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Guest opinion: Parents urge Sequoia district to reopen in red tier

Original post made on Feb 19, 2021

In a guest opinion, a group of Sequoia Union High School District parents calls on the district to prioritize the safe reopening of campuses for the remainder of the school year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 19, 2021, 11:35 AM

Comments (11)

Posted by Boy Howdy
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 19, 2021 at 1:35 pm

Boy Howdy is a registered user.

High Schoolers have been forgotten in this pandemic. Science has been disregarded. Ruled by the collective fear and strength of the teachers unions and relative weakness of our state government and school boards, California high schools have remained largely shuttered, leaving our community's young adults not only at risk, but already harmed - physically, emotionally, psychologically & academically.

While we all understand it's logistically easier to reopen elementary schools, I would argue it's more important and imperative for high schoolers. Our state & school leadership need to sharpen their pencils and oversight and get our high schools open asap. You don't even have to get that creative. A great starting point are the myriad schools across this large country who have reopened successfully and can serve as wonderful benchmarks. I find it ironic and disheartening that our public high schools schools haven't practiced the the very things they teach - science & case studies - to navigate toward solutions that are so obvious and within reach. Our comparators aren't other schools in the County or even California. Benchmark successful school re-openings, don't pat yourselves on the back for being the first in the County to submit a plan (that got rejected).

It's well past time to treat this like the crisis it is. If resources don't allow for that - put other business on the back burner for now. You say you want to reopen as much as parents do. Your words ring hollow. Show us a timeline. Put a stake in the ground with the County and tell them when you want to pilot reopening this year so you can hit the ground running next Fall.

This isn't rocket science. It's just science.

Posted by Amy H
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Feb 19, 2021 at 1:37 pm

Amy H is a registered user.

It is vital that we speak up for our children and get them back in the classroom where they belong. We have passed the Covid safety threshold of the CDC (in terms of positive cases) and are almost in the red tier which is the state's threshold for a safe reopening. How is it that we have no approved plan when our district has had 6 months to figure things out? Please keep fighting for our kids until the school board, superintendent, and Sequoia District Teacher's Association (our local union) know you by name.

Posted by Tracie
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 19, 2021 at 5:54 pm

Tracie is a registered user.

Our teenagers are the ones who have been forgotten and ignored this past year. At an age when their social interactions are so important to their growth, our kids have been banished to an online world that we tried so hard to keep them out of a year ago. An astronomical number of them are suffering from depression. They are lonely and withdrawn and their grades are suffering. As parents, we have to decide whether to argue with them about their classwork or just let it go because our relationships with our children are more important right now than whether they turn in their work or get good grades. Most of us have decided to preserve our relationships; it is the only constant our kids have right now.

Our high schoolers have become a political casualty as our board, teachers unions, county and state leaders argue about things that have little to do with our children's educations or proven science.

The schools are ready to go. We've been shown, by the example of many districts similar to ours, how to put the plan in place. It is time to show our kids that we care about them and that the schools are there for THEM.


Posted by Matt S
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 19, 2021 at 5:59 pm

Matt S is a registered user.

It is heartbreaking to hear stories of this lost critical time in these teens' lives. High school is such a formative period in people's lives. As a community member, I support this effort of opening our high schools. It is great to hear that Palo Alto will likely open soon. I sure hope Sequoia Union School District schools can follow their peer's example and demonstrate the leadership to make this happen for this future generation. Of all the communities, our community should be able to make it happen and do it safely. Let's get to RED and follow the CDC guidelines and science so students can be back on campus! OPEN IN RED!

Posted by JT
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 19, 2021 at 6:55 pm

JT is a registered user.

Commenting as a parent and physician, I wholeheartedly agree with the previous commenters that we need to get our high school students back. We, you, our teachers' union, our school district, our state... are all failing our kids. Their mental health is deteriorating as each passing day of isolation goes by. You may not see it, but it's happening. The recent NYT article about Clark County, NV was devastating to read (Web Link). Those parents had no idea how much their teens were suffering. Are we going to wait until we lose someone in our community? To our local teachers' unions, please follow the science and allow our schools to re-open in red

Posted by Melissa, local resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 20, 2021 at 9:24 am

Melissa, local resident is a registered user.

