After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

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By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers

The morning after, school board leaders Kate Ford and Laura Capps expressed calm certainty about pushing through a controversial, toughened Covid vaccine mandate for Santa Barbara Unified teachers and workers. Twelve hours earlier, they were denounced as "tyrants," ".communists" and "domestic enemies of the U.S," -- not to mention violators of the "Nuremberg Codes" - for doing so.

"The job is to be able to take the incoming," said Capps who, with board president Ford, checked in to discuss the new policy, and the extended and heated public comment about it at the trustees meeting on Thursday night.
 
The board unanimously approved the policy, which beefs up an earlier vaccine requirement for SBUSD employees, all of whom now must be fully immunized by Nov. 1. Previously, teachers and others had a choice of getting the shots, or of being tested weekly; the new resolution, passed after nearly three hours of public comment from more than 50 speakers, no longer allows testing to replace receipt of the vaccine.
 
The mandate allows exceptions for health risks, and religious beliefs.
 
Although the measure is limited to adults, the two board members told Newsmakers they expect to come forward with another change -- likely to be even more controversial -- that would require all students 12 and older to be vaccinated. "Probably within about six weeks," said Ford, when asked about the timing for such a proposal.
 
Amid the spike in Covid cases due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, the two were spurred by a small but significant outbreak at an unidentified elementary school: an unvaccinated teacher is believed to have infected three of their students with the virus.

"The carrots haven't been working," Capps said of vaccine policies that have encouraged, but not required, adults working for the district to get the shots. "This is a pandemic...a public health crisis," in which the most, and most severe, cases now are among the unvaccinated, she added.

Led by the two board members, the Santa Barbara school district has moved faster and further in imposing tough regulations on vaccines than any other local public agency; the county supervisors have passed an optional, vaccine-or-test policy, while the city of Santa Barbara has done nothing. Mayor Cathy Murillo said negotiations are continuing with City Hall unions.
 
Although the two shrugged off the passionate, and sometimes personal, attacks leveled at them over pandemic policies -- several speakers on Thursday night compared them and other board members to Nazi doctors doing sadistic experiments on concentration camp prisoners -- the anger and volatile rhetoric among vaccine opponents locally matches what is happening across the nation, as some school board members, who generally work for little or no pay, are quitting or not running, saying that the acrimony, insults and personal risks are not worth the effort.
 
"I've never seen anything like it," said Ford, who has worked for decades as a teacher, principal, superintendent and, now, board member, in Santa Barbara and other districts in California.
 
Check out our conversation with Kate Ford and Laura Capps via YouTube below, or by clicking through this link. The audio version is here.

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Basicinfo805 Sep 25, 2021 01:32 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Too much “power” in two people. Go ahead Capps/Ford, push it forever - we’re watching you and we won’t forget. Mandates for kids are a BAD BAD IDEA. Why you ask?

The answer is multifold. They have the absolute LOWEST risk for Covid caused deaths and serious illness, they have been shown NOT to be massive spreaders of disease, and it’s been documented (scientific journals, not social media bs) that some have had very serious complications (myocarditis) following the COVID vaccination. A lot of parents know this.

Go ahead Capps-Ford, stick your neck out where it doesn’t belong and see what happens. #stayinyourlane

SantaBarbaraObserver Sep 26, 2021 08:44 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Alex, they are not only a threat, they're really, really, really dumb. But dont tell them. Their feelings will be hurt... and then they'll call you bad names and claim they're actually "super-duper" smart. Bigly smart! So instead, just do what their leaders do. Lie to them and steal their savings. Its the American way!

Babycakes Sep 26, 2021 09:21 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

AlexBlue: You do realize that it's your people who are not vaccinated? They are certainly not "anti-vaxxers" as you like to refer to them as, rather these folks have a valid historical fear of government forcing things on them to their determent. So, your off-based theory of those who are not getting the jab is way off base. Like, waaaaaaaaaay off. A bit of advice as well: try kindness and love as an approach to those with whom you disagree.....you'll win more "arguments" that way. Peace to you my good friend.

SantaBarbaraObserver Sep 26, 2021 09:51 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Society should never placate to the lowest common denominator in any public policy decision. What you are missing in your dime store analysis BCakes is that the Vaccinated, the masked are far more Patriotic and caring towards their fellow American than the selfish, the naive, the willfully ignorant AntiVa and the fake zealots...who by "believing" in their own reality put the entire society at risk. Nothing is less patriotic than the actions and the acts of these people. They deserve the scorn and the blow-back. They should also know that its only going to get worse for them. A lot worse...

