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Letters to the editor: Time for schools to reopen

3 12 Open schools image

A flier posted on Ojai Parents Peaceful Protest Facebook.

OUSD parents: It’s time to take a stand

MARIEKIE QUINN — Ojai

I am a parent of two secondary schoolkids, and the lack of communication and transparency from the district is appalling. The district has given us a smokescreen to the community about being back on campus. One hour every other week (Matilija) or every week for one class (Nordhoff) is not enough! 

 

We need support for our kids and for the parents to stand up and say enough is enough. It has been a year since these kids have been in a classroom with their teachers. Our community is small enough that the schools can open in a safe environment. The district's Mission Statement says, “OUSD embraces the values of environmental stewardship, wellness, creativity....” Where are they implementing stewardship in the kids’ environment to be back on campus? 

Parents, I’m speaking to you. It is time to take a stand, it is time to band together and make our voice heard. 

Please join us on Facebook at Ojai Parents Peaceful Protesthttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1126868234497028

We ask our kids to think outside the box and be creative? 

Well, I’m asking OUSD the same questions: How are you thinking outside of the box to getting our students back on campus? 

I’ll go first…Have half the student body come on campus in the a.m. and the other half in the p.m. Hire more teachers. Isn’t our children’s education more important than lining the pockets of more OUSD board members! Yes, you would have to get more teachers! Have the teachers rotate classroom vs. the students. 

As for sports, I think we need to remove masks during athletic play. The pros do, college does.... If they want to follow the same protocols as football, that has been approved. They should extend that courtesy to other sports programs as well. All coaches need to follow the same protocols. Let the kids play!

 

Kids belong in school

KELSIE ZIMMERMAN — Ojai

I am a staunch supporter of the public schools. I WANT my kids at Ojai Unified School District schools. I want everyone to know that parents can be both empathetic to the teachers/coaches and advocate for their kids to be in-person for this fall. Parents’ experiences and realities do not always come across in the media and to the community. Please be open to parents’ experiences with their children and ask your local parent how they’re doing. 

Parents are seeing the very real struggles as a result of not being in-person at school at all levels. When you hear Ojai’s public schools are open, this is what it means: The elementary are back eight hours a week, middle school is one hour every other week, and high school is one hour a week if you take the maximum three classes. At least half are only taking two classes right now, and go back one hour the first and third weeks. This cannot happen for the coming school year. Ojai can do better. Is this acceptable that our kids can go to Disneyland, eat at a restaurant outside, volunteer, hold jobs, but their main “job” of school, cannot be in-person?

It has  been a year with barely any access to campus for our students. We know the county has done a phenomenal job vaccinating our community, including all teachers and staff. It’s time parents get a commitment that all schools will open full time in the fall, not a plan for “better than it currently is.”

I know I’m not alone. It’s time that our community, our parents and grandparents speak up for the future of our youth in Ojai. Do not make our kids continue to bear the weight of this pandemic. From their perspective, they see things opening up everywhere for everyone, except they are left with crumbs. Parents are feeling isolated from the schools (no volunteers allowed), unheard, and frustrated. I have never known Ojai to shy away from a crisis. So, how are we all going to show up for these kids?

 

OUSD not doing enough to get students back in school

JEN BURKETT — Ojai

I am a parent of two children in the Ojai Unified School District, a first-grader and a fourth-grader. I also have a child starting transitional kindergarten next year. If elementary schools do not fully open next year, we will leave the district.

I am extremely thankful that the elementary schools have been told we will be opening four half days a week soon, but I am extremely concerned about our older students. An hour a week in person for high school and an hour every other week for middle schools is not an open school. I am disappointed in Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Morse, and the elected Ojai Unified School District board members’ complacency. Getting the older kids back in school for an hour a week or every other week is not a win, it is a slap in the face to students and parents.

Dr. Morse is not doing as much as she could and SHOULD be doing. It is really hard when we see other Ventura County districts (with higher COVID-19 numbers than we have in Ojai) back in school, it is really hard when other superintendents are fighting the state for appeals, and getting them. Our superintendent is simply doing as she is told, and it is not enough. My children's safety and education depends on what she does. Again, her complacency is unacceptable.

Lastly, I want to mention the teachers and staff who WANT to be in school and are also frustrated with the current situation. My heart hurts for the position they have been put in.

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