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Livermore: Anti-mask speakers urge school board to drop mandate for students

Deputy superintendent says ignoring health officials would be 'arrogant'

A group of Livermore residents and parents addressed the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) Board of Education last week expressing their concerns about students being required to wear face coverings to attend school in-person once classes start this Tuesday.

During the public comment portion of the Aug. 17 school board meeting, some speakers dialed in to implore the board to allow parents to choose whether to send their kids to school with or without masks. Although the meetings are currently only available to the public virtually, the group gathered outside of the board chambers and cheered each other on as they each spoke.

The mask policy was not specifically an agendized item, so the board members said they could not address the issue at length or take any action due to Brown Act provisions.

"I'm speaking tonight heavily advocating for the right for parents to choose whether or not their child is to wear a mask at school," stated one speaker, whose name was not immediately identifiable on the meeting video but said she is the parent of two LVJUSD students in fourth and seventh grade. "Right now, our city, our county, our state, our country as a whole and really even our world is so incredibly divided and it's incredibly sad."

"I certainly don't condemn those who choose to wear a mask -- everyone needs to do what they are comfortable with -- but that's just it, everyone should have the right to choose," she added.

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Later in the meeting, while providing a status report on school safety protocols, deputy superintendent Chris Van Schaack doubled down on the district's stance about following the guidance of health officials.

"Our goal has been for quite a long time to open the fall with full-time school for grades TK-12 and so, that is what we intend to do," Van Schaack said. "In order to do so -- as safely and as effectively as possible -- and to stay open fully as long as we can, we are adhering to the CDC, the Alameda County Public Health Department and the California Department of Public Health."

The board had received 160 emails from parents on both sides of the debate ahead of the Aug. 17 meeting, according to district staff.

Among those who sent an email in favor of the mask mandate was City Councilmember Brittni Kiick, whose 6-year-old daughter attends Junction Avenue K-8 School. "I would like to share my appreciation for your decision to follow local guidelines to require masks for all individuals in schools," Kiick wrote.

"As a parent of young kids ineligible for vaccines, masks are the only protection they have. We know based on the data that just masking my own child is not sufficient to decreasing Covid-19 transmission. We all need to come together to protect our children," she added.

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Jennifer Valentin shared similar sentiments.

"The Delta variant is wreaking havoc among the unvaccinated in the U.S. Children under 12 are not yet able to access the vaccine, leaving them especially vulnerable. Without being able to rely on the vaccine, adults must do everything possible to keep them healthy, including wearing masks," Valentin said.

"My children -- ages 5 and 6 -- understand this very straightforward concept and have no issues, whatsoever, with wearing masks at school. I cannot send them to school with other unvaccinated children without masks. Please keep our children safe," she added.

During the meeting, in public comment on non-agenda items, several of the speakers argued the belief that masks are ineffective and could cause long-term consequences on a person's health.

"The school board members need to step up or step aside if they can't advocate for our children and stop using them as political pawns to keep their paychecks coming," said another speaker, whose name was not immediately identifiable.

"It leaves me completely baffled that we have elected officials who cannot comprehend basic common sense and are actually able to sleep at night knowing they are responsible for unnecessarily harming our children physically, mentally and emotionally," she added, before claiming that she is considering removing her children from the district altogether.

Although the mask policy, specifically, was not on the board's agenda that night, one of the discussion items that followed public comment was a report and status update about school safety and health protocols.

Acknowledging those who expressed opposition to the masking requirement by phone and by email, Van Schaack said, "There's a number of folks in those emails who are calling for the board and for the district to defy the recommendations and guidance of these health agencies and I imagine a scenario in which there is a fire at one of our schools and the fire department shows up."

"The captain says to the principal, 'Sir, you're going to have to evacuate your students to the west side of the campus.' And then the principal says, 'With all due respect, Sir, I studied fire science in school and I think I understand a little bit about fire safety and I'm not going to do that,'" Van Schaack added.

He continued, "Or worse yet, perhaps we have an active-shooter situation and the police show up and they tell the principal, 'Sir, in order to keep your students safe, here's the things that you need to do,' and the principal says, 'You know what? I don't think so. I think you're overreacting. I'm going to keep the kids where they are.' To me, these sound like outrageous situations because we trust those folks to keep us safe."