Babycakes Sep 26, 2021 10:12 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

SBO: All we can do is to take care of ourselves. If you are vaxxed, and I am vaxxed, then we've done our job. Apparently, approximately 45% of the US is NOT partially/fully vaccinated, and the vast majority of these people are not far-right, self-proclaimed patriots...quite the opposite. Everyone needs a "boogeyman" to blame. Take care of your own medical needs as you see fit, and stop/stop/stop worrying about others (like 150 million "others"). Once we do that, you can continue with your life...and your mask. May peace find you in these trying times and within your heart.

Basicinfo805 Sep 26, 2021 02:00 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Threatening? Only if you consider political demise as such. That's what I'm talking about. Jeez. And I get all my vaccines. Totally believe in science. There isn't good science to support giving kids this shot in my opinion. To be labeled by Alex as an "anti-vaxx conspiracy freak" perfectly demonstrates the knee jerk ignorant name calling that's happening and is a huge part of the problem here.

Bene Sep 26, 2021 03:36 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

"These people?" Who are all "these people?" I suspect you are railing against conservatives, but what do you think about the considerable numbers of young far left people who skip the vaccine because they don't think they'd get very sick if they get COVID and really don't care if they spread it to those who would? And sorry, you don't get to respond by labeling me a conservative anti vaxxer or some such. Cuz I'm not. But I like comments to be reasonable, logical, accurate and fair. Whether it fits anyone's agenda or not.

Alexblue Sep 26, 2021 06:29 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Basic, that's fair, I shouldn't have assumed you were an anti-vaxxer. Another part of the huge problem here is rhetoric that sounds like you are threatening people. If you're not clear about what you are trying to communicate, i.e., you don't say "there will be political consequences", and you say "stick your neck out where it doesn't belong" then you are being vague in a way that stirs the pot. You may already know that.

PitMix Sep 27, 2021 09:42 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that for every million doses given, there have been 67 cases of heart inflammation in boys 12 to 17 (nine in girls of that age group)

Aug 14 (Reuters) - The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States hit a record high of just over 1,900 on Saturday, as hospitals across the South were stretched to capacity fighting outbreaks caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

But according the freedumb people, getting the vaccine is riskier than not. Someone should explain risk/benefit to them.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-information-for-parents-on-myocarditis-and-covid-19-vaccines-202107012523

SBCountyLocal Sep 25, 2021 02:10 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

A mandate was the right call. We should be requiring mandatory vacinations for students ASAP. There should not be any religious exemption and medical exemptions should only be permitted for documented issues and waived after a full review by the public health department. I am grateful that the board members took this action and want other agencies to make similar mandates for employees ASAP.

Luvaduck Sep 26, 2021 02:04 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

A religious exemption is only legitimate if the premise is not interfering with the "will of God". That would mean exempting oneself from treatment to reverse any disease if infected, as that is clear interference with His Will. Isn't that the position of Mary Baker Eddy? How has that worked out for her co-religionists? The only exemptions should be for those <proven> unable.

Chip of SB Sep 25, 2021 02:32 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

There are a significant number of families who will not allow their children to be vaccinated under any circumstances. These families will pull their children out of public school or even
move out of state if necessary because they feel so strongly about the vaccine. K-12 schools get something on the order of $10-20k per student per year, so let’s call it $15k. If we assume a typical teacher in our community is paid $80k per year, how many kids being pulled from a public school results in a teacher being laid off? Similarly, employers throughout the state will commence firing employees who refuse the vaccine over the coming months. Here again, many people would give up their job and even their home in california before consenting to vaccination. It will be interesting to see how many employees are fired and/or leave the state in the next few months and what disruptions may occur as a result.

Byzantium Sep 25, 2021 03:45 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

SBUSD was already losing enrollments before this covid thing. Plus you need to factor the cost to the taxpayers for each government employee not just their take home pay, since we also pay for their benefits and pensions. That total amount is also paid by the state per pupil reimbursement formula. Fewer students, less reimbursement less income to cover ever increasing pay, perks and pensions. There is a bottom line to all of this and unfortunately we have a fiscally ignorant group of school board members running things right now They put prices on things that are impossible to put values on, while ignoring the real daily costs of the education industry that must be met by contractual terms.

