Last week, we reported how the Anaheim Union High School District Board of Education voted on February 4 voted to further delay the reopening of schools for in-person instruction, notwithstanding appeals from parent after parent after parent in beseeched the board to let their kids back in the classroom.  These parents cited science, data and their own personal experience of the harmful effects this prolonged closure has had on their kids.

Here are the voices of more AUHSD parents, expressed during public comments at the Feb. 4 AUSHD Board meeting:

Kelly Engels
Surrounding school districts are or will be back in school by end of this month. High schools and junior highs in Fullerton Joint Union District – which pulls from similar zip codes – are being included. Do they have different funding or requirements to be back?  I want teachers to be safe but the CDC has issued statements that kids should be back in school. It seems that our district has never had any intention of returning to school with teachers – echoing this through online learning.

Also, I would ask that every possible option is exercised to have an in-person graduation for seniors. I know other schools are already making new plans and I pray for that our students, as well. I understand that all reports indicate kids are not falling behind in most subjects. But I do not need to see a report to understand the impact on mental health this is having on kids of all ages – not being in school.

Witnessing firsthand the effect this has had on our senior class is heartbreaking when they feel that behind, and zero acknowledgement of what effect this year has meant for them. Please take this into consideration. Thank you for your service. 

Amy Zabala
My children are students at Cypress high school, I am writing this letter to get a better understanding of what it will take for Anaheim Union to open it schools, in order to provide our students with the in-person learning environment that they deserve and require. I’m aware that the stance of the school district has been that COVID case numbers too high, especially in Anaheim. However, with proper protocols in place, schools can open safely regardless of the COVID cases in the community. I work in the health office of an elementary school in the Cypress School District and have been on campus since August. We have no reports of any school spread throughout our district. Furthermore, I have contacted high schools that are open for in person learning, and they also have no reports of school spread.

In an effort to keep this letter brief, I did not include the specific details but we’d be happy to provide you with any information if you are interested. In addition to safety protocols, we now have a vaccine that will help protect the elderly family members of our students and our teachers, who will soon be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Withholding in personal learning is failing the students you are sworn to serve. I understand that many teachers do not want to return to in-person teaching. However, with all due respect, that is the job that they were hired to do. Where would we be if our health care workers, grocery workers and all other essential workers decided they didn’t want to return to their jobs? I do believe that teachers are essential workers, too. That job is to be in the classroom teaching their students in person.

As a classified employee of a school district, my choice was either return to work on campus, or resign. I was happy to return because I know with proper protocols in place, school can be, and has been, a safe place to be. I urge AUHSD to open our schools in person learning for the remainder of 2020-2021 school year, not only for a student’s academic needs, but for the physical, social and emotional needs as well.