Van Schaack also said that it would be "arrogant" for the board and the district to believe that they know more about public safety than those who are experts in their respective fields.

LVJUSD's first day of the 2021-22 school year begins Tuesday with full-time instruction days on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and early release on Wednesdays, reverting to its pre-pandemic schedule.

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Livermore: Anti-mask speakers urge school board to drop mandate for students

Deputy superintendent says ignoring health officials would be 'arrogant'

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Aug 23, 2021, 10:35 pm

A group of Livermore residents and parents addressed the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) Board of Education last week expressing their concerns about students being required to wear face coverings to attend school in-person once classes start this Tuesday.

During the public comment portion of the Aug. 17 school board meeting, some speakers dialed in to implore the board to allow parents to choose whether to send their kids to school with or without masks. Although the meetings are currently only available to the public virtually, the group gathered outside of the board chambers and cheered each other on as they each spoke.

The mask policy was not specifically an agendized item, so the board members said they could not address the issue at length or take any action due to Brown Act provisions.

"I'm speaking tonight heavily advocating for the right for parents to choose whether or not their child is to wear a mask at school," stated one speaker, whose name was not immediately identifiable on the meeting video but said she is the parent of two LVJUSD students in fourth and seventh grade. "Right now, our city, our county, our state, our country as a whole and really even our world is so incredibly divided and it's incredibly sad."

"I certainly don't condemn those who choose to wear a mask -- everyone needs to do what they are comfortable with -- but that's just it, everyone should have the right to choose," she added.

Later in the meeting, while providing a status report on school safety protocols, deputy superintendent Chris Van Schaack doubled down on the district's stance about following the guidance of health officials.

"Our goal has been for quite a long time to open the fall with full-time school for grades TK-12 and so, that is what we intend to do," Van Schaack said. "In order to do so -- as safely and as effectively as possible -- and to stay open fully as long as we can, we are adhering to the CDC, the Alameda County Public Health Department and the California Department of Public Health."

The board had received 160 emails from parents on both sides of the debate ahead of the Aug. 17 meeting, according to district staff.

Among those who sent an email in favor of the mask mandate was City Councilmember Brittni Kiick, whose 6-year-old daughter attends Junction Avenue K-8 School. "I would like to share my appreciation for your decision to follow local guidelines to require masks for all individuals in schools," Kiick wrote.

"As a parent of young kids ineligible for vaccines, masks are the only protection they have. We know based on the data that just masking my own child is not sufficient to decreasing Covid-19 transmission. We all need to come together to protect our children," she added.

Jennifer Valentin shared similar sentiments.

"The Delta variant is wreaking havoc among the unvaccinated in the U.S. Children under 12 are not yet able to access the vaccine, leaving them especially vulnerable. Without being able to rely on the vaccine, adults must do everything possible to keep them healthy, including wearing masks," Valentin said.

"My children -- ages 5 and 6 -- understand this very straightforward concept and have no issues, whatsoever, with wearing masks at school. I cannot send them to school with other unvaccinated children without masks. Please keep our children safe," she added.

During the meeting, in public comment on non-agenda items, several of the speakers argued the belief that masks are ineffective and could cause long-term consequences on a person's health.

"The school board members need to step up or step aside if they can't advocate for our children and stop using them as political pawns to keep their paychecks coming," said another speaker, whose name was not immediately identifiable.

"It leaves me completely baffled that we have elected officials who cannot comprehend basic common sense and are actually able to sleep at night knowing they are responsible for unnecessarily harming our children physically, mentally and emotionally," she added, before claiming that she is considering removing her children from the district altogether.

Although the mask policy, specifically, was not on the board's agenda that night, one of the discussion items that followed public comment was a report and status update about school safety and health protocols.

Acknowledging those who expressed opposition to the masking requirement by phone and by email, Van Schaack said, "There's a number of folks in those emails who are calling for the board and for the district to defy the recommendations and guidance of these health agencies and I imagine a scenario in which there is a fire at one of our schools and the fire department shows up."

"The captain says to the principal, 'Sir, you're going to have to evacuate your students to the west side of the campus.' And then the principal says, 'With all due respect, Sir, I studied fire science in school and I think I understand a little bit about fire safety and I'm not going to do that,'" Van Schaack added.

