Soulsbyville Elementary Not Planning To Enforce State COVID Requirements
Soulsbyville, CA — When school resumes next month after winter break, the Soulsbyville Elementary School District is planning to do away with many of the COVID-19 state requirements.
By a 4-1 vote, the board trustees last week passed a resolution to no longer require students or staff to mask in the classroom and there will be no vaccine requirements or mandatory testing for staff. In addition, quarantine protocols will only be in place for those experiencing COVID symptoms. It also notes that the district is not planning to implement student COVID vaccine requirements when they eventually take effect under state directives.
The district conducted a staff and parent survey ahead of the action.
83-percent of parent respondents say they “infrequently to never mask their children in public” and do not believe that masks should be required. 11-percent reported being somewhere in the middle and 5-percent always have their kids mask in public and feel they should be required.
66-percent said they would not send their children to public school next year if vaccines are mandatory, 20-percent said they would, and 14-percent were unsure.
A survey of teachers showed that 53-percent support a vaccine mandate for all staff, 42-percent are opposed and five-percent have no opinion. 46-percent of the teachers support mandatory vaccinations for students, 42-percent are opposed and 12-percent have no opinion.
A motion to pass the COVID-related resolution was made by board member Dena Canaday and it was seconded by Timothy Morton. Board members James Evans and Heather Spangler were also in support and Josh Milbourn was opposed.
State public health officials have warned all districts across the state that defying state mandates could result in financial and legal impacts. It could also hinder school districts’ abilities to take part in insurance Joint Powers Agreements.
The Soulsbyville School District has scheduled a special meeting for tonight so that the board can break into a closed session to talk about “anticipated litigation.” The agenda simply states there is “significant exposure to litigation” and “unknown potential cases.”
Soulsbyville Superintendent Jeff Winfield confirms to Clarke Broadcasting that the closed session is in relation to the COVID-related resolution passed last week. The meeting starts today at 6pm in the Soulsbyville Elementary School District board meeting room. If any action is taken, it would be announced afterward.
Story Update: After taking no action on Dec. 23, the School Board faced pressure as detailed here, and on Dec. 29 Soulsbyville Board Narrowly Votes To Rescind COVID Resolution