The November 16 Snowline Joint Unified School District Board of Trustee Meeting was met once again with opposition. Many community residents complained that the resolution drafted by the Snowline board of trustees on behalf of the community opposing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations was too lenient. The State issued mandate requires all students and school staff to be vaccinated if they attend in-person learning.
The Serrano PAC was filled with parents, students, concerned citizens, and staff as the Board began the meeting in which one of the agenda items was the reading and possible action on the letter and resolution explaining the district’s stance on the mandate matter. The overwhelming majority of attendees seemed to support an anti-mandate view; there were a few who insisted on masks and vaccinations. One woman screamed her message loudly at the podium into the mic for everyone in the room to hear. She explained her friend, a school clerk in a different district, died on October 30 of complications due to COVID-19. She begged people to stay home if they didn’t want to wear a mask because her friend died, and she has medical issues that place her at higher risk of becoming infected.
A 3rd-grade teacher from Vista Verde elementary school told her story. She explained that she received the second dose of the vaccine, thinking she would be able to teach in-person and without a mask, which was not the case. She continues to teach wearing a mandatory mask in class despite proof of vaccination because the vaccinated can still spread Covid 19. She also stated that her menstrual cycle was adversely affected after receiving vaccination shots, and she is now on hormone therapy, as her doctors talk of surgery. She explained that after her experience, she cannot vaccinate her prepubescent daughters out of fear of the vaccine’s potential side effects and is disappointed and frustrated they may not receive the in-person education that they have a right to attain. She explained that the drafted resolution was not adequate and that the Board needs to stand up for parents’ right to choose and let staff members decide for themselves.
“I know many teachers you will lose if you go through with this. Snowline is already having trouble filling vacancies; this will make that problem worse. Staff and enrollment will be low; how will you be educating, and who is going to educate the few that’s left,” the woman stated. She asked that they add a binding resolution that the district will not force students or staff to be vaccinated at any point in the future. “Please modify the resolution so it has binding language as it is the rule of the school board to ensure that that school district is responsive to the values, beliefs, and priorities of their communities.” Parent after parent and staff member after staff member took to the microphone during community comments, mostly asking the Board to revise the resolution before going forward, explaining the verbiage is too lenient.
The last part of the board meeting was spent revising the resolution as people from the community were present. Coming to an agreement on stronger verbiage to be added, the Board made revisions right then and there. While the wording may still not be as strong as many had hoped for, a balanced was reached expressing parent and student concerns, individual board members’ input, and district obligations under the law.