He continued, "Or worse yet, perhaps we have an active-shooter situation and the police show up and they tell the principal, 'Sir, in order to keep your students safe, here's the things that you need to do,' and the principal says, 'You know what? I don't think so. I think you're overreacting. I'm going to keep the kids where they are.' To me, these sound like outrageous situations because we trust those folks to keep us safe."

Van Schaack also said that it would be "arrogant" for the board and the district to believe that they know more about public safety than those who are experts in their respective fields.

LVJUSD's first day of the 2021-22 school year begins Tuesday with full-time instruction days on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and early release on Wednesdays, reverting to its pre-pandemic schedule.

Comments

PLSN Resident
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2021 at 10:48 am
PLSN Resident, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2021 at 10:48 am

"...knowing they are responsible for unnecessarily harming our children physically, mentally and emotionally," she added, before claiming that she is considering removing her children from the district altogether."

First: the media shows parents flipping out about masks while their own kids are perfectly fine with them. What evidence is there of any harm whatsoever to perfectly healthy kids (which the vast vast majority of kids are)? There's clearly increasing harm to kids from covid delta and REAL potential long-term effects. Second: if this person can't handle her kids wearing masks, then by all means she is welcome to leave the school district. It will be safer for the other kids, and sounds like it may also raise the overall quality of the parent body...


buklau
Registered user
Avila
on Aug 24, 2021 at 1:39 pm
buklau, Avila
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2021 at 1:39 pm

"I do not recommend that you wear a mask" - Anthony Fauci in 2020 in his email to Sylvia Burwell


PLSN Resident
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2021 at 2:07 pm
PLSN Resident, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2021 at 2:07 pm

The emails from Feb. 2020?? Please: Web Link

And ignoring that facts and recommendations can change as more information is learned (it's called Science) is like insisting on wearing a heavy winter coat in the summer because the weatherman said it was going to be below freezing just 6 months earlier.


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Aug 24, 2021 at 6:10 pm
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2021 at 6:10 pm

The only mask that remotely works is a N95 mask. All others are worthless especially all the cutesy slogan cloth masks They do not work for smoke or virus. N95 or no mask. Take a mirror and breath on it. It fogs up. Put on a cutesy cloth mask and breath on the mirror. It fogs up. If you are not wearing a N95 you are whistling in the cemetery.


Joe V
Registered user
Birdland
on Aug 24, 2021 at 8:39 pm
Joe V, Birdland
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2021 at 8:39 pm

John......... there are other masks that work in close contact for Covid19, besides N95's, like a level 3 mask. It also helps, if you wear any type of face covering and you are conscious of social distance. The flu season was very low last winter in comparison to past years, because we are wearing masks. People are encouraged to wear masks to prevent COVID19 from spreading, it has proven to work, otherwise it wouldn't be suggested. Do you actually think that masks are mandated for some other reason? Why be so uncooperative? Other countries are going through lock downs! Locally they are just asking you to wear a mask indoors and get vaccinated. Did you forget that we have the highest number of COVID19 deaths? Or do you not believe that either? Are you one of the fortunate ones that hasn't lost a family member to COVID19?


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 24, 2021 at 8:57 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2021 at 8:57 pm

The mask police are out of control.
Vaccinated are spreading covid
Unvaccinated are spreading covid
Masked are spreading covid
Unmasked are spreading covid

There’s no logical end.

The only data that really matters are hospitalization rates and death rates.

At this point with the percentage of vaccinated people I say let it spread if it isn’t putting more people in the hospital or grave. It’s here, it’s with us, it’s going to continue to evolve as the flu does seasonally. Learn to live with it and through it.

A yr ago I’d have a different position, but time to move forward


John
Registered user
Birdland
on Aug 24, 2021 at 9:23 pm
John, Birdland
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2021 at 9:23 pm

Joe V. Why jump on someone who may have a different opinion than you. I wear a mask when required. I am vaccinated. Many countries do not have mask mandates. Cloth masks are worthless especially the way most people wear them. They wear them as a chin diaper and it only catches drool. Cloth masks prevent nothing. N95 masks work best. Why wear a pretty cloth mask that does no good. Wear a proper mask properly. Masks are only mandated because that is the only thing they can mandate. You have your opinions and I have mine and we both have studies to back them up. Again I am vaccinated and I follow the rules as useless as they may be. Lighten up and get a good nights sleep. You will feel better.


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