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
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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.

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GeneralTree Jul 10, 2020 02:54 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Trump is on a slash and burn campaign - he knows he's going to lose and doing as much damage as possible on his way out to satisfy his hardcore base who don't believe in masks and believe it's God's plan for people to die from the disease. Not buying it - that's not my God's plan. If it's not safe to sit in a bar shoulder to shoulder - then it's not safe to put the kids in school if cases are up and ICU utilization and deaths are going upin fall. I'm perfectly ok with a hybrid school week if cases/deaths/ICU utilization are going in the right direction. Luckily - the disease may not affect the child for the most part - but it will affect everyone he or she comes in contact with after the school day.

Luvaduck Jul 11, 2020 07:49 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

You're in a better position to check this than I am, it seems: I've been reading that some children's disease that is rare is going up significantly during this epidemic and that b/c it's a disease of the blood that causes "sticky" blood cells and blood vessel edema and "leaks" it can cause DVT and clots that circulate to our organs causing strokes in the brain, heart attacks and permanent kidney damage. You sound as if you are a researcher; if you have reliable information on that, please pass it on.

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

Trump is proving the teachers unions are in fact anti-education. They are playing games and hostaging your own children for their own poltiical agenda. Our local school board is nothing more than an offshoot of the California Teacher Association. I hope they remember their demand for local control when it comes to demanding non-local funding in the future. Of course, funding comes with strings attached. Stop taking it if you don't like the conditions imposed when spending other people's money. "Science" has proven kids need to be in school; are not known disease vectors for adults; simple barrier control is easy to install for protection of all adults and children, and children are basically impervious to fatal consequences of exposure to this virus we are seeing limited primarily to the very elderly and those with three or more co-morbidities. Don't make this a referendum about Trump. It is in the best interests of the child to be back in school as soon as possible - like we are seeing safely happen around the world. Why in fact are our US teachers unions digging in, except using this topic as an election wedge. US K-12 students already fall well behind their international industrialized nation cohorts. Stop making things even harder for them.

GeneralTree Jul 10, 2020 03:36 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Conservatives used to care about people, humanity, arts, the sciences, the elderly, the poor, the sick and infirmed. What happened? Now if you have a secondary health condition they don't want you to have insurance - the party has come to hate science and even education. If your an older person you life is no longer valued in their world view. The "party of Lincoln" makes fun of minorities for complaining about being treated differently. They want to abolish public schools so their cronies can open lucrative private schools and offer you vouchers that still won't allow you to afford an education for your child. Nothing matters as long as their taxes are reduced a few measly dollars. I hate extremism - but be forewarned, once the pedulum swings too far right it always swings back too far to the other side. Reparations are coming.

biguglystick Jul 11, 2020 08:39 AM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

GeneralTree, you are 100% correct. I used to vote Republican. NEVER AGAIN. The GOP has become a den of poisonous vipers intent on robbing and raping everything they can get their grimy filthy hands on. McConnell is the Devil Himself. A country should want to take care of its citizens and lift everyone up. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Trump is the worst thing to ever happen to America. I've never seen our country so divided.

420722 Jul 10, 2020 04:54 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

DW-I’m not in favor of schools opening because Trump said so nor am I a conservative or republican. I am parent that knows my children need to get back to class in August because the Internet is not a sufficient tool for education or for their wellbeing but instead politicians have decided to have a classroom war at our children’s expense, this not about science. Are you really that blind you can’t see that any of this has become about politics? There is no “conspiracy” in the fact that the last four years have been nothing but a red and blue fight over everything. It’s sick.

dw2000 Jul 10, 2020 05:04 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

420722 - I can sympathize with what you are saying about the effects all this is having on children and families. I guess where I differ is that I don't believe California's political leadership would keep kids out of school solely for political purposes. Could their science be wrong? Possibly, but I am not in a position to determine that. Could they be too risk averse? Also a possibility... but again I am not knowledgeable enough to determine that. I do trust that political leaders in CA want to get past Coivd-19 as much as anybody. We all benefit from kids in school and a strong economy–especially the politicians. We are all trying to figure this thing out. Maybe I am naive but that's my belief.

420722 Jul 10, 2020 04:07 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

@DM, The the decision NOT to reopen is also political. If Trump were to have said schools need to remain closed, his opponents would say we absolutely need to reopen. He could say the sky is blue the dems would say no it’s pink and libs would call all of it racist and demand we change the color of the sky. How you don’t see that is beyond me.

GeneralTree Jul 10, 2020 04:12 PM
Local Schools Leaders Spurn Trump Demand to Reopen, Say They'll Be Guided by Science

Actually if Trump had said schools should be closed until the disease is under control he'd be applauded for doing the right thing (for once). But according to him COVID really isn't an issue. Even now according to him the curve has flattened. Even dems don't want our governor to force kids into school if it's not safe.

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.

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.

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.

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

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).

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
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Similar for the story on water vapor:
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https://skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm

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.

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.

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