SBCountyLocal Sep 25, 2021 07:58 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

This is a public school operating in a pandemic. A mandate for students to be vaccinated is needed ASAP. If parents want to home school, move, or place their children in a private school that allows unvaccinated student they can do so. If they want the government to pay for schooling their kids here they need to be vaccinated. Period. This anti-vaccine, freedom, my body ideology, and conspiracy theory BS needs to end, or we will be worse off when a new and deadlier variant emerges because of these anti-vaccine proponents.

letmego Sep 27, 2021 10:37 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

SBUnified became a basic aid district at some point within the last few years, as opposed to LCFF. (Goleta, Hope, and MUS were already basic aid districts).

The state has calculated a "floor", for what it costs to educate a student (by type - elementary, junior high, high school). They collect property taxes, calculate how much the school district would get from the property taxes, and compare that to the number of students.

In LCFF, it basically means that your property taxes do not cover the "minimum" needed to educate your total # of students. Therefore, the state adds to that amount so that you get the minimum. SB Unified was LCFF for quite a long time. That meant that they were more than willing to take transfers, as they got additional $ per student.

Basic aid (or "excess revenue") districts, which SB is now, have "extra" property tax revenue, so that the state does not need to add more. Basic aid districts don't necessarily care if you move to private school - the income doesn't change by the number of students. It might actually be helpful, as you may notice that Goleta was easily able to have smaller classes last year in elementary school, and class sizes at MUS are traditionally smaller also.

When my elder child was in kindergarten: 29 students. SB was not basic aid back then.

SBLetsGetAlong Sep 25, 2021 04:06 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

The high risk group of people & more are protected by the vax.
So why is there such a forceful push to make those that choose not get to get jabbed?

The flu has killed over twice as many kids than Covid has per CDC.
Per CDC kids have a 100% survival rate.
So why are you all attacking children?
Yes attacking, forcing people to do something they don’t want to.
It’s not for public safety. Look st the survival rates per CDC Kids 100%. Under 65, 99.80%.

And again those at risk are protected. So no need to force people.

Ahchooo Sep 25, 2021 04:25 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

SB gets along…, your stats are not accurate, that’s not what the CDC reports. In a CDC report including 45 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, only 7 states reported no child deaths from covid. Children were up to 0.25% of covid deaths in the other states. This is not a large number, but it is not nothing. Some children are killed by covid. Whether that risk warrants mandatory vaccines is another question. But kids do not have a 100% survival rate, and we still don’t have much data on the frequency of long haul after effects.

SBLetsGetAlong Sep 25, 2021 09:38 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Toddlers who do t know how to wash their hands are germ bags.
By age 12 kids know proper hygiene. Especially after the last 18 months.
The difference is the concerned adults & high risk are already vaccinated.
Kids are not adversely affected by Covid per CDC.
So what does vaccinating children or those who do not want it affect the vaccinated people?
It does not, unless the vaccine is smoke & mirrors and does not work.
If it works why would anyone cafe shar the person next to them does?

SBLetsGetAlong Sep 25, 2021 09:51 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Duke & Ahchooo

Can you list the link stating the 0.25% death rate for under 18 years of age. I couldn’t find that.

Per CDC “ Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or they may have no symptoms at all (“asymptomatic”)”

Again, if the Vax works & those that are high risk or are concerned are protected why are they forcing the vaccines on those that do t want it?

No one has answered that question.

Ahchooo Sep 26, 2021 11:58 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Turns out my stats were from the American Academy of Pediatrics, not CDC. Sorry about that! Do a search on Children and Covid-19: State-Level Data Report. And it was *up to* 0.25% of the covid deaths were children, not 0.25% of child cases died. “In states reporting, 0.00%- 0.03% of child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.” So again, not many, but not none. Seven states reported no child deaths, and five states apparently did not report data. I didn’t see any data on long term effects of the illness, but that would also be a concern for parents.

