On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, I attended my first Tehachapi Unified School District board meeting as a trustee. I was sworn in along with Tyler Napier. We both agreed to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, along with upholding the Constitution of California. These documents have been under attack for years. I do not believe either of these are living documents but written in such a way that they apply to today’s environment, whatever day it is.
This opinion is strictly mine and in no way reflects the other school board trustees or the opinion of the board as a whole. The other board members and the superintendent may agree or not; that is their choice. My opinions do not represent TUSD or any of the employees of our great school district.
There was not anything that I considered controversial on the agenda. Some people might have, but there weren't any public speakers, as far as I remember. I am writing this on New Year’s Day. There was some disagreement regarding how often we, the board, should meet. In the end, the board voted to keep a mostly once a month schedule.
Our superintendent, Stacey Larson-Everson, informed all those who attended about the upcoming return to school on Jan. 4. Students, our community’s children, would not return immediately to face-to-face instruction. They would remain virtual for the time being. Starting in mid-January, we are planning on some students returning face to face, with the current information we have.
There was a plan to begin bringing students back in February. With the governor’s latest plan presented, after our December board meeting, in late December 2020, all those plans have been put on hold for now. We hope to have an update by the time this makes it into print. This seems like it has been the norm since March 2020. Remember, you are in control of your daily life, do your best to make it positive. We do not get a life do-over!
I want to provide you with a little information that is possibly affecting our entire state. There is pending legislation regarding students returning fully face to face on March 1. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently laid out an incentive plan for school districts to bring kids back as early as mid-February. This plan does have testing and cleaning protocols in place. And of course, limitations that are out of the district’s control, such as 28 cases per 100,000 people within a seven-day period (https://edsource.org/2020/newsom-to-announce-plan-to-encourage-in-person-instruction-in-elementary-grades/645983). I recommend you read it.
Our superintendent, the board, and I am guessing you, would rather err on the side of safety, but safety to one is not necessarily safety to another. There is a cost to each decision we make. We all do not see this cost the same way. We do not have all the information we want and usually never do. We will not return to our previous normal; our lives will now be under a new normal, whatever that may be.
Tracy Kelly is newly elected to the Tehachapi Unified School District board. The opinions are his own.