Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
District: Student Mask Opt-Out by Clovis Parents Now Not an Option
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 3 years ago on
August 10, 2021

Share

Parents whose kids are attending Clovis Unified schools will now need a note from a licensed medical professional to have a face mask exemption, district spokeswoman Kelly Avants told reporters Monday afternoon.

The School Board voted July 30 to allow parents to “self-attest” that their children have a medical or mental health issue or a disability for which a face mask would interfere with their education.

But guidance released Friday by the California Department of Public Health keeps in place last year’s requirement that parents obtain a doctor’s note attesting to the need for a mask exemption or alternative face covering.

The district’s face mask resolution last month included a caveat that stricter rules could be implemented if state officials updated public health recommendations, Avants said.

About 4% to 5% of parents of the district’s 43,000 students had submitted exemption applications by last Friday’s deadline, and the district has been notifying them about the updated requirement, she said.

Parents who do not obtain the exemption in time for the first day of school on Aug. 16 and do not want their child to wear a mask in school will be provided their schoolwork until they can obtain an exemption, similar to how the district works with parents who can’t provide proof of immunization for childhood diseases such as chicken pox or measles by the first day of school, she said.

Parents also will have the option to sign their child up for independent study or Clovis Online School, Avants said.

Some Parents Sought Mask Choice

The School Board’s unanimous vote last week came after intensive lobbying by parents and community members for “local control” to let parents decide whether their children should wear masks in school.

The district’s initial recommendation was to require face shields with drapes or other face covers for students for whom masks interfere with their education, but the School Board opted to remove that requirement and voted not to require any face coverings for students with exemptions signed by their parents.

At the board meeting, board president Dr. Steven Fogg noted that he was unable to determine the extent to which COVID-19 has been impacting children in Clovis because he has not been able to obtain hard data, even after visiting Valley Children’s Hospital.

That prompted an unusually public response from the hospital’s president and CEO, Todd Suntrapak, who cautioned local school officials as well as parents and other community members against thinking that Clovis is in a bubble separate from other communities and school districts in the county, where the coronavirus is surging.

The number of childhood coronavirus cases is growing at Valley Children’s, just as it is across the county as the Delta variant surges primarily through unvaccinated residents but also is infecting vaccinated people in “breakthrough” cases.

“Valley Children’s Hospital has one agenda — resting on its commitment to advocate for actions, decisions and policies that are in the best interests of kids and their parents,” Suntrapak said in the six-page letter addressed to Fogg and copied to the other six School Board members. “Our mission cannot be involved with philosophical or political differences that distract us from that commitment. That is why, in every instance, we strive to have our advocacy be aligned with experts, science and evidence — and the national recommendations for kids to get back to school wearing a mask is one we fully support.”

Avants said she could not provide a response from the district to Suntrapak’s letter. “That’s a conversation between our School Board president and the sender of that letter,” she said.

County Supervisors Mull Resolution

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Fresno County Board of Supervisors will consider a resolution supporting “local control” by school boards over how instruction is conducted.

The resolution would call for state and federal officials to return control of classroom instruction decisions to local school districts and their governing boards, “consistent with existing data and local conditions.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

DON'T MISS

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

DON'T MISS

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

DON'T MISS

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

DON'T MISS

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

DON'T MISS

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

DON'T MISS

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

DON'T MISS

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

DON'T MISS

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

DON'T MISS

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

UP NEXT

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

UP NEXT

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

UP NEXT

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

UP NEXT

Harvard Again Requiring Standardized Test Scores for Those Seeking Admission

UP NEXT

Bob Nelson Breaks Silence on Fresno Unified Superintendent Search

UP NEXT

Half of Americans Say Public K-12 Education is Going the Wrong Direction: Poll

UP NEXT

Fresno Unified Trustees Expand Superintendent Search to Include External Candidates

UP NEXT

Trustees Owe a Nationwide Superintendent Search to Fresno’s Children

UP NEXT

What’s Next in Fresno Superintendent Search? That’s the Great Unknown.

UP NEXT

Fresno City College and Fresno State Team up to Ease Transfer Hurdles

Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

11 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

11 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

Local /

12 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

13 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

13 hours ago

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

13 hours ago

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

15 hours ago

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

15 hours ago

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

15 hours ago

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

15 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

Alright, cats and kittens, straphang onto your beanies because I’m about to lay a news flash on you that’s so whimsically wild it coul...

10 hours ago

Fresno Monopoly Edition
10 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

10 hours ago

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

10 hours ago

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

11 hours ago

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

11 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

Local /
12 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

13 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

13 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend