At the October 26, 2021 Meeting of the Snowline Board of Trustees, it was standing room only as nearly 400 concerned parents, students, citizens, and district employees filled the Performing Arts Center at Serrano.
Prior to the meeting officially beginning, Trustee President Marcus Hernandez asked that all persons attending the meeting needed to wear a mask or he would be unable to start the meeting. Per current district policy, if students are in the room, then everyone must wear a mask. This was met with resistance from the public with many spontaneous outbursts about the right to remain mask-less. The standoff lasted for about 20 minutes when the board conceded, allowing those that wished to remain mask-less to do so during the meeting.
During Community Comments, nearly 50 members of the public took the opportunity to speak about their concerns, mainly regarding the broader political battle over mask and vaccine mandates expected to take effect in California. Most speakers praised the district for its academic excellence; however, they were concerned about whether it would support or come out against the looming mandates. Many cited the lack of sufficient knowledge of the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccination as the reason they didn’t want their children vaccinated and believed they should have the right to decide. Many of the arguments were supported by scientific data to support their stance. Teachers and employees are concerned about what the ramifications of not vaccinating will have on their jobs, and students demanded that they retain the right to control what is put into their bodies. Only a few spoke in favor of the mandates, also sighting scientific data as the reason to support mandates.
While not an agenda item, those speaking during the public comments portion of the meeting urged the Board of Trustees to issue a resolution that would show their opposition to mask and vaccine mandates for employees and students of the district, due to Brown Act regulations, the board is unable to discuss any issue that is not agendized, however, during Superintendent Ryan Holman’s update to the board on At-Home and In-Person Learning the board took the opportunity to discuss the possibility of a resolution. President Hernandez suggested that letters to legislators may be more effective than a resolution; no further action was taken on the subject.
The topic of a resolution came up once again at the end of the meeting during the Trustee Comments. After further discussion of whether a resolution or letters should be drafted, the board felt that both could be beneficial and, by consent, gave Superintendent Holman direction to draft, with input from individual board members, both a resolution and a letter for further consideration at the November 16 board meeting. At this point, the resolution/letter topic will be on the agenda for the November meeting, which means the board could take action at that time.
The five-and-a-half hour-long meeting was productive and made evident the community’s frustrations over the State’s COVID-19 mandates and those relating to the district as well.