LBREPORT.com Seeks LBUSD COVID-19 Infection Data For All Campuses; Amid Calls For Reopenings, Parents, Teachers, Students And Taxpayers Have Right To Know If District's Current "Protective" Measures Are or Aren't Working
|(Sept. 29, 2020, 9:10 a.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has requested that LBUSD provide data it's now selectively providing to parents on COVID-19 infections at some LBUSD campuses. Our request comes after COVID-19 staff infections at Millikan and Poly High schools leaked last month on social networks, and last week LBUSD asked nearly a dozen students/school staffers at ELB's Bixby Elementary School to quarantine themselves to avoid a potential spread of COVID-19.
An LBUSD spokesperson told our competitor (it's dodging our request, see below) that LBUSD notified "families of a class of nine children in the Kids Club at Bixby Elementary School that the children may have been exposed to COVID-19, and that due to this potential exposure, the children should quarantine at home."
LBUSD told us none of this. Both exposures surfaced on social networks, inviting the obvious question: how many other LBUSD campuses have had or currently have COVID-19 infections and possible exposures and which ones? LBREPORT.com doesn't know (yet) and we're not willing to accept the status quo on this..
On Sept. 24, LBREPORT.com requested a copy of "the information provided to parents, and subsequently to a competing outlet, regarding a quarantine for some students and staff at Bixby Elementary School.. We also request any statement by LBUSD management on the matter" and LBREPORT.com requested "a copy of similar information, if any, provided to parents at other LBUSD schools regarding quarantines or other COVID 19 responsive actions since September 1, 2020."
Its response thus far: "We are reviewing your request and will be in touch." That doesn't sound very transparent; it sounds more like LBUSD is preparing to deploy its taxpayer-paid lawyers to devise rationalizations to continue to its current practice of dribbling out and concealing meaingful COVID-19 information from us and from you.
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Tonight, supporters of the Reopen Long Beach Schools Facebook page (which has over 1,500 members thus far) plan to tell LBUSD's governing/policy setting school board that they want LB schools reopened (some say) now or (others say) when it is "safe" (leaving unclear who'd decide and on what basis.) A separate page, comprised mainly of teachers and with roughly four times the followers of the Reopen Facebook page, displays views variously warning of risks to teachers, students and their families in reopenings driven by bureaucratic desires instead of medical facts.
Regardless of where one falls on that spectrum, parents, teachers, students and taxpayers need to know in a timely manner about COVID-19 infections at LBUSD campuses. Not dribbled out to some parents and some campuses (no names, but basic information.) For all of LBUSD's campuses. Problems at one campus could signal and prevent possible problems at other campuses.
In government-run schools as well as free market businesses, COVID-19 decisions are ultmately matters of consumer choice. No responsible parent is going to knowingly send their child to a government school where they could be exposed to, or bring home and expose parents and grandparents and others, to a novel untreatable virus that can seriously sicken or kill those it infects. (Some irresponsible parents already send their children to school with noses running, coughs or worse, unconcerned about infecting others students and their teachers and school staff.)
Delaying or stonewalliing public access to COVID-19 data for LBUSD campuses will ultimately harm efforts to normalize and reopen schools. The status quo undermines trust in and the credibility of LBUSD's current protective measures. LBUSD management and ultimately the School Board need to address this by adding transparency, not blocking it.
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