In one Bay Area district, reopening high schools gets ugly

Feb 28, 2021 by

In San Mateo County, a high school reopening plan is emotionally fraught, revealing deep divides between parents, teachers and rich and poor areas.

El Camino Real Entrance - Sequoia Union High School - Redwood City, CA -  NRHP Historic Districts - Contributing Buildings on Waymarking.com

South of San Francisco, the Sequoia Union High School District serves some of the Bay Area’s wealthiest communities, such as Atherton, Menlo Park and Woodside, as well as some of its neediest, including East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and Redwood City.

On Tuesday, the school district learned it had risen into a state tier that would allow high school students, if they chose, to resume on-campus learning. At the urging of many parents, district leaders on Wednesday announced an April reopening plan.

That is when things got ugly.

“How many deaths will you accept as collateral for your two months of school? Can you live with that?” Allison Mok, a teacher at East Palo Alto Academy, asked the district’s board of trustees in a contentious Zoom meeting Wednesday.

Reopenings of high schools in the Bay Area provide a window into conflicts sure to play out in Los Angeles and other parts of California as more counties move into less restrictive tiers. Schools in wealthier areas tend to be more willing — and better prepared — than their poorer counterparts to restart in-class instruction, at least in L.A. County, as The Times revealed in an investigation this month.

In the Sequoia Union district, some teachers feel the reopening process has been too rushed and urged students to apply pressure on their parents to stop it.

“Expect a rant the next time u see me,” a Menlo Atherton High School teacher wrote to his junior-level U.S. history class Thursday. “If u don’t want this to be happening, I will highly encourage you to encourage your parents to go full karen on the school and at the school board meeting.”

Source: In one Bay Area district, reopening high schools gets ugly – Los Angeles Times

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