FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – A Fresno area hospital is calling out a school board president for comments made about Covid-19 and children.
In a letter obtained by KSEE24/CBS47 dated Aug. 5, Valley Children’s President and CEO Todd Suntrapak says comments made by Clovis Unified Board president Dr. Steven Fogg were “wildly flawed” at a July 29 school board meeting.
At the meeting, the board voted to allow Clovis Unified parents to opt-out of a mask mandate for students without a doctor’s order.
The Clovis Unified board voted to increase local control on Covid-19 policies in schools within the district. At the meeting, Dr. Fogg said organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics are out of touch with the pandemic’s impact on the local level.
“CDC, AAP, they have no clue what’s going on in my community, they’re not here,” Fogg said at the July 29 meeting.
In response, Valley Children’s CEO slammed Fogg’s comments saying, “We still cannot suspend important facts, and as a health professional, I hope you’ll realize why I feel the urgency that you consider the risks in such short sighted considerations.”
At the meeting, Fogg also played down the impact of Covid-19 on children, citing his own observations at Valley Children’s. Fogg says he is an on-call staff member working as an emergency eye doctor at Valley Children’s
“Last time I was on call at Children’s Hospital, I didn’t find a lot of people in the ICU with COVID. Now maybe I wasn’t in the right spot, not that it’s my job, but I didn’t see that.”
In response to this, Suntrapak said Fogg’s alleged observations were out of line, and that “anyone wandering around Valley Children’s intensive care units without authorization raises serious patient safety and privacy issues that I will need to address separately.”
In a statement to Fogg said that he did not properly clarify his comments and that he wasn’t aimlessly wandering around Valley Children’s Hospital, and was inquiring with staff about the COVID-19 situation in the hospital. Fogg’s statement reads in part:
“I am grateful to valley children’s’ leadership to correct any inaccurate information that I might have represented at our board meetings. My personal observations may not always reflect the complete reality of the current situation.”
Fogg also said the CUSD board is prepared to make adjustments should the Covid-19 situation get worse among children, and that he is grateful for more communication between the school board and Valley Children’s hospital. Fogg added that the visit he was referring to was about two months ago at Valley Children’s, when the situation was very different for COVID-19 cases amongst youth. Within the last month, Fresno County Public Health reported a dramatic rise in cases among children. Fogg acknowledges that the situation has gotten worse for unvaccinated children, and says he looks forward to working together with local hospitals to provide safety and care for children in Clovis Unified.