively, they've dropped out of high school due to the incompetence of the K-12 administrators. These kids and their families know that they won't get an adequate education in local high school. By the time they're 18, they will have all the college's general education classes completed. Then transfer at 19 to university as a junior.

RHS Jul 10, 2020 06:39 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

5:28. How can you, with any conscience, conflate the opportunity to attend college and get a head start on that for HS seniors with some validation of the idea that public schools are not doing their job!? In fact the program that allows this is proof that public schools care about their children and that they provide great educational opportunity.

Marv Jul 10, 2020 05:03 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

That's rich. The educators only want to act when science drives the decision. In what recent pandemic have the healthy been quarantined along with those at high risk? Dr. Fauci: No masks. Yes masks. No masks. Yes masks. You want to tell me how protesters thwarted the spread of COVID 19? Where were the scientists? The virus knew that social justice was more important so that the virus chose not to spread. Let's stick to science, right? And Jerry Roberts, a political operative masquerading as a journalist, is going to give you an even-handed treatment of the subject? Come on now.

Pages

Please Login or Register to comment on this.