At its regular November meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18, Arcohe Union School District Board of Trustees passed a resolution in response to the recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate for school children.
Parents of Arcohe students have been very vocal about their displeasure in both the vaccine mandate and masks still being required in the classrooms.
The district facilitated two public forums, one in October and one just before the November board meeting, where parents expressed their outrage over “government overreach”.
Various stories were shared of inconsistent enforcement regarding mask wearing, “inhumane” enforcement of mask wearing, fear over “using their children as lab rats”, and mental health episodes.
Two parents shared their concern over their children’s teacher, wearing a mask and teaching behind a shower curtain.
“My child is scared in class,” one parent reported. “Can you imagine what that looks like to a seven year old?”
Another parent confirmed the shower curtain, saying that she had to attend a parent-teacher conference with that teacher and could not understand her.
“It doesn’t surprise me that this is an issue,” that parent said at the November meeting.
Parents encouraged the attending board members to support parental rights.
Later that evening during the regular trustee board meeting, the local electeds unanimously approved the resolution making the board’s stance clear on their view of the statewide decisions.
The resolution “insists” that state officials turn school safety protocol decisions regarding COVID-19 over to the locally elected officials, as well as how to enforce those protocols.
The resolution also advocates for parental choice with regard to masking and vaccinating their children, and states the district’s intent to extend personal, religious and medical exemptions for students.
Principal/Superintendent Troy Miller assured parents during the public meeting that the district will “never” allow on-site vaccinations, and the resolution reflects that decision.
“[The district will] refuse to offer on-site vaccinations either during school days or non-school days. It is our position that school is a place for education and only administer certain student medications as directed by a family physician with the expressed consent of a parent or guardian. Families who choose to seek COVID-19 vaccinations have options outside the grounds of the school,” the resolution reads.
Copies of the resolution were sent the California Department of Public Health, state and federal elected officials, including Governor Gavin Newsom.
Miller also sent a letter to Newsom requesting to meet with the governor to discuss the COVID-19 mandates.
“My community has great concern about the implications of these mandates on the children at Arcohe and would like the opportunity to have an open dialogue about these concerns and to better understand the options our local school district has at this time,” Miller said in the letter to the governor.
Miller went on to explain that the district has had very few cases of the virus.
“Our rural community has done an outstanding job in maintaining the health and safety of the local population through our mitigation efforts,” Miller wrote. “Due to our locality and the extremely low case rate, we continue to respectfully ask for you to grant us local control in the areas of masking and the future vaccination mandate.”
According to the resolution, the Herald zip code, 95638, has only had 267 documented COVID-19 cases, 15 in the past 30 days.
The school district has been in session since Nov. 9, 2020 in a hybrid setting and fully open since April 12, 2021, and has had “no epidemiological evidence of COVID-19 transmission occurring on campus,” the resolution reads.
Miller had not received a response to his meeting request as of press time.