“It’s not a question of if, but when… we will have infections in our school district”

Letter from a California parent on the dangers of schools reopening

The World Socialist Web Site received the following letter from a parent whose daughter is a student in Rim of the World Unified School District, located in a mountainous region in San Bernardino County, California. The WSWS has opposed reopening schools in the midst of the pandemic, which is already driving a spike in cases, including among children who are much more susceptible to the now dominant Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.

In the upcoming California gubernatorial recall election, Socialist Equality Party candidate David Moore is fighting for a rational and scientific response to the pandemic, based on the mobilization of the working class against the capitalist system. See Moore’s recent statement, “Halt the reopening of schools in California!

A masked student waits before the bell at Enrique S. Camarena Elementary School, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Chula Vista, Calif. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)


School started on August 11th in our school district. I’m very disappointed, and so is my daughter, in how our school district has been handling the health and safety of our students and the faculty/staff.

After the first day of school, my daughter came home and was very upset. She told me that many of the students (as much as 10 percent) are not masking properly in spite of the fact that we have a statewide masking order currently in effect. Moreover, many of the faculty and staff are also not masking properly and are not asking students who aren’t masking properly to wear masks or to wear them properly. She said that she felt uncomfortable at school and that her friends felt that way too.

My daughter urged me to email the principal at our school to discuss. I received an email with a copy of the masking order attached (as if I am the one who doesn’t understand the requirements) and a request to give the names of teachers who aren’t complying/enforcing masking in their classrooms. In other words, I’m supposed to throw specific teachers under the bus for reprimand by the school administration.

I replied that I don’t feel that it’s appropriate for me to give specific names because this was a conversation that should have taken place between all affected constituents before in-person learning began. It should have included teachers and parents and [explained] that it’s everyone’s responsibility, including the school administration, to ensure the health and safety of our educators, our students and more broadly that of our community and the government. Also, too many aren’t complying for any specific individuals to be singled out. I did not receive any further correspondence.

Another point that I made, which was completely ignored, is that any type of band or indoor activities requiring de-masking should be reconsidered due to the danger from the Delta surge, which is claiming more lives and spreading more Covid infections in the US and around the world.

My daughter already dropped out of band because she doesn’t and I don’t feel comfortable with her de-masking in an enclosed room with other students and a teacher. There is no social distancing, no plastic barriers and no way to ensure students safety when they play instruments.

More broadly, there are no broad health and safety measures being currently implemented or enforced in our school district. The only measure, “masking,” is hardly being enforced.

Also, I expressed that there were 43 students recently infected with Covid in the Palm Springs school district and a 13-year-old student died in Mississippi due to Covid.

My cousin and his son got infected with Covid after receiving full Pfizer vaccines, and there has been at least one report of a post-vaccination Covid death in Florida.

There was no response from the administration on these issues. They are proceeding with a “business as usual” model in spite of the dangerous and extremely deadly Delta variant surge. There is no requirement that students present proof of vaccination to attend school or even take a Covid test on a weekly basis to attend school.

I feel like it’s not a question of if, but of when, we will have student/staff infections in our school district. They have completely given up on students/faculty health and safety. I am very concerned for the safety of my student and everyone at the school and the community.