One School District’s Struggle Over Public Health, Parents and Politics
Brandon Dell’Orto listened to the comments and complaints as the school board meeting dragged on hour after hour. Many parents were angry. Their kids were sad, bored, borderline depressed, fed up with a school model that didn’t allow them to be on campus every day.
The parents wanted schools open. They demanded it. Dell’Orto, a history teacher and teachers union leader in the Roseville Joint Union High School District near Sacramento, knew it wasn’t so simple. Many of the district’s classrooms couldn’t meet new state guidelines for resuming safe on-campus instruction.
Further, 4 in 5 teachers in his union, the Roseville Secondary Education Association, opposed a full return to the physical classroom. They feared for their safety and that of some students, and many preferred to wait to be vaccinated before once again teaching in person.
Dell’Orto also knew that the protocols and opinions were unlikely to affect the ultimate decision. In the most recent election, Roseville voters had chosen three school board members who campaigned primarily on a message of reopening classrooms full time. It was clear, Dell’Orto said, that the new members were going to do exactly that. California has 1,037 public […]