On January 29, newly elected Snowline Joint Unified School District Board Member Daniel Flores had a phone interview with Tri-Community NewsPlus.
What motivated you to run for the SJUSD Board?
“Well, I have to say it was a couple of things. I’ve been involved in the community now for about five years after being gone for about 12 years.” “I work at a church, and we are chaplains on campus through the school police. So, I think through that, I got to see even more of what was going on on campuses and hearing people’s concerns. And, with the opening of a board seat, I thought, well, let’s see if we can help make a difference. So that’s kind of what got me to run. And then the second thing would be that I have two kids that are school age that are in the district this year.”
Now that you are a board member, does the job meet your expectations?
“I’d say, with the exception is the first meeting being a little long, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. But other than that, yeah. I think it’s pretty much what I had expected. Obviously, with Covid, everything being from a distance and meeting through like the Google Meet platform. I guess that part, I would have loved to be in a room with everybody.”
Is it weird meeting virtually?
“If you want to have any meeting right now, it’s that way. So yeah, I guess I just kind of got used to it.”
Can you tell me how distance learning is going?
“Well, I can tell you first as a parent how it’s going. Our kids are acclimating well enough. My wife does stay home with them throughout the day. So, I think it’s been a little easier on us than most. But I’d say in a complete way; it’s definitely less than perfect. I think you want the in-person aspect that you would get with a teacher and students. To have students see their fellow students and be able to interact with each other. So I think socially, and emotionally, and mentally it would be better if we were in-person.” “But I would say that there is a large number of families that are having a rough time with it.”
For students that fall behind academically, when in-person learning resumes, how can they be caught up without resorting to students repeating school years?
“I think the first thing to say is that it’s not unique to just us. This is a statewide issue right now. Even the governor has spoken to it, that we can’t just wait for the perfect situation to get back to school.” “And then from there…we’re going to have to go at an accelerated pace next year and do the best we can.”
Do you know when sports might return to schools?
“No. I don’t have any idea right now.” “That’s probably going to be an issue for CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) to decide.”
Do you know where the district stands on having teachers vaccinated?
“So far, I don’t. I know that a survey went out, I think it was shared at the last board meeting, about what staff was willing to be vaccinated or planned on being vaccinated when their turn came up in line. I think they asked not just teachers but also classified staff if they planned on it or not. But my understanding, I mean, we’re not allowed to make anybody do anything.”
If the vaccine were made available for you to take today, would you?
“You know, I don’t know if I would yet. I’ve thought about it a little bit. I think at this point; I don’t see where my name is anywhere on the list. So I really haven’t even thought about it.”
What do you believe is the most important issue the board is facing in the next school year?
“I think it’s the same issue everyone’s facing right now. It’s trying to find the best possible way to get kids back into school. As a board collectively, no one of us has any power on our own. We’re just a collective group that is trying to do what’s best for the students.”