It's time to bring our kids back to campus for in-person instruction. The CDC has stated that it's safe to do so with the proper safety protocols. Adding teacher vaccinations only furthers that argument. Schools all over the country are open and are not reporting outbreaks. Please, for the same of our kids, REOPEN IN RED. Our kids are suffering and the time is NOW.

Posted by S Z
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 20, 2021 at 9:39 am

S Z is a registered user.

Thank you Sequoia Union High School District parent leaders for posting this Open Letter. I’m not sure our community as a whole is aware of what has happened/is happening right under its noses. Enough is enough and I applaud you for calling for the prioritization of the reopening of our schools - exactly what our elected/compensated state and local leaders should have done almost a year ago! It’s time to put politics aside. It’s time to stop allowing the Unions to hold our public school children hostage. It’s time to allow families who want to return to in-person instruction to do so. It’s time to REOPEN IN RED. Public health officials, including the CDC, have concluded that the reopening of our schools is essential for the long term health and well-being of our nation’s children AND it can be done safely. It’s hard to understand how so many other states and countries have been able to do so, but we have not. As adults, we can no longer sit by and watch our kids suffer. Rhode Island’s Governor Raimondo said it best when she addressed the schools in her state that chose 100% distance learning, "To the superintendents out there who've just decided to go virtual I want you to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you can try a little harder. Because I think the kids deserve better." We must ALL TRY HARDER. Our children definitely DESERVE BETTER.

Posted by Sara Leslie
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 20, 2021 at 9:47 am

Sara Leslie is a registered user.

I have never in my life felt less agency than I do today.

We, the people of the SUHSD, elected the school board and compensate Ms. Leach to serve the needs of our students. Right now, it seems they only serve the needs of the Teachers' Union. If this is not the case, we would have a plan--today--as to how we can reopen immediately. Instead, time passes and SUHSD continues to say a plan is coming "soon". But"soon" is not a timeline or answer.

The CDC has said it is safe to open, even without the vaccines.
Why does the Union get to decide otherwise?

I can appreciate that no one signed up for the situation. But waiting for a no-risk environment (something that is impossible in any period) is not a suitable tactic.

Families feel we are being held hostage by a group that neither represents all teachers or serves the needs of anyone other than themselves.

Posted by Menlo Park Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 21, 2021 at 7:25 pm

Menlo Park Voter is a registered user.

Dear MA Student Leaders: You have a LOT of power. EXERCISE IT!
Focus on putting economic pressure on the adults.

The teachers have their union.
Fearful of systemic retribution against their children, parents stay quiet.
Who's advocating for the children?
Where are the pediatricians? The AAP doesn't even mention Covid school closures in its advocacy positions.

A lost year in the life of a 40-50-60 year old making these policies has little impact on their life outcome. Derailing a youth as they navigate from high school into college is likely to have a significant long term impact.

Other parts of the country have lower hospitalization and death rates though they have less draconian measures. The causal relationship between the restrictions and the course of the pandemic remain murky at best. Many, many private schools and colleges all over the county remain open throughout the pandemic, including Duke University.

- Rally at the school board members' homes late into the night.
- March down El Camino disrupting the lives of the adults just as your lives are being disrupted. Block traffic but remain peaceful.
- Go to the pediatricians and say, "This is a health issue. We need your authoritative voice. Speak up now or we will never step foot again in your office."
- Create a read-only Google doc of pediatricians that support your efforts and those that remain silent.
- Rally your younger sisters and bothers to refuse to go to pediatricians that remain silent. If you don't go to their office, they can't bill your parents' health insurance.
- While attending Zoom School, you have the time and freedom to organize. Don't rally on campus where you could be disciplined by the school administration which is controlled by the teachers union.

Your future is sacrificed on the alter of petty self-interested politics,
while your leaders send their children to in-person private schools.
You are being slow-walked into yet another lost year.


Posted by Michael
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 22, 2021 at 10:46 am

Michael is a registered user.

We are weeks away from getting vaccine in the arms of everyone who will take one. Stop the union bashing and costly recall efforts, this is still a very real health crisis not a political ploy.

Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 22, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Joseph E. Davis is a registered user.

Union bashing is richly deserved - this is one of many examples of the disgraceful behavior of public sector unions.

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