CLOVIS, Calif. (KGPE) – Following a heated meeting last week, the Clovis Unified School District board met Thursday night to discuss its COVID-19 guidelines just less than three weeks students are expected back in the classroom.
The board decided to follow the California Department of Public Health mask requirements that state K-12 students need to be wearing masks while indoors – and staff should be wearing them indoors where there are students, regardless of vaccination status.
However, there will be an attestation form that parents can fill out that says their kids shouldn’t have to wear a mask or should be wearing something less restrictive, like a face shield, due to things like a mental health issue, physical disability, or a medical condition.
However, many parents still spoke against the mask requirement and the attestation form at the meeting.
The Clovis Unified school board also adopted a resolution that will then be sent to the state that asks for more local control over guidelines related to COVID-19, such as mask-wearing.
“What we’re really trying to say is no one knows our kids better than us. We know our own kids and we want to as a board in our own community, as elected officials, we want to make the decisions for our kids,” Clovis Unified Board member Steven Fogg said.
But local pediatricians and doctors who have treated COVID-19 patients in the emergency department spoke against it, noting the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations locally, even in younger people.
“I think there’s a legitimate fear around children and this new delta variant and the possibility that kids, where some people falsely say they are immune, we’re realizing that they’re not immune,” local palliative physician Dr. Patrick MacMillan said. “COVID affects a kid in Arkansas just like it would in Clovis and anywhere in this country.”
This meeting comes just one day after the Fresno County Department of Public Health shared concerning trends showing emergency visits due to COVID-19 in those who are under 18 years old exceed visits than the 65 and older population.
In a press release, Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said in part, “These data are a sobering premonition for what we can expect once schools reopen this fall. We anticipate that Fresno County will continue to see a rise in COVID-19 case counts in our younger populations during the first few weeks of school.”