ChillinGrillin Sep 25, 2021 10:06 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

For those among us still in denial about the pandemic or splitting hairs over abstract percentages I recommend the HermanCainAward page on Reddit. Disease is a distant prospect for most people until it affects them or their loved ones. I knew a single parent, a proud Facebook anti-Fauci warrior, who just left his kid an orphan to own the libs. Personal freedom? More like disgusting, selfish ignorance. The debate over children being vaccinated is an even more disgusting variety. These same folks feigning concern for children are happy to defund education left and right. Don't pretend you care, we know what kind of people you are by now.

dukemunson Sep 26, 2021 12:00 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Ahchooo - all world data (now and at that time) pointed to the desperate need for schools to stay open. Our school boards hid behind fear and in doing so did tangible harm. They cared… but they focused and cared in the completely wrong and harmful way. The data was there… it was just easier to stay closed till mandated to open. They showed no ability or leadership. Instead of opening They praised the various inferior and worse equipped institutions that were opening up for kids to go to during school hours to safely Zoom while they kept the safe and well equipped place shut. There is no name calling needed… their actions spoke louder than any words… they simply and completely failed.

Ahchooo Sep 26, 2021 03:46 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Duke, I don’t necessarily disagree with you. I have no children in school and didn’t analyze the data (remote vs. in-person learning). I fear the teachers’ unions were playing it a bit too safe—after all, store clerks and medical personnel were stepping up. But parents were also concerned about risk to their children, and it’s very hard to decide how much risk to expose a child to when the data is so new, and so politicized. Some parents might figure their kid can overcome the loss of the in-person aspects of school better than a poorly-understood physical sickness. I know a teen and pre-teen who thrived with zoom school, and it didn’t greatly disturb the parents’ schedules either. I suspect a good percentage of our local parents were okay with the remote learning, but it would be nice to see some statistics.

dukemunson Sep 26, 2021 08:49 PM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Many schools stayed open… ours simply didn’t. The stats and data are overwhelming regarding the harm caused. Sure, A lot of kids did fine… a lot of others though didn’t. We opened bars and wineries and gyms… but closed schools. We had articles in the independent praising the various organizations opening their doors for kids to “safely” zoom school from…

letmego Sep 27, 2021 10:29 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

Duke, you really need to let it go. I realize that you don't understand, but they were going on the best information they had at the time. Hindsight is 20/20. They were wrong back then, as it turns out that the Alpha variant wasn't so easily spread. However, we didn't have a vaccine.

I'd also like to point out that hundreds of parents (a very large % of them) did not want school to open back then at all (a certain smaller % STILL feel that way). My own personal level of conservatism with this virus almost completely matched theirs. We should have opened in November, but when we didn't - it was too late. There is nothing Capps nor Ford could have done after that, as our numbers were too high per the state rules. I saved a screen shot from the school board meeting on October 13. 43% of parents (myself included) voted to go back in November, but 57% voted to go back Jan 19 OR LATER OR NOT AT ALL (15%). We were NOT mandated to open in the spring when we opened, in fact. They chose to open and expanded to full time as soon as they could.

You really need to give people credit for learning and changing. It happens. We collect more data, we re-evaluate the changing risks and rewards, and we make adjustments.

Let. It. Go.

dukemunson Sep 27, 2021 11:15 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

We were fine to open without a vaccine, as we saw with all the schools that open, as well as your own point that (and this was widely known then as well) there is less transmission in the school than the community at large. They went first to close and last to open...which obviously is the exact opposite of logic, reason, science and (of course) the needs of the kids. Sad...and no...you can't try and make this a hindsight is easy issue...this was known and apparent...they were frozen and paralyzed with fear and took the easiest route for them...stay closed pretty much until forced open.

Transparent Sep 26, 2021 09:14 AM
After-Action Report from SB School Board Leaders Who Pushed Through New Tough Mandate

I am very much supportive of this mandate.

Part of the untold story here is that that managers, especially in bureaucracies with big HR structures, are being hamstrung by the small percentage (~1/20?) of employees grasping at any excuse to remote work.

... as in ... "I'm not SURE the vaccine is safe, I'm not SURE the workplace is safe, and it's my right to continue (not) working remotely for my full salary for as long as possible." ... ...

If you are, say, a school, having to re-org everything because a few pieces are out is a complete nightmare.These mandates give managers the leverage they need to align with what are health experts have been telling us for months. And get our systems running back safely, with full capacity, in person, again.

Surely there are a tiny sliver of employees with legitimate concerns, but that bar needs to be set very high. It's human nature to get away with as much as possible. For example, why are non-vaccination rates so high among police? The first ones vaccinated were the first ones sent back to real work! For once the schools, city, and state are getting a blunt policy right. Let's get everyone vaccinated and continue to support each other in these very tough Covid times.

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